The head-spinning events today involving the supreme court appointment have me looking up statistics.
White men in power. I think I have a case of PTSD.
One in four women in America has been sexually abused. This is just the women who have admitted to it.
I think it is probably more.
I am the one in four.
I didn’t tell anyone.
So many women have been sexually abused or assaulted, by men who are asserting control over them. We all know someone, or we are someone, who has had to recover from the inappropriate actions of some entitled asshole.
Not as many women have a family member with Down syndrome, who is being abused by men in power.
I have a sister who is being manipulated and controlled by white, entitled men.
And I am sick of watching it.
So, I’m telling everyone.
The residual effects of sexual abuse are many and varied. According to the University of Michigan, they include:
- Shock and numbness
- Loss of Control
- Guilt and Self-Blame
- Vulnerability, Distrust
- Disruption of Daily Activities
I can attest to feeling all of these, in both situations — the abuse I have endured, and the non-sexual, but just as damaging, abuse they inflict regularly upon Amanda.
Bullying by men in power is epidemic in our country. What is almost worse is the complacency of their wives. My sisters, and in-laws, who are contributing to Amanda’s abuse are all white, entitled women. They are religious fanatics, and/or have relied on men for their livelihood, through marriage, alimony or child support from some privileged idiot. They have never built anything, helped anyone, or stood for anything on their own. They are accessories, existing to enable the male dominance.
Beyond wielding male body parts, there is a pervading mentality that if you work hard at some conventional job, get an education, have a bunch of letters behind your name or make a lot of money, it renders you somehow superior to others, and gives you certain rights and privileges over them, or to them.
Men who abuse women are common, whether the abuse is sexual or otherwise, whether they think they can help themselves to your body, or keep your sister isolated and figuratively beaten into a submissive shadow of her former self.
I have endured sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and death threats as well as physical and emotional battery, and much of it from my own brothers.
My sister Amanda is enduring the constant pain of being isolated, separated from her loved ones, degraded in language and actions and treated as less than a person, every day of her life.
The message, to her and me, is clear. “You don’t matter. You are inferior. We can make you toe the line. We can teach you a lesson. We can shut you up. We can take you, own you, grind you into nothing. You are insignificant.”
All this from entitled white males, a broken justice system, and vicious, cowardly women who do not understand what it is like to live a valid life.
I have drawn so many comparisons watching the hearings unfold, watching the legal system dismiss and demean this courageous woman, Dr. Ford, who has come forward to say, “This is wrong.”
I know her voice. I feel her pain. I think about my sister, Amanda, and I hope and wish for the rational voices of the victims, of the empaths, of those who have a conscience, to rise up and shout like a deafening thunder, to roll over the noise of the small-minded, to reach into the darkest parts of our society, where acts of secrecy and greed, malice and hatred cling to the bitter dregs who live there, and petty minds are shaken and laid bare for all to see.
It’s too bad that it takes so much courage to do the right thing. It can be so damn hard. When you stand up against a bully, you are making yourself a target. You have to be prepared for the possibility that no one will back you. You have to do it knowing there may not be any others jumping up and yelling, “I am Spartacus.”
Thanks to Dr. Ford, and Anita Hill, and all the others who do it anyway.