Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trigger Warning, Trump Is Talking

The Watch Cat self-defense keychain  from the 1980s
Donald Trump's horrible attitudes toward women, as seen on a video, brought up bad memories for many women. One very courageous former Plainfielder, who is now a prestigious scientist and engineer, recounted on Facebook an experience in college where an instructor forced himself on her, kissing and groping, leaving her emotionally harmed for years.

I felt the same way regarding some childhood experiences that were very damaging.

Whether it is a teacher, pastor, family friend, neighbor or just some show-off guy, a man who takes advantage of a girl or woman is harming her in many ways. She may not trust men in general or may not assert herself in class. She might even feel enough shame over an assault that she feels defenseless against future unwanted advances.

Beyond what Trump calls "locker room talk," there is violence toward women that is based on the same general notion - that men are entitled to do what they want, be it harassment or actual physical harm. During the 1980s there was a movement to "Take Back the Night," meaning that women should be free to travel or just go out for the evening without interference from men.
In Plainfield, a young woman named Karissa Davis was abducted in September 1983 while she was walking away from a restaurant where she had auditioned for a job playing piano. Her body.was later found in Tinton Falls in Monmouth County. Women including then-Councilwoman Helen Miller and Plainfield Area NOW members, including two men, held a vigil and protest on Nov. 10, 1983. The victim's mother also marched with the NOW chapter (I was the coordinator) and Jack Gill covered it for The Courier-News.
Thirty-three years later, women have much more autonomy, but may still encounter domestic or public violence. And we have a presidential candidate who thinks it is OK to grope and kiss women at will.

November 10, 2016 happens to fall on a Thursday. By then we shall know who won the election. If it happens to be Trump, we might need another rally - or maybe just to grab that Watch Cat.

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