As I heard the news that Kavanaugh made it into the supreme court, my heart sank. My husband, who follows politics relentlessly, was furious but I was silent and went on with my day. Getting angry would mean that I would have to really think about what this event means to me… and of course I eventually became angry.
The anger is partially about Kavanaugh but mostly about the reaction that men have a scary road ahead. If this is you, please read with an open and heart and mind as this idea may affect those you love much more than you know. I do not know that Kavanaugh is guilty of sexual assault, but if he is I really hope he reads this too.
If you believe that all of this sexual assault talk is unfair to men then my counter argument is that it is not fair that I have to push out memories of assault that creep into my mind as I make love to my husband. It is not fair to my husband that I sometimes don’t feel safe as he makes sexual passes at me and sweetly flirts with me throughout the day. It is not fair that I often want to rush through sex so that I don’t get flashbacks and quickly lose any pleasure in what should be a very loving and intimate act between a husband and a wife. It is not fair that I have trouble letting just any boy or man be alone with my daughter. It is not fair that I often have distrust in a man’s interest in having a friendly conversation.
I have had several encounters that set up this fear, disgust, and distrust of men and I am lucky that I have a husband that fully supports me even though he does not fully know what happened. I don’t think most people have a grasp of how commonplace this sort of thing is. Why don’t I speak up? It’s really not that simple. The majority of these people were closer to home than I want to admit. A friend’s brother, my brother’s friend, a brother, a boyfriend, a guy in a bar. Some of these encounters were before an age I where I could understand it was wrong. Some of these boys were too young to fully know what they were doing was wrong. Some of these were at a time when I just felt too weak to stand up to them.
The number encounters I have had makes me wonder if any man is completely free from these events? If so, is that why this is a scary time for men? Will they all be locked up? Or maybe they should at least not be allowed into positions of power, can we at least do that? Can we send a message to all boys and young men that the actions they have at this time in their life will have consequences later in life? Like if you make sexual advances on a girl who says no, is not old enough to understand how to say no, is asleep so can’t say no, then you can’t go on to have your dream job. I think this is at least a start. For the record, I do not believe all men are guilty of this but I know a lot are. I also know that women can be guilty of this as well, neither gender is perfect.
About me: You know me. I might be your daughter, your mother, a wife, a sister, the girl next door. Looking at me you would have no clue that this is what is running through my mind as I hear the news or listen to someone say that this is a scary time for guys. You would not look at me and think that I must have been traumatized earlier in my life. But looks can be deceiving.
The point of this is not to gain attention, because no woman who has ever been sexually assaulted really wants attention for this sort of thing. The point of this is that I want parents to talk to their kids and tell them that these actions are not okay. This needs to start young as actions like this can happen at any time. Our boys and young men need to know that these actions will have consequences later in their life even if they are not caught at the time. They need to know that the events will torture the young girl as she goes on to be an adult, through marriage and children. She will be brought to tears when she hears the news or when she spends intimate time with her husband. These boys and young men should be told that their actions carry weight and the job of their dreams is off limits if they commit crimes such as these.
Please talk about this. The men that did these things to me are sons, they are fathers, they are brothers, they are the boy next door.