This post is rated PG-13, and also involves some political stuff – so if either of these will upset you, please feel free to skip it. I just felt a strong need to share.
I was 13. It’s one of those life-changing moments when you remember every detail, whether you want to or not. I was wearing my olive green sweater with oversized buttons and a tan skirt. I remember the exact seat I was sitting in. I wonder now if he remembers that he even did this to me. Was it even a big deal to him?
He touched me in a way that made me want to scream and run, but instead it was like I became mute and couldn’t make a single sound. But I was screaming on the inside. I remember begging on the inside for him to stop, please stop! Please someone, see this! Anyone! But no one did. Finally he quit, and we left the room and I didn’t speak of it until decades later.
I won’t lie, in a way I have felt guilty all these years because I didn’t say anything to point it out, to make him stop, to humiliate him and save myself from what happened. I don’t even know how it did happen. What made him think that would be okay? There was nothing I said or did that could have made him think I would be on board with that. Nothing. But he took a chance, and for decades I have suffered significantly from it.
Did he chat it up with other friends? Laugh it off? Feel proud of himself? Was this “locker room talk?”
The last few days, my newsfeed has been filled with Donald Trump and his comments from 2005. Google it (Donald Trump 2005 should get you there) if you have been without the television or internet for the past few days, because I don’t want to repeat them. But I was appalled. I intended to write this blog Sunday night, but cried myself to sleep instead.
Hearing those words, and reading posts from other women who said they have experienced someone assault them and that the pain that is still with them, brought some serious emotions.
I can tell you that over the last few days whenever I heard, read, or saw a Facebook “like” or “share” by men (or women) who I have respected and trusted that support the idea that those were “only words,” or “locker room talk” and “who hasn’t said something like that or worse?” it physically hurt.
It feels like each of these people I respect were all standing in that room that day when that boy did what he wanted at my expense, cocking their head and telling me “it’s not that big a deal.”
So while I’m not saying this to sway your vote one way or another – your vote is your right – I am saying that what he said is a big deal. And it saddens me and hurts me deeply to hear people say that everyone says these kinds of things and worse (And as a side note, I must remind you that these weren’t words that Trump said in his early twenties, when he was young and naïve and stupid – he was 59 – like your grandfather or your dad).
Please think for just a minute right now about someone treating your wife, your daughter, or your sister the way Trump spoke of “Nancy” that day. Still just words? Still just “locker room talk?”
We are worth more than that.
And this part is for those who feel like it’s okay to accept or overlook words that are said, written, or shared – that it wasn‘t a big deal:
One of the few times I have tried having a yard sale, I remember putting the price on the Home Interior pictures from the ‘80s, and assuming they would sell. But for some reason, the few customers we had weren’t biting. They thought the price was too high. They wanted cheap. They didn’t really care about my things as much as I did, and weren’t willing to invest the way I thought my things deserved.
People will determine your value by the price you put on yourself. If you require respect and cherishing, people will see that you deserve it. And the ones not willing to give it won’t waste your time. But if you “clearance” yourself and show that you will take whatever, that’s what you will get.
I saw this image on my Facebook newsfeed. “If American women are so outraged at Trump’s use of naughty words, who in the hell bought 80 million copies of ‘50 Shades of Grey?’”
I am not proud of this, but I will admit I bought a copy of that book when it came out. It was the choice of a book club I am in, and I excused it by saying it’s only fair. They read my book choices, so I can read theirs too. I deeply regret that $13. The book goes against every bit of how I think a woman should be treated. And yet I was reading it for entertainment. Stupid. And for that I am sorry.
I don’t see how I can say I want to be respected and valued and treasured and then tell society what I want is a purely physical relationship, and I want to be looked at as a sexual object.
We are sending mixed messages. We say we want respect and then we say we think it’s fun to imagine someone desiring us solely for our bodies and what we can do for them, whether we want to or not.
Do we really think being treated like the girl in 50 Shades is what we long for? Do we really want to value our men in a purely sexualized way, dancing on stage like in “Magic Mike?” (didn’t see that one – but it is just as unfair for women to devalue men. If we women don’t want it said about us, don’t say it about them. Please.) Are we okay with being portrayed strategically/barely-covered with another strategically/barely-covered woman trying to sell cheeseburgers or underwear? I’m saying that it is time we see our value and refuse to accept anything less than that.
Dear sister, you are worth it.
And if you don’t think anyone will ever value you for more, please know that you are wrong. I am certain people will, and more importantly, God does.
“Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…” Isaiah 43:4a (ESV)
You are precious in God’s eyes, and honored, and loved. You are worth so much. Please don’t sell yourself short.
And don’t let anyone who tries to devalue you, and what you are worth, get away with it. And certainly don’t make excuses for them.