What You Don’t Know
The election is over, and Donald Trump will be heading to the White House in January.
Get over it.
What’s done is done.
Put on your big girl panties and move on.
By Wednesday afternoon, women who were grieving over the victory of a man who terrifies us were being told (often by fellow anti-Trump friends) that we need to “quit whining.” We have to mobilize, take action, DO something.
For some of us, this grief will take longer to process. Some of us may not get over it until Donald Trump is out of office, and some of us may never get over it.
What you don’t know is that for some of us, this isn’t politics as usual.
What you don’t know is that, for some of us, this election was very personal.
What you don’t know is that many of us are keeping secrets.
Of course you DO know that there are things we don’t talk about in public. There are traumas we endure that we do not share. There are pains that we cannot let go of, nor can we express them to anyone, anywhere, ever. Trump supporters say they are tired of “political correctness” (a.k.a. “kindness”) because it prevents them from saying what they want to say whenever and wherever and to whomever. Imagine NEVER being able to speak about an event that has shaped who you are, that haunts your nightmares, that pops up at unexpected moments and sends you into a tailspin.
Women who have experienced sexual assault, incest, abortion, domestic violence, or harassment rarely speak of their trauma. We know that, bad as our experience was, the fallout from telling our secrets could be worse.
Tell a friend you’ve been raped? We know what happens to accusers in courtrooms and in the media. We’ve seen how pointless and painful that drama is.
Admit you’re being harassed or abused? Well, what are you wearing? Are you leading him on? Did you say something to upset him?
Confess you’ve had an abortion? Fire and brimstone! Murderer! Baby killer! You’re going to hell!
We remain silent.
We are silent in the face of a man who brags about sexual assault, who sexually harasses women on national television, who suggests sex with his daughter would be a real conquest, and who believes women who’ve had abortions should be punished. His election is a bit like running up behind a military veteran with PTSD and lighting a firecracker several times a day. Every day. It’s shattering and cruel and painful and infuriating and maddening and bewildering.
So don’t tell us to “get over it.”
What you don’t know is which of your friends has been raped.
What you don’t know is which of your friends has had an abortion she may regret.
What you don’t know is which of your friends is being sexually harassed or abused.
What you don’t know is that the face of our pain looks an awful lot like Donald Trump.
And everything you don’t know is breaking our hearts.