As the debate surrounding Herman Cain and accusations of sexual harrasment and assault grow and become more and more political, we seem to be forgetting something very important. Regardless of his political stances, economic plans, or donation support, how about the four woman (and that number is growing) who have had to suffer through the publicity of something as personal as their experiences with sexual harassment? As a woman, and moreso a sexual assault survivor, I penned this as an anonymous show of support.
An Unsolicited Letter to the Four of You
I could start this letter off by citing the injustice of all of this. I could pour out quotes and political statistics and cite "shame on you" to those who really deserve it. But I won't, because I know it doesn't help, and I know that's not what you want. So I'll just start by saying that, whatever it's worth, I know how you feel. To speak, to scream, and feel unheard. To tell the truth only to be told you are lying. To see someone who deserves the very worst be treated like the very best. To feel the sting of tears that you fight back because they don't help you win, because they might show weakness.
And again, for what it's worth in this metaphorical war I'm sorry you have to be fighting, I am on your side.
It isn't just that I'm a woman like you, and it's not just that I fear the day when I will have to fight the battles you're fighting, as a woman in a world still largely run by men, in a world where it isn't always as simple as being the smarter one, the kinder one, the more trustworthy one. I can't say that there's some higher form of justice or a redemption that will come on the ubiquitous "judgment day", because I don't know if I believe that's true. But I want to give you something, some small reason, not to close your mouth, shut up, and go home.
My "presidential candidate" has been in the form of many people. People who have betrayed me. Forget people I should have been able to trust, and just try people I should have had no reason not to trust. I've spoken out against those people, and I have been silenced. I've been violated physically, like you, only to be violated emotionally and verbally in a quest to speak the truth, to use my voice. And moreso, I've seen my truth be ignored, and those who chose to violate me be raised up on a metaphorical pedestal and celebrated, trusted, and idolized regardless of my voice, regardless of my pleas for someone to listen.
The physical pain was bad, the emotional pain is worse. And living it in a public way cannot make things any easier. I see heroism in the four of you. I see courage and strength. I don't see one ounce of a craving for attention, as someone who's been accused of just that as well. I don't see desperation, I see wisdom and willpower and something that can only be described as pure feistiness. I see myself, and then I see what I hope to become.
So regardless of all the hurt and pain and injustice I identify in this letter, I ask of you the sometimes seemingly impossible. I ask you to not give up. I ask you not to settle, not to back down, not to be afraid or intimidated or shamed. I ask you this selfishly, as a woman who has been shamed and intimidated herself. I also ask you for countless other people who have been in your shoes, and have never been given a chance to speak. I ask you to keep your voice loud, keep your voice clear, keep your voice unfaltering and strong. And remember that you have the strength of my voice and countless other voices behind you.
You are believed.