This week America was subjected to a tape of Barack Obama flashing his erection to women on a plane. With a proud smile, he spread his legs, so the ladies could see the solid outline of his penis beneath his khakis.
It brought back a memory for me. A terrible one. When I was 16, I was working in a drug store behind a counter where we sold makeup, jewelry, and watches. A man came into the store. He was scraggly, thin, wearing a faded tan T-shirt and loose gray sweatpants. He was wearing a grin, too.
The man walked to the counter and beckoned me over. He asked to see one of the watches in the cabinet. I bent over and pulled out the watch. I handed it to him, and he looked at it for a moment.
He asked me for another, and I bent down again and retrieved it. He took it from my hands, his fingers leathery and his nails dirty. Clearing his throat with a phlegmy cough, he handed it back. He did this several more times, and I was getting frustrated by his repeated requests. Finally, I asked him if he wanted to purchase a watch.
Proud and roguish, he grinned, his watery eyes twinkling as if he knew something I didn’t. And he did.
“I don’t really want one,” he said in a scratchy voice from smoking too many cigarettes. I could smell them on him, like an old ashtray. “I just like watching you bend over so I can see down your shirt.”
He then stepped back and showed me his erection through his sweatpants. “They sure got a rise out of me. Bet you’ve never seen somethin’ like this?”
The heat of shame spread up my neck and across my cheeks. My heart pounded and my ears buzzed. I panicked. No one was in that part of the store because it was late and near closing time. I didn’t know what the man would do, and I was afraid.
Moments That Stay With You Forever
I backed away, shaking all over, and hurried along the counter to the back of the store. I glanced over my shoulder. He wasn’t following. He just stood there with his hand in his pocket.
I found the store manager and told him what had happened. He told me to stay in the pharmacy area while he made sure the man had left. After a few minutes, he came back and said the man was gone. I was still trembling when he walked me to my car to make sure I was safe. As I started the car, the manager told me I should be careful how I dressed from then on. That only added to my shame.
That moment has lived with me all my life. So has another. It involved a car salesman when I was in my twenties. He was one of my accounts when I was an advertising salesperson for the Augusta Chronicle. He welcomed me in his office and shut the door, asked me to sit down, then walked up behind me, put his hands on my shoulders, and reached down and grabbed my breasts.
I bolted from the room, slamming the door behind me. I didn’t report it. I didn’t tell my boss. I shared what happened with a male co-worker, and he told me not to say anything because it might affect my job; he said he’d take over my account so I wouldn’t have to see the man again.
I don’t know if I’m merely unlucky or what, but I wish I could say these were the only incidents like this in my life. They weren’t. There was another, and all I’ll say about that is a woman never really knows how strong a man is, how helpless she can be, until she is beneath him, unable to break free.
How Do We Know Who Is Telling the Truth
Why am I telling you this? I’m sure you can guess. There’s a lot of talk about sexism and sexual assault recently because of tapes released about Donald Trump and several women who have never spoken before—some in more than 30 years—telling their stories of how he sexually assaulted them.
I don’t know whether their stories are true. If he’s guilty and found to be so in a court of law, then I hope he’s punished. I do wonder, however, why his accusers never mentioned these things when NBC hired Trump to be on national television. I wonder why they never mentioned it when he stepped into politics years ago. I wonder why they never mentioned it during the primaries. I wonder why they never mentioned it until October, just before the election.
Was it just because they felt some freedom to do so because of the “Access Hollywood” tape? Maybe, but the timing still seems odd to me. It all seems so—how shall I put it—choreographed.
But who am I to accuse possible assault victims of lying or playing political games? I don’t know their motives or the truth of their stories. I will say that having been a victim of unwanted sexual advances and assault, I do have a sense of when women are telling the truth about such matters.
I also have a keen sensitivity to the hypocrisy of those who say they care deeply about women who have suffered in this way—hypocrites like Michelle Obama. Honestly, I don’t know who’s worse. A man who sexually abuses a woman, or a woman who uses another woman who has been sexually abused, creating another layer of abuse. Part of me says it’s the latter.
Why the Selective Emotion?
Last week, Michelle gave a speech in which she said she feels the pain of sexual assault victims “so personally.” Like the fine actress she is, her voice trembled. “I can’t stop thinking about this,” she said. “It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.”
So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.
But Michelle Obama is being dishonest and disingenuous. She supports a woman who has viciously attacked women who say they were the victims of her husband’s sexual deviancy. They are no different than the women coming forward now, except their stories have stood the test of time, and have been corroborated. Yet they get no sympathy from Michelle and Hillary, only scorn and ridicule.
Worse, Michelle proves her disingenuousness by having supported a man who was not only sexually immoral but played a part in a woman’s death. In 1969, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy left a party late one evening with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy drove the car instead of his chauffeur so he could be alone with the young woman. As he was driving down the dark road, he made a wrong turn and drove the car off a bridge into the tide-swept water below.
Kennedy made it out and swam to shore. Kopechne didn’t. He never called the police that night, and instead slinked back to his hotel room. The young woman died of suffocation when the air-pocket she was in ran out of oxygen. If he had done what was right, she might be alive today.
Despite this history, Michelle and her husband embraced the senator, benefitting from his political support. She never felt any personal grief over Mary Jo Kopechne. She never shuddered when Kennedy put his arm around her as they celebrated political victories together.
The same is true for the alleged victims of Bill Clinton. Michelle apparently never felt shaken by what happened to Juanita Broaddrick, who testified that Clinton attacked her, biting her lip to keep her quiet, then pushing her onto a bed and raping her. Michelle has expressed no empathy for her, even though there were witnesses to Broaddrick’s injuries.
Michelle never claims to have trembled for Paula Jones, who said Clinton pulled her “over like he has done this a million times and grabs me and pulls me over to him to the windowsill and tries to kiss me.” He then dropped his pants.
Then he started — he pulled me over to him while he was leaning up against the wingback chair and he took his hands and was running them up my culottes. And they were long. They were down to my knees. They were long, dressy culottes. And he had his hand up, going up to my middle pelvic area, and he was kissing me on the neck, you know, and trying to kiss me on the lips and I wouldn’t let him. And then I backed back. I said, ‘Stop it. You know, I’m not this kind of girl.’
Where is Michelle’s outrage for Jones? Why does she support the Clintons, who have maligned this woman for years? Does she tremble at the thought of it? Has it shaken her to her core?
Where is Michelle’s disgust for her husband’s indecent exposure—a criminal act? Unlike Trump, he’s caught on tape actually committing the crime! Despite the giggles of the women on the plane, is this not a sexual violation? At the very least it’s a sexual perversion.
My president should be nothing like the man who stood before me all those years ago in saggy sweatpants, with an erection and a wicked grin, filling me with panic and shame. Seeing the video of Obama on that plane brought back that moment and those feelings for me, making me relive it all over again. Does Michelle tremble for me?
Pretending to Care about Victims Is Merely Manipulation
So what about Trump? Can a woman like me, who knows firsthand what it’s like to be sexually abused by a man, vote for him? I’m one of the women Michelle says she feels for. She says she understands my pain.
The truth is, she knows nothing of my feelings, my pain, or my shame. Her words are full of manipulation, using women who have suffered for her own purposes. In a way, she’s no different from the predatorial men who use women like objects to feed their own lusts. For Michelle—and Hillary—it’s lust for power, and they’ll use anyone to get it—even women like me.
While many are praising Michelle for her speech and shaming of Trump, her words left me empty and cold. She spoke no comfort to me. They only reminded me of how evil people can be when they use others’ vulnerability for their own gain.
So what do I do? Can I vote for a man like Trump? He’s obviously sexually immoral, although I have no actual proof he has committed a crime—and, no, bragging about something is not proof of actually doing it. Having experienced actual sexual assault, I take it seriously. I know what it looks like and what it doesn’t.
That doesn’t mean Trump is innocent. I don’t know what he has done. None of us do. He might have sexually assaulted those women, but maybe not. Maybe if all these allegations had surfaced sooner, we could distinguish truth from lies with real, unbiased investigation. But these tapes and testimonies have only now come to light. That alone makes me suspicious.
So all I can do is vote according to what I actually know and from the choices before me—and there are really only two. I know Hillary Clinton’s policies aren’t what’s best for this country, and I know she doesn’t care one bit about women. She and Michelle are just alike. They’re users, capitalizing on the pain of others for their own selfish ends.
Hillary Clinton Is No Friend of Women
Hillary’s policies are bad for women, as they rob us of independence and dignity. Big government is no friend to women, and abortion is a violent assault on women’s bodies and hearts. It’s not a right, it’s a lie.
Open immigration, and Hillary’s tolerance of Islamic patriarchy and her blindness to the evils of jihad, is a threat to women in this country. Just look at Europe—the increase in rapes from “refugees”—and the Middle East, where women and little girls are raped, mutilated, and killed. Hillary’s policies would bring that to America, putting women here at risk.
Hillary’s plan to use executive orders for gun control is a direct attack on women. We are the weaker sex, physically speaking. We need to be able to defend ourselves. Our country’s Founders gave us the right to that defense. The Second Amendment protects everyone, but mostly the weak and the vulnerable—that includes women. Taking away my right to a gun leaves me exposed to the violence and cruelty of those who want to rob me of my life, property, and dignity.
Trump stands opposed to these threats. Will he hold to his promises, to the policies he says he supports? I don’t know. But I do know that another Clinton administration will most certainly usher in darker days for American women.
Trump, therefore, is my only option at this point to stop the Clintons and the Democratic Party, to put an end to their corruption, sexism, and political agenda that will make women less safe, less prosperous, and less free. Do I deserve to be called indecent or a coward because I support Trump? Is it right for others to double my shame by using me and my pain for their own political purposes?
As a woman who has been at the mercy of those who are stronger and more powerful, I refuse to elect a candidate whose oppressive ideology puts women at risk, reduces them to dependants on the state, and uses them as pawns in her personal quest for power.
Is Trump the same? I don’t know. I don’t have proof of that. I do know the party he represents is not hostile to women, but supports policies that protect them and honor their dignity and rights. That’s not true of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton. Given her history—a history replete with sexism and policies that assault women—I refuse to let her lies and the false sympathies of Michelle Obama become the standard by which I choose the next president.