The New York Times, or how I like to call them, “The New York Trump,” had a headline today and it angered me.
Right there on the front page it said:
How Trump Gave Women a New Voice
After Donald Trump – Will More Women believe their own Stories?
With all due respect, this headline is a disgrace; Trump hasn’t given us women a voice, neither will he speak for us in the future. We, the women, got up and spoke up, years before The Donald decided to play with politics.
I am a woman. I started my career in the late 70’s and was -like so many of us- confronted with sexual harassment right from the outset.
Nobody talked about it back then, there was no HR department, we had to deal with it one way or the other. Sometimes it went well, other times not so much.
I remember my first student job. I worked in a pub close to my home. It was a beautiful place, the guest were regulars, they all knew each other, the atmosphere was pleasant. Most of the guest were much older, many of them were men, who came in for one or two beers right after work on their way home.
I was very young, in my early 20’s, and I felt very comfortable there behind the bar, liked the conversations and loved the tip.
Everything went well, until one evening, when an older gentleman -one of the regulars- decided to test the water. He slapped me on my behind when I walked by like he had a right to do so. I was on my way back to the bar; my hands were empty, and I turned around and slapped him in the face.
I was shocked by my action and also pleasantly surprised. I had never hit anybody before, didn’t think I had it in me. It all happened in a split second -action and reaction.
The gentleman was outraged. He was outraged not about the fact that he had overstepped the boundaries, he wasn’t offended or disgusted by his behavior, no, he was furious with me.
I stood there behind the bar and listened to him and his coworkers. He asked for the manager, and I had a bad feeling that this would not end very well for me. Sure enough, the manager came and tried to calm the guest down. He ordered me to his office, and there he explained to me that I had to apologize to the guest, or I would lose my job.
It was just a part-time job, but still, this all didn’t feel right. I remember wondering about the situation. I knew that I shouldn’t have slapped the man in the fact, but then he shouldn’t have touched me either. I was just doing my job; that didn’t make me a public property.
I insisted on speaking to the owner, that at least gave me a little bit more time to deal with all of it. I wasn’t sure what to do. Standing up for myself would mean I would lose my job, apologizing would mean I would lose myself.
My boss came by shortly afterward and listened to all of it. He was an older gentleman, and I knew he liked me BUT he was also a businessman.
It didn’t look good for me.
He too insisted that I would have to apologize and I grabbed my tip and my purse. I knew I had lost. Another guest -also a regular- got up, “So, this is how you all want men to treat your wives when you are not around? For you, it’s alright that we all slap women on their behind if they are alone?”
All of a sudden there was a loud discussion in the bar. I was not longer the center of attention; they talked about their wives and daughters and forgot about me.
My boss asked me back behind the bar, and I continued to work there for the rest of the night. I didn’t apologize, neither did the gentlemen who started it all.
I continued to work there for another year. Nobody talked about it again, and nobody ever tried anything like it again. I suppose I had a bad reputation.
Many women, just like me, have gotten up over the last 40 years, and we shed light on spousal abuse, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and marital rape. All of it is now out in the open because of us, the women who spoke up, not because of any man and for sure not because of someone like Donald Trump.
I believe all women who have spoken up recently and I understand why they have been quiet for so long. It’s time we stop victim shaming and start shaming men like Donald Trump and Bill Cosby. They should be held accountable by law.
I believe Donald Trump fears Hillary Clinton like the devil fears the holy water. He must be totally puzzled by her strength.
For me, it’s very ironic that just when a woman is ready to win the presidency, the entire conversation still revolves around the alpha male opponent.
A strong woman still threatens many men, especially weak ones like Donald Trump. This may explain some of the most outrageous slurs and the hatred against Hillary Clinton. When you get down to it, anger is just another word for fear.
Donald Trump must fear women like Hillary Clinton, and now he should fear all of us women.