When America discovered that Donald Trump had been caught on tape saying he liked to grab women by the you-know-what, the people who had taught me that God’s ideal was for me to life a life of strict sexual purity quickly came to his defense.
(How they went from teaching me that it’s not okay to touch a woman above the knee, to laughing off the idea of grabbing a random woman’s vagina, is still a little confusing.)
The people who raised me laughed it off as “locker room talk” and claimed it was a distraction from the real issues. And even when pressed, they claimed that it was ultimately “just words,” as if words are somehow harmless.
Let me assure you, words are not harmless. They never are. This is especially true when those words come from the mouth of a person of power or influence– because there will always be followers who will act on those words.
Case in point: a well-known Connecticut Republican was recently arrested for grabbing a co-worker by the you-know-what.
As reported by the Westport Daily Voice, Christopher von Keyserling was arrested and charged with 4th degree sexual assault on Saturday. The arrest was the cumulation of an incident at work last month where he got into a political exchange with a co-worker. He then followed to her office and pinched her groin after having said earlier, “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct.”
As he walked out, he warned her that it would be “his word against hers” but apparently didn’t realize there was surveillance footage police would later use to confirm the whole event.
According to the Daily Voice, von Keyserling is out on $2,500 bond, and will appear in court on January 25th.
So here’s my question: I think it’s a safe assumption that von Keyserling was likely a misogynistic jerk long before Trump. It’s highly doubtful he had a high-view of women, that he cared about issues like consent, or had any respect for anyone else’s body.
But would he have grabbed this woman by the crotch had Trump not normalized that whole despicable idea?
On that count, I’m doubtful.
The fact that he proudly proclaimed that he “didn’t have to be politically correct” anymore, and followed that statement up by assaulting a woman in the *same* exact way that Trump boastfully proclaimed in the now infamous tape, leads me to believe that his actions are directly linked to Trump’s words.
While we live in a country that values free speech, I think it’s important to remember that words matter. They matter regardless of whose mouth they come out of, but when harmful or hateful words come out of the mouth of someone with power and influence, they are especially dangerous.
Words can be dangerous because there will always be someone listening who will live out those words with actions.
While I lament this horrible story, I also find myself deeply grieving over the evangelical community I came out of.
Once upon a time you had values. Back in the day, you actually thought that there was a line between right and wrong. You used to tell me that “character counts” and that words matter. I mean, FFS, you wouldn’t even let us HOLD HANDS at Bible college unless we were engaged AND had written permission from our parents.
But now all those morals and convictions have been thrown out the window. Instead, you became the community that gave us a President who brags about grabbing women by the crotch and who has inspired people to start doing exactly that.
(Sorry to take up so much of your time– I’m guessing we should get back to focusing on how to keep those “perverts” out of Target’s bathrooms.)