We are still stuck in a victim-blaming mindset

Dear President Trump,

This is Day 6 of my illness, which the doctor says is a pretty mild (but still miserable) case of bronchitis. I’ve stayed home all week and won’t be going in tomorrow either since I’m still feverish and coughing. I rarely get sick and when I do, it usually is a one or two day thing so even though this is quite an ordinary little illness, it’s knocking me for a loop.

But this isn’t really what I wanted to talk with you about today. Rather, I want to have a heart to heart with you about Harvey W. I am happy the NYT has pulled the cloak back on his disgusting abusive dealings with women over the years and it’s great women are coming forward. However, besides the clear consistency of his gross M.O., I am seeing two other disturbing similarities across the reports of these disclosures: a) all the women say they rejected his advances and got out of the situations safely, and b) the NYT carefully notes that each one told someone else about the advances within a day of them happening. We have heard that he allegedly raped three women so we know not everyone got out safely but apparently only those who did feel safe speaking up and the message to those who weren’t able to reject him is they failed because clearly, most everyone else was able to withstand him (or someone like him). This is a pretty shitty message to get. Then there is the bit about each woman having told her mother or sister or boyfriend about Harvey W’s behavior within 24 hours. Why was it necessary to note this in EVERY ONE of the stories? Because if she hadn’t told someone else right away then they wouldn’t have been able to trust her word. Arg. If it were a man telling the story of a woman having tried to take advantage of him, do you think we’d need for him to have told someone about the horrible situation right away for us to believe him later? Hmm. My guess is no, this wouldn’t be the case.

So even as we lurch forward in exposing a powerful man’s abuse we are still stuck in a victim-blaming mindset. But this is to be expected of a country that so handily elected you president after you boasted about grabbing women’s pussies. We have so much work to do…..

May we all be safe no matter who we work for.
May we all be happy to care for one another’s safety.
May we all be healthy enough to keep our hands to ourselves.
May all our lives unfold and intersect peacefully and with mutual respect.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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