After the recent words of President Trump about Christine Blasey Ford who has recently accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct that took place in the early 1980s, many people in America got to see the U.S. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley place some distance between herself and the president. It was two days ago when President Trump released a series of tweets trying to discredit the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made by Christine Blasey Ford by questioning why she did not immediately inform the authorities about what she claims happened to her back in 1982 when she and Judge Brett Kavanaugh were both in high school. None of us will ever know why Christine Blasey Ford did not report her accusations to the police back when the sexual misconduct allegedly took place.
I voted for President Trump in the 2016 presidential election. I don’t regret voting for President Trump. When I look at the fact that Hillary Clinton was the alternative at the time I still believe that I made the right decision. If the election were happening today and Hillary Clinton was President Trump’s political opponent I would still vote for President Trump. I honestly believe out of the two he is the right choice. With that said, as a rape survivor I look at his words and there are no words to describe the anger that it fills me with. I think about what happened to me at the hands of my rapist, my grandfather, and it eats away at me. The abuse started before I was even in school. It started with some touching, and it progressed over time to the point that I was raped. It happened more than once. I can’t speak for what it is like for every rape survivor out there I can only speak for me. I can tell you everything about the last time he raped me, because it was one of the worse times. I can tell you about his hand at the back of my throat as he held me over a wooden work bench inside his work shed. The sound my shoes made as he used his foot to force my legs apart. The way it felt when he loosened my belt despite my efforts to fight him off. How it felt when he pulled my jeans down. The smell of the rain and how it sounded hitting the ground outside and the metallic roof over our head. I can tell you how it felt when he was inside of me. I can tell you about the taste of his flesh in my mouth as he had me on my knees. It effected me. It had a major impact on me.
There are some days when I can go without thinking about it at all. Those are good days for me. Every time it rains though, every time I smell that scent, every time I hear the sound of the rain, I’m right back there in that shed again. He’s dead now. I know what I’m supposed to say. At 37 years old I’m supposed to be able to say I was just a kid, it wasn’t my fault. I’m supposed to say it doesn’t matter anymore. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how many times I hear it isn’t my fault. I’ve heard that more times than I can count from several different therapists. It doesn’t matter how many times I hear it’s not my fault, because no matter who tells me it’s not my fault those feelings of self hatred and self blame are still there. They don’t just go away because some therapist tells me I’m applying adult logic to a kid when I break down the number of times I had a chance to tell someone outside the family. They don’t just go away because my therapist tells me that I’m stuck at an impasse and keep repeating myself. Ever since my therapist told me that it has become even harder for me to talk to her. She meant well. But it has become harder for me to talk to her about how I feel when these things happen.
One of the things that I personally have heard a lot is that I need to share my story, and I need to share it over and over again because it will eventually lose its power on me. My grandfather will eventually lose his power on me. I have been seeing a therapist of some sort for over eight years. It hasn’t gotten any easier for me. Sitting here opening my soul for you, my readers, to see doesn’t make it any easier. My father meant well when he told me if I shared my story enough times I would eventually start to feel better, but sitting here I am left with an important question that I just don’t have the answer to. At what point will what happened to me no longer hurt and have an effect on me? How many times do I need to share my story before the nightmares stop and I can feel safe going outside my home? How many times do I have to tell my story before the flashbacks stop? When will the PTSD go away?
I hate myself. Deep down inside there is a part of me that hates myself, and I don’t know how to make that hate go away. I don’t. I don’t talk to my therapist about it, but there are still countless days I sit down and do the math. An average school year when I was younger consisted of nine months. There are on average four and a half weeks to give month. Most months have 30 days in them, some have 31, February has 28. On average most months have between 20 and 23 school days. 9 times 20 is 180. The abuse started before I was even in kindergarten. That means between Kindergarten and fifth grade, with that being six school years I had 1,080 chances at the minimum to tell a teacher before I got to junior high. When I reached junior high that 1,080 becomes the number of chances I had per year because I had six different teachers to choose from. I take that 1,080 and multiply it by 3 for my years in junior high and that makes it 3,240 changes for those three years. Add that on top of the original 1,080 it becomes 4,320 chances. 4,320 chances to tell a teacher. 4,320 that is a very large number. I didn’t use one chance. I hate myself for it, because I tell myself if I had used one chance someone could have helped me. If I had used one chance then someone could have helped me escape my grandfather at an earlier age. Somewhere in my mind that makes me partly responsible for what happened to me. I have to find a way every day to live with that self hate.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth and that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of sexual misconduct. If I was on a jury and I had to decide his fate, I would have no choice but to find him not guilty, because there just isn’t enough to prove beyond doubt that he is guilty. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Christine Blasey Ford is lying, because we all know that she passed the polygraph test. The fact that she passed the polygraph test means something had to happen. If something didn’t happen then it at least means that she genuinely believes for whatever reason something did happen. What I will say is that President Trump can go screw himself. It doesn’t matter if you like me, it doesn’t matter if you like Christine Blasey Ford, it doesn’t matter how you feel about any rape survivor. There are just certain things that you don’t say to a rape survivor. He crossed that line. This is something that the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley understands.
I voted for President Trump in the 2016 presidential election and I don’t regret that vote. At that time, under those circumstances, it was the right vote to make. If I were faced with the same circumstances today, the same candidates, I would still vote for President Trump. But voting for President Trump does not mean I have to agree with everything that man says. His words about Christine Blasey Ford were out of line and it is a clear reflection of one of the many things that is still wrong with America today. There is this idea that a lot of people have that when someone is a victim of sexual assault or someone elses sexual misconduct they will reach out for help from someone or call the police when it happens. If survivors like myself don’t reach out for help immediately following these kind of situations there must be something wrong with us right? I have not been able to find the number for men, but the fact is that on average two thirds of women who are raped or sexually assaulted do not inform law enforcement.
Sunday when U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was on CNN’s “State of the Union” she was asked if she was comfortable with the comments that President Trump made in regards to Christine Blasey Ford. It was clear that Haley had to choose her words very carefully while delivering a diplomatic answer when she said, “the message I’m comfortable with is that accusers go through a lot of trauma and some handle it one way and some handle it the other way. Regardless, you never ― it’s not something that we want to do, to blame the accuser or try to second guess the accuser. We don’t know the situation she was going through 35 years ago. We don’t know the circumstances. … What I’ve said often is she deserves respect. She deserves to be heard. Kavanaugh, who has been accused, deserves to be heard. And I think we’ll get all our answers.”
It does not matter if one of us come out and try to share our story right after it happened, or if it takes a rape survivor thirty years or more to find the strength in themselves to share their story. When someone says that this has happened to them their story should be heard. It does not matter if they only need to share their story once, or if they need to share their story a hundred times, their story should always be listened to.