This is undoubtedly the most challenging, vulnerable post I have ever written. In the aftermath of Trump’s ‘hot mic’ revelations of his practice of sexually assaulting women BECAUSE HE CAN, I lay awake for hours feeling a trauma response course through my body. Feelings of rage, of impotency, of shame and even a little despair plagued me for days afterwards. Despite my deep discomfort at bringing this into such a public arena, I cannot keep silent on the issue of sexual assault any longer.
The process of healing the malaise at the heart of human society starts when we are brave enough to look, to understand the nature of the disease, and to name it accordingly and fearlessly. This sickness, like the sickness of racism, has become so normalised that most don’t even notice it. At least, certainly not those that were fortunate enough to be born white and male. Thus it is incumbent upon men to face the discomfort they feel head-on when the magnitude of sexual assault is revealed, as it is incumbent upon women to be accountable for all the ways in which they collude in their victimisation.
The first time I was sexually assaulted, I was 9 years old on a packed tube carriage with my mother. A business man in a suit and bowler hat rubbed his erection into my back and groped my bottom while I stood immobilised, trembling with shame and fear. [click to continue…]