When someone shows you
who they really are,
the first time.
I did two majors in college: English with a writing concentration, and History. But, before college, I was married to an abusive alcoholic for almost twenty years. And yes, there was every level of abuse in that relationship. I am not an overtly political individual, and yet, from the moment Donald Trump entered the presidential race, I watched, read, and listened to whatever I could. And always with a growing sense of alarm.
History is supposedly the story of Humankind, but it isn’t, not really. How can it be, when it defines itself as the story of only half of that species? I studied History because I love story. And I learned some very important things, despite that misleading definition.
For instance, before the Patriarchy, there was a Matriarchy. Yes, a society led by women. It was a peaceful society that lived without walls and fortresses. It worshiped nature and especially creativity and creation. And, it was eventually overtaken by a male dominant society, with the absolute need to define and possess, as well as to fortify its territory.
In those same History textbooks, I learned that there are classic moves that are made by a conquering society to establish its rule and control over those who had been conquered. The first one is to break the spirit of those now ruled. This was accomplished by demonizing the gods of the invaded populace. I seem to remember that during the campaign, someone said that President Obama and Hilary Clinton both smelled of sulfur, thereby intimating that they were in league with the devil?
But the Patriarchy wasn’t satisfied with just diminishing those gods, it demonized all women. The greatest and most touted among its philosophers often debated whether or not women even had souls, and said that, at best, women were deformed males. Yes, they were necessary for the creation of the coming generations, but did that require that they have a spiritual reality? The result being, that through many centuries the female of the species wasn’t allowed to learn or gain knowledge. Knowledge is wasted on those whose sole purpose is to provide pleasure and children to carry on these already vaulted standards.
It is only in the last seventy years that women have been ‘given’ the right to vote, to seek higher education, to choose the type of life they would lead, and with great struggle, win the right to be whatever they choose to be, in both body and soul, without interference. Donald Trump said, ‘Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing.’ And followed it up with how angry he would be to come home to find that dinner was not ready and waiting for him.
Mr. Trump has said many things, most of which were aimed at inciting fear, hatred, and violence. In doing so, he has clearly shown us who Donald Trump really is. He has clearly told us that he has no control over his sexual impulses:
“I just can’t control myself….When you’re a star, they’ll let you do anything.”
Stop right there. That is classic abuser language. In one statement he admits that he has no control, and in the next blames it on the victims of his abuse. Over a dozen women have come forward and told very similar stories, several of them with corroborating witnesses who were told of the abuse when it happened. They all spoke of a surprise blitz attack, done without warning of any kind. There was no invitation, therefore no consent of any kind. There was no ‘letting’ being done. There was only an out of control individual seeking to satisfy his own perverted desires. What most of the women expressed was disbelief at what was happening. It takes time for the human brain to assess and comprehend a threat, and more time to decide on a response. And women, especially, have been trained not to do so, especially in just those circumstances.
When I was eight years old, I was groped in our living room, by an uncle using the guise of helping me read the newspaper. Later, when I told my Mother that I didn’t like it when Uncle touched me down there, I wasn’t believed. But, my younger sister, by thirteen months, stepped forward and said she didn’t like it either. We were taken to a quiet corner and told that we were never to let that happen again. We were also cautioned not to speak of it either.
Seven and eight, and we were to be responsible for not allowing this grown man, who was about six feet tall and weighed somewhere around 265 pounds, to act on his out of control impulses. I doubt my story is all that unusual. The author of the quote that opens this post, suffered far worse. I recently watched a video of her reading her poem, Still I Rise, and can only be grateful for her courage and her role-modeling. And there are so many others.
I choose to believe that many women write because it allows them to express the unspeakable things they have experienced. When I taught writing, there were many women, in my classrooms, who found healing and good therapy in doing so. And I encouraged them to continue. It worked for me, and still does.
I know I am not alone in having been triggered by Donald Trumps words and cavalier attitude about his own behavior. I know I also am not alone in the grief I am experiencing since hearing that he won the election. With his fear tactics, hatred and divisiveness, he has already turned our country into a divided landscape, ripe for the plundering of even more. I also know that many of you will not agree with me or what I have written. I can’t do anything about that. I can only speak my own truth, and tell my own story.
Donald Trump has shown us, on numerous occasions, with his philandering lifestyle, his verbal attacks on anyone (but especially women) who oppose him, his bad business policies, and arrogant territorial stance, who he really is. How much more do you need to know, before you believe him?