Women are speaking out using a different hashtag now, #notokay, but it’s #YesAllWomen all over again.

  • I have been catcalled, whistled, and honked at — not just by older men, but by boys as young as 10.
  • I’ve had a man repeatedly come into my workplace to flirt with me, who followed me with his car and talked to me on the street, and who got my e-mail address from my work’s website and e-mailed me. During none of this did I “encourage” him. (When I complained about this to a male friend, he actually said I should have been “nicer” to the man because “it takes a lot of courage” to express interest in a woman!!)
  • In high school, one of my male classmates said that his goal that year was to get me drunk. He was later suspended/expelled for grabbing a girl under her skirt.
  • I’ve been leered at in at least five languages.
  • I’ve been followed when walking in a public park. Now I walk with a walking stick, not just because I have rheumatoid arthritis.
  • I’ve been cornered in my residence hall’s laundry room by a man who “loves America and Americans” and wouldn’t let me leave until I told him which room I lived in. (I lied.)
  • I have stayed late in my shared office when a female colleague was having a student conference with a male student that had made inappropriate comments to her, “just in case.”
  • Years later, I still feel uncomfortable eating ice cream in a cone after a man made a lewd comment about what else I could do with my mouth.

And more. Almost every woman I know has these stories and worse. This is #notokay. #YesAllWomen have these experiences. To be told that “you must have done something to get their attention” or that you are “overreacting” dismisses the validity of these experiences. To have Trump’s comments be glossed over as “locker room talk” and that “every man talks like that” does not make that speech or that behavior acceptable. Instead, it reinforces the victim-blaming rape culture in our society and trivializes how this kind of speech and behavior strips women of their humanity.

I am reminded of this (paraphrased) quote from Margaret Atwood:
“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

Why else was I taught to carry keys in my fist to use as a weapon? Why else was I taught to park my car under streetlights and to check beneath the car before getting too close? Why else was I taught to always be hyperaware of my surroundings, noting where the men were and reading their body language? I was TAUGHT these things. This is the information passed from woman to woman to keep ourselves safe.

When will enough be enough?

for my nieces and nephews

This is copied from a post I shared on Facebook.

I keep posting against Donald Trump because I have over a dozen nieces and nephews. They range in age from under a year-old to over twenty-years old. I care for them dearly, even if I do not get to see them very often.

I do not want my nieces to grow up in a country that has knowingly elected a misogynistic sexual predator and demagogue into the highest political office in the land. I do not want my nieces to live in a world in which men, emboldened by Trump’s example, continue to assault women and girls. I do not want my nieces to see that no matter how prepared a woman may be, no matter how qualified, how much experience she has, how much of her life she has devoted to understanding policy and how the government works, that woman still loses in favor of an ignorant, sexist, racist, dangerous man who has made it clear time and time again that the only person he cares about is himself and his own advancement. I want better for my nieces E., S., W., R., H., A., N., and R.

Neither do I want my nephews to have that kind of man as president held up as a role model for them. I do not want my nephews to learn from his example and from the silence of our populace that such despicable behavior towards women, minorities, the disabled, and refugees is acceptable behavior. I do not want my nephews to have as their example a man who is unprepared, who tells lies as easily as breathing, who takes advantage of others, who refuses to do his fair share, and who hides from the truth and responsibility. I want better for my nephews A., B., J., G., T., and I.

I would not trust Donald Trump alone in a room with any of my nephews or nieces. Nor do I trust him with their future. Can you blame me?

Many of my friends and family are politically conservative, but I know that for just as many of them, supporting Trump is a bitter pill to swallow. Don’t. He does not support your values. Time and again he has proven himself not to be trustworthy enough to be our president. He has proven through his character that he is not deserving of your support or your vote. Listen to your conscience and vote for someone else.

I’m not voting for Trump and I cannot be silent in my dissent. I want to make sure I can look my nieces and nephews in the eye and tell them that I did my part to try to keep him out of office.