Like many women, I have been watching the Trump campaign self-implode after the Billy Bush on the Bus video came to light. I was appalled as most of you were and in the days that followed have been overwhelmed with memories that I thought were long shoved down and erased. I am completely freaked out by the women and men who think this is acceptable behavior because it’s not. It contributes to the rape/assault/molestation culture in America although I’m sure there are many people who will say it does not.
Many men and some women don’t think this is a common occurrence or a problem. Almost every woman I know has come forward with at least one story of being molested, assaulted or raped. My heart breaks for all of us knowing how much pain and suffering is out there that has gone unpunished. Their stories have made me weep. Mine are in many ways mild in comparison but have still left a scar.
Here are my stories:
1) At a very young and naive age 16, my mother took me to see a very well-known singer-songwriter whose name would be familiar to you all. After the performance, they let approximately 50 hand-picked people go through a receiving line. I was so excited for this honor, I was trembling. When we got to him, my mother was first and he shook her hand. I went next and put my hand out to shake his and he yanked me to him with one hand, grabbed my breast with the other and shoved his tongue in my mouth. I pulled back, screamed ‘Yuk’, started rubbing my mouth with the back of my hand as he and his entourage laughed. My mother pulled me away and we left with me crying all the way home.
2) Two years later, I was attending college in Boston and riding the subway to my internship. It was very crowded with people shoved together, randomly bumping each other. Suddenly a hand reached up my dress and into my underwear. I screamed, pulled away and looked behind me. No one was looking at me, so I had no way of knowing who did it. I quickly worked my way through the crowd to the other end of the subway. From then on, I walked the 1 1/2 miles to work every day.
3) Several years later, I had my first television network job. A former NFL player, now football analyst sometimes worked in the building. The first time I encountered him, he yelled ’Nice tits. What’s your bra size?’ The men around him laughed like it was the funniest thing they’d ever heard. From then on, whenever he was in the building, he would look for me and try to grab my breasts, always yelling something obscene when he did it. I went to my immediate boss who said he couldn’t do anything. I went to the Sr. Vice President of my Department. His response was to shout in my face saying ‘stay the Fuck away from the talent or you’ll lose your job. Get the fuck out of my office.’
4) One of my girlfriends was dating a Producer at this network and we all went out to dinner together. As it got later and darker and I was tired and wanted to go home, she asked him to walk me to my car because it wasn’t safe that late at night. We walked outside together, making small talk (I didn’t know him that well) and when we got to my car, he grabbed me from behind, turned me around, shoved me against the car, grabbing my body and shoving his tongue in my mouth. By the way, this man is now a well-respected Network Vice President.
5) When I moved to Texas and worked at an ABC affiliate, a call went around the station late one afternoon to find someone who who could ride horses. It was rodeo time and they were bringing horses around to all the tv stations as a way to create publicity. I was the only available person who could ride, the problem was, that day I was wearing a skirt. They said not to worry, they wouldn’t shoot anything until I was on the horse. I went to the horse and sort of shimmied my skirt up my thighs and got my foot in the stirrup. I looked over at the camera operator and he was pointing the camera at me. I told him to turn the camera away. He said he wasn’t shooting me, he was checking the light and to hurry up because they needed the footage and he had to go on another story. I stupidly believed him and flung my leg over the horse. We shot the video of me riding around in the grassy area behind the parking lot. The next day, he copied and distributed 5 tapes of me that he’d shot up my dress, with my legs apart when I’d gotten on the horse. Guess who got in trouble? Me. For being naive and reporting a nice and well-liked guy to HR rather than going along and being a good sport. To this day, people say what a great guy he is and shake their heads at me when I mention it. So I’ve stopped mentioning it.
6) These are just the stories that pop into my head right now, but I’m positive there are many more. In fact, I just remembered another one, but I’m mentally exhausted from thinking about this and don’t want to share any more stories. I’m only sharing now because if it can help save one woman from this crap, or from feeling alone, I’m willing to throw myself out there for ridicule and for the deniers to come at me.
You know what ladies? We shouldn’t have to go along and be good sports. This shouldn’t happen to women. Until now I didn’t realize how often it happens to other women and now I’m pissed at myself for keeping it quiet all these years. People ask me all the time why I wear my clothing a size too big. Well this is the reason. Self-fucking preservation. I do want to apologize for how poorly written this is, I’m sure there are grammatical and spelling errors but oh well, I don’t feel like editing myself because I’m exhausted by it all.
PS I will NEVER understand how ANY woman could vote for Donald Trump, because this is EXACTLY who he is and this is EXACTLY what he’s done many times.