I was in seventh grade when a boy in my pod came up behind me during locker break, ran his hands up between my flared Gap blue jeans, squeezed, and walked away.
I was in high school when I made the choice to have sex with my first serious boyfriend. He proceeded to brag about it to all his friends at school. Word spread to the church we both attended, and I was summoned to the choir director’s office for questioning and counseling. He was left alone.
I was in college when, after a night of heavy drinking with my girlfriends, I fell asleep in a guest bedroom of a friend’s home. I woke up to a man on top of me—a roommate of the homeowner—and in my half-asleep, half-drunk state, was only able to mumble “no” over and over again until he finished raping me.
Those three stories don’t even begin to cover the number of times that men have harassed, debased, and assaulted me in my brief 30 years. And my story is far from unique.
From ass-slapping and crotch-grabbing by complete strangers to full-on unwanted sexual intercourse by men we think we can trust, women are treated like sex objects, like toys to amuse and arouse. And let’s not even get started on the daily onslaught of disgusting, unprovoked verbal comments thrown at our gender every day as we go for a jog, fill up our gas tanks, or simply walk down the goddamned street.
This issue. This mistreatment of women. This abhorrent disrespect. It’s personal to me.
So when you tell me that you’re going to vote for Donald Trump, I won’t just say, “That’s your right. You can vote for whatever candidate you choose.”
Because having the right does not make you right.
Your support of a man who has always and continues to degrade women perpetuates a misogynistic culture that directly results in how women are treated today, myself included.
Your support tells Donald and men everywhere that they can say these disgusting things about women, that they can do these disgusting things to women, and not only is it okay, but you’ll stand behind them. Hell, you’ll even vote for them if they run for president.
For every time a woman you love has been violated by a man and you could do nothing to protect her, for the women who’ve been grabbed in the pussy by men in positions of power, for the ones who’ve been scandalized and scrutinized for their sexuality, this is your chance. This is your chance to say, “I will not support this behavior. I will not perpetuate this culture. I will not endorse a man who treats women this way.”
It’s not political. Not anymore. It’s personal.
It’s personal to me. And it should be personal to you too.