This is my response to the tapes that have recently been released in which Donald Trump made several disgusting comments about sexually harassing women, and is probably one of the most important pieces I have ever written. This incident, to me, was the culmination of why I have openly opposed this candidate from the very beginning, and I knew I had to write about it.
Dear Mr. Trump,
When I first heard the comments you made about Rosie O’Donnell, calling her a “pig” and “a woman out of control,” I thought you were ignorant.
When I first heard the insults you dished out towards 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado, calling her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping,” I thought you were racist and a chauvinist.
But it was your most recent media blowup, in which a tape was released of you speaking casually about sexual harassment that made me finally lose it.
The way that you talked about women was horrifying. The way that you talked about me was horrifying.
I let you get to me.
Because all of what you were saying was just too real.
I want you to close your eyes.
Pretend you have just woken up to start your day.
You look in the mirror to get dressed and notice every single flaw on your body, every piece of fat telling you that you are simply not worthy of anything. You pick out an outfit and secretly worry that it is “too revealing,” that you will be blamed once again for the wrongdoings of another person. But you have work to go to, you have responsibilities, and worrying about yourself for even this tiny fraction of time is already starting to fill you with guilt, so you suppress that worry and walk out that door because that’s what you are supposed to do.
You walk down the street and put on your invisible armor, a shield to protect you from that worry you always face but refuses to be acknowledged, that “Oh God, oh God, please, don’t let this happen to me!” as you breath heavily and quicken your pace, taking short glances at that group of guys behind you who makes you feel unsafe. You can’t say why they do but you know you’re right because this has happened before. Many times.
And it starts. Your words, Trump. They were quoting you.
“Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”
“Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
They describe you as if you are a piece of meat. They have automatically taken every ounce of humanity from you, because in their minds, that just makes it all the easier for them to control and violate you.
You keep walking, hoping that all of this will just go away, but it never goes away, it follows you everyday of your life. And today was lucky, because today, they didn’t act on those words. But that doesn’t mean anything. Because tomorrow, they will. And the next day. And the next day.
You have brought all of this on, Mr. Trump.
Your words aren’t just words. Your comments embody the institution of rape culture, a branch of our society that thinks it is ok to normalize sexual assault, violence and objectification of women. This is what makes it possible for all of the Brock Turners to simply get a slap on the wrist, and for all of the victims of sexual violence to be left traumatized and blamed for the actions against them that the predators should have been punished for.
You are what cause young girls like me to live in fear.
To all of the people out there who would respond to this letter by saying: “Not all men are rapists! Not all men treat women like this!” I say, yes, that is absolutely right, which is why you, Mr. Trump, cannot get away with this attitude.
Mr. Trump, you seem to have forgotten that women are people, and as people we have the right to ownership of our bodies. For you to objectify us, to even speak of committing these acts of violence, to conveniently forget that the word consent even exists….
That’s a human rights violation.
Words are never “just words.” Lewd comments are not simply “locker room banter.” As you should have so cleverly observed throughout your campaign, words have the power to change a culture, to change a nation, to even change the world.
I will never be silent again.
Because I understand the power of my words.
And unlike you, I will use them for good.