Visitors to my social media accounts may not believe this, but I have pulled my punches and softened my wording since the Presidential election.
Yes, I have been outspoken about the qualifications of the President-elect and his proposed Cabinet. I have also expressed my opposition to cuts and changes that the incoming administration officials indicated they want to make.
But what people might not realize is that I crafted every one of my posts or tweets with this thought in mind: I have family members, friends, and acquaintances with widely differing opinions and political ideologies.
Because I know they might read my posts and comments, I sought to soften my language and temper my reactions. I have done my best to prompt them to reconsider their viewpoints while trying hard not to offend them. I have posted with the hope of prompting a discussion, rather than venting my rage.
That. Stops. Now.
I have thought about the effort I put into softening my stances and wording to mollify those who disagree with me. And I realized that my attempts to make other people comfortable is harming me.
That fact should not surprise me. America’s culture trains women to sacrifice their health and well-being to make others comfortable. That is evident in the clothes deemed “sexy” by popular culture. It’s a factor in Americans’ idealization of self-sacrificing mothers while portraying strong women as bitches, whores, or mannish.
The fact that over 62 million voters cast their votes for a man who boasted about his ability to sexually assault women without consequence sickens me. But it shouldn’t surprise any of us. After all, one in five American girls has been the victim of sexual abuse. And one in twenty boys has been abused as well.
Let me say that again.
1 in 5 girls has been sexually assaulted in America. And 1 in 20 boys has been.
That should cause all of us to step back and take a long, hard look at our national values, our culture, and our priorities. The fact that 62 million Americans believe a man who brags about sexually violating women is qualified to lead our country is appalling.
I find it especially nauseating because I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
It’s not something I talk about often. But this election and its results have shown me that I cannot stay quiet about this.
I will no longer choose my words with consideration for other people’s comfort. I finally realized that the people who stood idly by while I was abused are the same ones I try not to upset now. I’m done trying to make them feel better about themselves. Just like I will no longer stay silent about my true reactions to the incoming administration.
I will still strive to base my viewpoints and posts on facts and confirmed data. I know that I may state an opinion and later learn that I didn’t have all the facts. When that happens, I will admit my mistake. And I reserve the right to change my mind because I believe that’s what a mature, thoughtful, engaged adult does.
But I will speak out. I will speak forcefully. And I won’t worry about offending those who disagree with me. The future of this country—and my own mental health—are too important to coddle abusers and their enablers.
If you find this offensive or are unwilling to suffer slings and arrows for your beliefs, then I suggest you exit, pursued by a (Russian) bear.