Warning: This post, with its descriptions of misogyny and abuse, may be triggering for some and inappropriate for others. Proceed with caution.
I’m in a foul, foul mood, dear readers. I have had it up to here. And by here, I mean someplace about 100 feet above your head. Yeah. That high.
A few things happened today to put me in this mood. First, I went swimming with Dear Husband, and while he was doing his laps, the guy on the other side of me, whom I had never seen at the pool before and hope to never see again, decided to take a break from his exercise routine to take an inappropriately long look at my breasts while I was doing my workout. He had a naughty little smile on his face while he did it, like the two of us were playing this bawdy game together. Suddenly I felt like I was putting on a show for this pig, when all I wanted to do was exercise. It made me feel like going home and taking a bath in bleach.
I didn’t report him to management, because technically, looking at someone is not a crime. And as is so often the case in moments like these, it would be his word against mine. Who cares that I felt like I had been assaulted? Who cares that it was an act of aggression?
I also said nothing to DH, because he struggles to think badly of anyone, so he questions my judgment when I have those thoughts myself. And even if he knew, what could he have done? Gotten into a fist fight at the YMCA? Please.
But I know what I saw. I had just been victimized by a random male who knew he could get away with it, and who felt he had the right to do so. The last thing I needed on top of that was to have to justify my victimization to someone else. It’s sickeningly common for people to assume that if a woman is upset about something, she must be exaggerating. Nope. We’re just fed up with a lifetime of this type of bs.
Later, when I got to work and started scrolling through the news feed, I stumbled upon an article about Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII, King of England. Fortunately for her, she was only married to him for about 6 months, and actually managed to get away without being beheaded like her successor, Catherine Howard would be.
It seems that their marriage was never consummated, and good ol’ Henry, who was 49 at a time when the life expectancy was 50, claimed that this had nothing to do with him. Forget about the fact that he never had any more children even though he had two more wives. Forget about the fact that he was already morbidly obese and suffered from gout and an ulcerated leg that refused to heal long before he married Anne of Cleves. He almost certainly had a traumatic brain injury and type II diabetes as well, which, just sayin’, does not exactly scream virility to me.
No. The lack of consummation, Hank claimed, was because Anne of Cleves was so unattractive that he wasn’t aroused by her. His proof of potency was his assertion that he had had two wet dreams during that time. All hail the holy ejaculate!
Yup. When faced with humiliation, real or imagined, it’s always preferable to blame the woman. And to add insult to injury, say that she’s ugly in the sure and certain knowledge that everyone will believe that rather than consider your unmistakable health issues. Yeah. Of course that will work. Because it actually does, doesn’t it? Heaven forefend a woman might be equal to or even superior to the men around her in health or in any other way.
I almost got sucked in to defending Anne of Cleves’ looks, based on all the paintings of her that are extant. But really, what does that have to do with anything? That unwarranted critique was merely a way to divert our attention from even uglier behavior.
Just ask Mary Magdalene what it’s like to have your reputation trashed in order to downplay your value to society. She figures highly in the gnostic gospels as vital to Jesus’ ministry, and is even called an apostle. The amount of money she provided to that ministry also indicates that she was a woman of wealth. And yet, two centuries later, she’s called a prostitute and it’s claimed that she was possessed by seven demons. There’s no evidence of this in the bible, by the way. But she’s being bad-mouthed to this very day. We can’t have it seem as though Jesus gave his seal of approval to women having power, now can we?
That got me thinking about how so many men of power abuse women emotionally, reputationally, and physically, in a variety of sick and twisted ways, and yet these men still get away with it. Still!
Case in point (and yet another thing I got to read about on this very same day): The trial of E. Jean Carroll v. Donald Trump has finally begun. For those who haven’t heard, he is once again being accused of sexually assaulting a woman. Her evidence is pretty compelling. She has testimony from two people whom she talked to immediately afterward. She has testimony from the venue as to how the act could have gone unnoticed. She has testimony from a family member who explains why she didn’t come forward for so long.
Oh, and then there are the 19 other women who have accused Trump of similar behavior. I’m thinking in particular of two others, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, whose stories of being assaulted by Trump show an almost identical modus operandi to the one that he spelled out so graphically to Billy Bush. The man openly bragged about grabbing women by the p****. We have all heard the tape or at least read the transcript. And yet he still got elected! Still!
Trump’s defense is as follows: she’s not his type. Even though he himself mistook a picture of Carroll from that time to be that of Marla Maples, who was most definitely his type. The woman’s looks are the thing that should be put on trial, per Trump. And they have been. Oh yeah. Let’s worry about what the victim looks like, then as well as now. That’s important when you get raped, isn’t it?
Well, now, if the court finds her unattractive, then clearly Trump must be innocent!
( ͠° ͟ʖ ͡° ) ╭∩╮
The man is a pig. Is anyone surprised? He has centuries of porcine examples from which to model his behavior. The fact that these men have been given a pass only demonstrates how fragile our cloaks of civility actually are. Boys will be boys. It’s so common it’s been normalized. So much so that many women in this country are proud to step up and defend such outrageous acts.
I would say that women who defend pigs are the ultimate betrayal, but really, that’s twisted logic. It oozes out from the same fetid cesspool that the belief that women are “asking for it” comes from. Because, let’s face it: Women have as much right to be ignorant, prejudiced, backward and outrageous as men do.
As much as I love the Me Too movement and think that it was long overdue, I wish it had instead been called the You Too movement. Because the focus needs to be placed on the scumbags who are perpetuating the crimes, rather than the women who are being re-victimized by society if they have the courage to speak out. The onus should be on those who are committing the crimes. The women on the receiving end of this outrageous behavior should not then have to be forced to fight for their reputations and good names.
Yes, like the vast majority of women, I have been groped, raped, assaulted, violated, humiliated, emotionally abused, stared at, and otherwise treated like a plaything that doesn’t have any rights at all. What are you looking at? Me? Get a clue. Look at the men. Look at all the freakin’ men. Focus on them and what society allows them to do.
In proximity to most women are whole herds of parasitic pigs who are mucking about, waiting for their opportunity to take what they want and then defecate on the victim’s reputation. These women don’t want them. They find them repugnant and debilitating. And yet the pigs persist. They don’t even allow women to control their own bodies.
And as a side note, a group of pigs is called a team. Isn’t that interesting? Isn’t that scary?
These pigs will not only survive, but thrive, because we allow them to lurk in the underbrush. We remain silent. We provide them with excuses. We do not hold them accountable. We continue to support them and allow them to hold power.
I’m not saying that all men are victimizers or that all women are victims. Far from it. But let’s address the biggest piggy in the room of all: The good guys are doing nothing to stop this. But don’t get all smug. Most of us women aren’t doing anything, either. With our sheer inertia, with our silence, and our tendency to avert our eyes, we all prop up this sickening system of abuse. Shame on us.
4 thoughts on “It’s All Her Fault”
Sorry that happened. Wish you could share your feelings with your husband. Wouldn’t questioning your judgment be re-victimizing you? Wouldn’t he be giving the perpetrator a pass by doubting you? If we’re afraid to share our experiences with men we say we trust, shouldn’t we question that trust? You deserve a better outcome after all the abuse you’ve known. We need to educate the men in our Iives about these issues and give them an opportunity to be a support system that we can trust. We need to stop making excuses for good men who gaslight us into silence so they can ‘do nothing’ without guilt. We need to be fearless in advocating for ourselves, and each other, even if it means admitting hard truths. E. Jean Carroll and the other women testifying, are fine examples of what we are capable of. We owe no apologies or excuses, nor is it our responsibility to protect the men, who claim to love us, from our realities. How can we keep the focus on perpetrators, and protect ourselves, when we let the men close to us undermine our resolve? I hope you report the incident. Be safe, the creep might still be around. Last time I was sexually harassed, I reported it and didn’t care if I was believed. Just wanted it on the record in case something worse happened, which it did. They believed me then. He was a care giver sent by my seniors health program last year. Old, alone and disabled makes an easy, vulnerable target. My only protection is my voice. I’ve learned to use it effectively and ignore the gaslighters trying to silence me. Wish I’d learned this when I was younger.
Thanks, Lyn. Not only don’t we learn that when we’re younger, but we’re taught to talk less, smile more, and just take it. And that’s a travesty. Self-advocacy can be exhausting, and that’s exactly what the patriarchy counts on. I’m glad you spoke up about that guy. There’s nothing more despicable than preying on the vulnerable.
Thanks for the link! Don’t you love it when chickens come home to roost? Let’s hope this is the trend in all the lawsuits against Trump. He’s gotten away with too much.