Trigger warning. This content is about sexual assault.
Edit: I keep saying this is not a political post, but it is. I should be saying this is not a partisan post. I should also say that rape should not be politicized. Unfortunately it is. So to start over… This is a post about politics but not a party post. This is a post about the completely messed up system that has given us accused rapists as presidential candidates.
Additional edit: Based on the assumption in our legal system that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, I wanted to explain what I mean when I say I believe her and all victims until what they say is proven untrue. The following explanation was written by Arwa Mahdawi, ”Reade’s story may be impossible to verify, but this is the case with the vast majority of sexual assault allegations. It is nearly always a case of “he said, she said” – and it is nearly always the “he’ that is automatically believed. The #MeToo mantra “Believe Women” doesn’t mean that women never lie; it means that our systems of power are biased towards believing men never lie. It means that it takes decades of allegations and scores of women coming forward for powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Cosby to be brought to justice. All the mantra means is that you shouldn’t automatically disbelieve women.” In addition, with both presidential candidates being accused by multiple women of some type of assault, I would tend to believe at least one is telling the truth. It takes a lot to come forward knowing your life and reputation will be publicly drug through the mud. Joe Biden said it best regarding the Kavanaugh trial “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.” Those sentiments don’t change when you are the accused.
I don’t know if what I am feeling is anger or sadness or rage or a combination of all of them. This post started with a comment on a friend’s post and I decided I needed to write about it. It is not a political post. It is tough to see through politics and stick to topics when politicians are involved but trust me. We all have a big decision ahead and I want to crawl in a hole. I normally take time to craft my words and sometimes I still come off as a little scattered. I am sure a lot of this will read very scattered. I’m sure many of you can relate right now. Everything in the world is weird. It’a surreal. Not everything is doom and gloom. There is a lot to be thankful for and with most things I remain positive, but C’mon. Things are so freaking weird. It’s a nightmare wrapped in a Dali painting. What in the actual fuck is happening right now? We are in the middle of a pandemic. People are dying, people are scared, people are starving, jobs are lost, businesses are going under, people miss their families, can’t attend funerals and weddings and the hits just keep on coming. Murder Wasps. Tornadoes in Toms River NJ. House Fires. Shootings. I could keep going, but that is another post. I should probably write that one next.
Joe Biden was just publicly accused of sexual assault. Yep. That happened. This wasn’t the first time he was accused but he was just publicly accused again. I have been struggling with all of this. When I say struggling, I am a rape survivor. I was raped in my own home over 10 years ago. I do not think someone needs to be raped to understand just how upsetting this all is but I do think it gives some perspective when reading my opinion. I was talking to a friend the other day and she said we are now basically forced to choose the “lesser of two rapists”. I keep repeating that in my head. Is this really where we live? Is this really what it comes down to? The post I commented on today was similar to many going around right now. It was accusing Democrats of being hypocrites for stating they will still vote for Biden even though he was just accused of assault. I keep seeing these posts. They are spun from the perspective of either party depending on who is making the point.
But none of this news is actually political.
We have to make a political and moral decision but this news of Biden is not unique to Democrats. It is not political.
Trump has been accused of numerous (over 20 documented) accounts of sexual misconduct including rape. Most he has not even acknowledged, some he denied, and a couple he didn’t deny at all but sort of said some of it was true but he thought it was welcomed. When I read the accounts they are not “better” or worse than the accusations against Biden. They are still accusations from women who I believe. They are still extremely painful to read or hear. Both men were accused of sexual assault and I believe the women. I wish these things weren’t true and hope they aren’t but that would mean that the women lied and I can’t have that be the first thing my mind goes to. Victims can’t afford a setback like that.
It’s a tough place to be in your mind. I do not want to believe Biden did this but that would mean I don’t believe the victim. But I need to. I have to. She needs us to believe. But I hope she is lying. But if she is lying then what does that do for the rest of us. How many steps (miles really) does that set us back in our #IBelieveHer movement? I believe her. I wish it wasn’t true but I do believe her. I think I am going to throw up.
We need to be able to be heard and believed.
So now what? What do I do now? There is still an election coming up and it is important that all votes count. So I am forced to choose the lesser of two rapists and vote for that person. There is this layer that is personally important to me. The fight against sexual violence. And I have to vote for one of two accused perps. Likely criminals. There is no denying that both were accused and all victims (because both men were accused multiple times) were corroborated. It is not ok to say Trump’s accusers don’t count. It is not ok to say Biden’s victims don’t count. Victims get dismissed hourly in our country. Their rapists go free. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Trump mocked a rape victim publicly. I believe her. He mocked her. It was painful. Trump was recorded saying he thought it was ok to grab women inappropriately. At first he defended himself, then he sort of apologized but it was circled with more deflection and excuses. Then he took back his apology. He was accused by many of assault prior to being elected and yet he was still elected. Biden was just accused again of assault and denied it. I believe Tara. I believe her. I think Biden has been accused by 8 other women if I remember correctly. Trump by over 20. Am I now comparing candidates based on the number of women they have assaulted? Is that the rationale? The situation with Biden is not about Democrats. The situation with Trump is not about Republicans. They are both the “bad guys” here. Both have been accused and neither have been convicted. I believe all of the victims. This situation is with the American public having to vote for their party and/or the lesser of two rapists. It makes me want to throw up, cry, scream. I have to choose a leader that goes against everything I stand for or throw away my vote. I am not willing to throw away my vote. I am a hypocrite. 100%. Maybe we can find a viable candidate who has not assaulted someone. Maybe I will get lucky and that third party will not be a rapist. I could vote for a third party. I am not going to do that though. I am going to be a horrible advocate for our cause. I am a hypocrite. I am a sell out. I might change my mind. I might decide I would rather throw away my vote than be a part of this craziness. But for now I am not ready to do that. What do I do? What do we do? Can we change all of this before November? No. So I will vote for the lesser of two rapists.
Please remember that you are NEVER alone. You are important and loved. If you need to talk to someone right now, here are some resources that can help.
RAINN-National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)