By now most of you must have heard the leaked tape where Donald Trump explains to Billy Bush that he often kisses women without permission and grabs them by their genitals as they both die with laughter at how funny that is.
I was pretty upset about that tape, but not because I am a prude or even that I am shocked that men talk like that. When Billy Bush says “will you give him a hug” while holding back giggles, I remembered all the times that I was the girl who was the butt of jokes between boys and men. I was upset that a man running for president would talk like this, but come on, it’s Trump, I wasn’t shocked. He’s been on Howard Stern talking about all kinds of sexual escapades, I heard them way before he was ever a household name because he is gonna make America so great again.
I heard the tape on the way to confession on Friday. It was my wedding anniversary and my husband wanted to start our celebration with a clean slate by going to confession together. As we drove there I saw the story breaking and listened to the video. I was flabbergasted and so was my husband. I was so sure that this was it, Catholics would all see what they had been supporting this entire time and it would be over for Trump. I had all faith that Catholic men would not stand for this kind of complete disregard for the dignity of women. We went to confession, ran one last errand and then went to our favorite dive bar to have a few drinks before leaving town.
I have an issue with drinking when the memories of my trauma come up. I can’t do anything when that happens but sit at home look at a picture of Jesus on the cross and pray for the flashbacks to go away while my dog lays next to me to keep me safe. I have done this a million times and if I even sense for a second that I am in anyway reliving what happened to me, I do not drink. I didn’t think that what Trump said would bring up any of it for me because I am Catholic now. I have an army of Catholic men who are ready to protect me and other women. My brothers in Christ will keep me from ever being the victim of another man’s objectification. Maybe not all of them, but the ones that I know are pro-life do. Or so I thought.
I went on Twitter to watch this go down because I was going to be so proud to be Catholic when Catholic men stood up against this kind of “locker room talk”. I saw a man that I know somewhat, I’ve been on his radio show as a guest, say that he would be disgusted if Trump talked about his daughters that way but it’s still not as bad as abortion. I quickly replied that living with the trauma of being raped isn’t exactly sunshine and roses. We went back and forth and I explained that I was raped at the age of five. Then the reply came that shook me to my soul. Someone replied to my tweet saying I was raped at five years old with “but did you die?”. I can’t explain what that reply did to me but I ended up having a panic attack in a Whataburger parking lot and begging to come home. I needed to lay in my bed, look at the picture of Jesus on the cross and lay with my dog and pray for the flashbacks to go away.
I have been trying to figure out exactly how to answer that question for the last three and a half days and I haven’t been on Twitter at all since. I am not a weakling. I have lived 35 years since my abuse not making a fuss about it. I don’t require people to give me trigger warnings and I don’t like when people treat me like a broken glass doll when they find out about my abuse. I hate that so much. I didn’t become a soft and weak because of my abuse, I became hardened. I have a thick skin because of it, words on Twitter do not usually phase me. But this did. I was so sure Catholics would stand up against Trump talking about women this way. There are a lot of Catholics who are defending it, shrugging it off or just simply ignoring it by saying it’s not as bad as abortion. Did we die when we were raped as children or adults?
Did I die? Yes, I did. I have died a thousand deaths because of my sexual abuse. I lost the little girl that I was the moment that I realized what that man did to me. I have died when I can’t relive the great times in my childhood because his face is in them. I died the minute a man in his mid twenties realized that I was a good target and had his way with me on the bed of his truck when I was 14. I died when a star football player took me behind his house and raped me because he could since everyone would think that I wanted it because I was easy. I died when I got so wasted one time that my drug addicted ex-husband raped me so violently that I bled from my ass every time I bent over for a month. I died when my husband tries to console me and I am inconsolable from nightmares. I died when I watched the life leave the body of the man who took me from my abuser and nobody was left to protect me anymore.
Every man who has taken advantage of the “easy” button left on my forehead by the man who raped me when I was five has killed me a little bit more and more.
Yes, I have died, does that mean that sexual abuse can finally be seen as JUST AS evil as abortion? Or was I less innocent because I was already the ripe old age of 5 which is not unborn?
When I see people try to excuse or downplay Trump’s words because “Babies will die!” or “Supreme Court Justices!” I am reminded of my ex-husband trying to convince me to give him money to go buy crack. These people are so addicted to the idea that Trump will overturn Roe v Wade (even though no other Republican president has and Trump has said that Roe v Wade is the law and should stay that way) that they are trying to convince me that voting for a man who brags about sexual assault will be good for me as victim of sexual abuse. Ben tried many times to convince me that giving him $100 for crack would benefit me in the long wrong. That didn’t work on me then, it doesn’t work on me now.
Thank you to all of you Catholic men, including my husband who is my hero, who have stood up against this insanity who don’t ask women who are sharing the story of their sexual abuse to compete with the tragedy of abortion. Thank you for being exactly who God created you to be by defending the dignity of every woman.
**I am closing the comments on this post because really, I do not want to hear anymore about how I was not harmed by being raped at the age of 5. I don’t know what is worse, that some people don’t see the humanity of children in the womb or that some don’t care what happens to children once they are out of it.