by Ashley F. Miller
Ashley is a remarkable human being, so when you are finished reading this poignant piece of writing, please read her info.
Thank you, Ashley, for writing this, and thank you for speaking out for so many who cannot – for whatever reason – speak out on their own.
A Trump-Fueled Knot of Anxiety
By Ashley F. Miller
I’m trying to come to terms with the idea that this knot of anxiety fueled by Donald Trump may not go away on Tuesday. It’s not just the horror of his possible win, though that does cause a nauseous panic that’s difficult to suppress, it’s the horror of all the people who exist who support him. All the people who would support a racist abuser over a competent woman.
It’s the casual support of all the sexist, racist, abusive, destructive behavior — not just Trump’s behavior, but by extension all the abusive, racist, sexist, and destructive behavior I have experienced. Trump supporters demonstrate their clear belief that not only is it ok that I’ve been abused, but also that they would have no problem rewarding my abusers with the presidency of the United States.
Even if Trump loses it’s been made clear to me that I live somewhere where approximately 45% of people are prepared to hate me because I’m a woman who would say something bad about a man who did something terrible to me.
It’s not that it’s a new idea, that a lot of people support rapists and abusers. The anxiety and fear it has caused me seeing famous people and friends support the convicted child rapist Roman Polanski, the alleged child rapist and actual child marrying Woody Allen, the fifty times accused of drug and raping women Bill Cosby, and the wife beating Johnny Depp. The women who were not believed or ignored so that these men could continue to have careers and make money for companies no matter how many women were hurt in the process.
At least, I could lie to myself, this was entertainment. We can argue that it has influence, but none of these men were asking for the most powerful position in the world. Surely I can distinguish between ignorant support of abusers when those abusers can be dismissed as not that important.
Trump, accused by over a dozen women of assault, harassment, and rape, self-proclaimed sexual assaulter and abuser of power in order to fuck women who do not want to be fucked by him, and vocal verbal abuser of women, not to mention religious minorities, people of color, and anyone else in violation of his white supremacist worldview, isn’t some guy. He isn’t just the host of a terrible reality television show, he’s asking to have power over everyone’s lives. He’s already got immense power over our lives just by how much attention the media is paying him. That power is being used to abuse people. And almost half of America is ok with that. Prefers that to a competent woman who has made the mistake of asking for power.
I wish I could convey to you how upsetting this is. How traumatic. How violating. How fucking terrifying. How much it dredges up. How much I’m reliving. How much I feel like that’s exactly what half of American voters want me to feel. How clear it is to me that Trump supporters are not just ok with, but actively encourage the full range of abusive shit I’ve been on the receiving end of. Here is what you’re endorsing, trump voters, just things perpetrated against me, just what I can think of off the top of my head, not exhaustive:
- The four years of my life that I was sexually molested and raped by a family member.
- Being punched for saying no to sex on a date.
- Being choked until I saw stars by a man I didn’t want to sleep with.
- Being forced to have sex after a date when I said no.
- Getting dozens of phone calls a day from a stalker.
- Getting three phone calls a day from a different stalker.
- Having to move because yet another stalker knew where I lived and came and sat in the parking lot.
- Getting threatening phone calls and sexually explicit emails with detailed sexual fantasies from a man who claimed to be a writer’s agent. For three years.
- Being told by the police that I should change my phone number and email address because they could do nothing about it, despite my livelihood depending on people being able to contact me with that information.
- The men who parked their SUV behind my car so I could not drive away, and who I don’t know what they would have done had I not had my cellphone and made a big show of calling the police.
- The man who followed me at 2 miles an hour in his red pickup for so many blocks that I had to knock on someone’s door to make him go away.
- The man who circled the block honking at me and nearly ran me over to pull onto the sidewalk ahead of me to stop me from walking so he could ask me out. And who didn’t understand why I was angry and frightened.
- The men who threw their drinks at me from their car when I told them to fuck off when they screamed at me.
- The dozens of men who yell and honk every time I go for a walk or run. Who have made me feel unsafe in my neighborhood.
- The dozens of rape and death threats.
- The video depicting me getting shot in the head for being a feminist.
- The teacher who thought I was smart, for a girl.
- The men who dumped me for having a better job or a better education than they did.
- My father refusing to speak to me or attend my wedding because I dated a black man.
- The men who started hitting on me when I was 11.
- Every asshole who made a comment about my large breasts.
- The men who were upset I had a breast reduction and thereby removed bigger breast from their life.
- Every dumb blonde joke about how women with my hair color were too stupid to breathe.
- The boy who asked me to lose ten pounds so he could date me.
- The letter sent to me when I was in college telling me that no one would ever love me because I was fat and while men can get away with being fat women can’t.
- The constant refrains in high school “men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses” and “fatty fatty two by four couldn’t get through the bathroom door.”
So yes. If I unfriend you for supporting Trump, if I profess no respect for you, if I speak of you in horror, that’s why. You’re making the world a safer place for abusive behavior and a worse place for women. And that won’t go away on Tuesday, though maybe it could get better if we don’t elect Trump.
Nothing on this list is remarkable. None of these events are unique among my friends and all the women I know have experienced variations of many items on the list.
I don’t list it because I’ve had an exceptionally rough experience, I list it because I haven’t.
Ashley Miller is a speaker, commentator, writer, and artist. She is a former board member of The Secular Student Alliance. Ashley continues to be a strong voice in and for the secular segment of our society, and an unflinching women’s rights activist.
Her work may be familiar to those who frequent or have frequented The Orbit, Freethought Blogs, and YouTube, as a ukulele player. She speaks throughout the United States about feminism, atheism, and communications, as well as pop culture.
She has been published in Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions, Salon, Freethought Blogs, and the academic journal CrossCurrents. Her editorial department work includes television shows that aired on Bravo, TLC, and Oxygen; and guest spots on podcasts, local network affiliates, radio programs, Al Jazeera, and the New York Times.