Most people hate politics and cringe at the political articles that come across their newsfeed. I don’t. I feel quite the opposite, actually. I love politics. I fiercely love this country and the political foundation it has been built upon. I cherish my right to vote as much as my right to live. I care about what happens with the leadership in my country. But until this election cycle, it’s never been super personal for me. I’ve had my favorite candidate and campaigned for them and voted for them and left it at that. I guess that’s all you can do, really, but I’ve never felt really personal about a particular candidate before.
That has changed this year.
This year, a rapist has decided to run for office. And now it’s personal.
I wish it wasn’t. I wish I could shrug it off and “vote for the policies and not the person.” I wish I could ignore it. I wish it didn’t affect me. But it does. Because when I was in high school, I was sexually abused by a boy I had a relationship with. I didn’t tell anyone. I was afraid. I was ashamed. I still don’t talk about it very often. I still think about it all the time.
The boy who sexually assaulted me has a name. I won’t share it but for the purpose of this post, we’ll call him Pete. Pete still invades my dreams. Five years since the last time I saw him, I still wake up trying to catch my breath. I recently went to a party where people were playing Guitar Hero and I felt extremely uncomfortable, but I couldn’t figure out why. Then I had a flashback and I had to leave because I was having a panic attack. I later remembered that was the version of Guitar Hero I played with Pete sometimes. I shared this experience with my counselor and she said we need to start exploring the possibility of me having PTSD from my relationship with Pete.
On December 16th, Donald Trump will go to court for raping a 13 year-old girl. He has been caught on tape flippantly admitting to sexual assault and later excused it as “locker room talk.” He has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by countless women. People say those women are lying because they did not come forward before hand. I did not come forward before hand, but you better believe me I sure as hell would come forward if Pete ran for president.
Donald Trump is someone’s Pete. Donald Trump is the man who is keeping someone awake at night. Donald Trump is the man who has ruined someone else’s life. My nightmares go by the name of Pete. A 13 year-old’s go by the name of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump, the man some of my friends and family members are voting for. And it makes me wonder if Pete ran for president and stood by republican values if my family and friends would vote for him, too. Would they excuse his behavior as “locker room talk”?
I’m not saying Hillary Clinton is perfect. She is far from it. Same with any third-party candidate you’ll find. But I just want to make this clear. If you’re voting for Trump, you’re voting for a rapist. You’re voting for a Pete. I’m so sick of hearing about how his policies are better or who he’ll put in the Supreme Court or a number of other excuses about why people will vote for him.
You’re voting for a rapist.
So, hell yeah. That’s personal.