I saw a tweet of a picture taken in Alabama of a church sign. It wasn’t the usual uplifting message or a funny quote to draw people into the church. No, this billboard was blasphemous in my opinion. It made me sick to my stomach as I read the black and white letters that said: They falsely accused Jesus. Vote Roy Moore.
I could not believe my eyes then I quickly remembered what world I live in, I live in a world that is so ugly that they wrote off a confession of sexual misconduct as “locker room talk.”
With all the sexual harassment/assault accusations being hurled in the media all day every day, I feel like I am reliving my experiences with harassment and assault on a constant loop. I hear these women stories, and sadly I am reminded that we all belong to a club we never wanted to be initiated into in the first place.
Hearing the stories of how Roy Moore would use the local shopping mall as his hunting ground for young girls took me all the way back to my very first hazing into this silent society of women. I was eight years old, up to this point the world was a bright, happy place. My world overflowed with childish things, dolls, puppies and the only bad guys I ever witnesses were always far away on the television screen. There were no villains in my world, no threats of violence, just innocence.
One summer day when my parents drug my sister and me to Walmart my innocent world quickly came crashing down around me, and I was given my first glimpse of what the norm of being a woman in this country would feel like every day.
I remember being excited that my mother said I could go check out the toy aisle. My sister and I quickly ran over to the Barbie section. We loved checking out the neon pink colored boxes filled with treasures, dreams and a doll we idolized. While skipping up and down the Barbie aisle my sister and I wandered away from each other, but I hadn’t noticed that I was standing in the aisle all alone. I wasn’t aware of my surroundings because, why would I be? I was in Walmart, a familiar place surrounded by all of my favorite things. My head filled with fantasies of being able to fill my mother’s shopping cart with all the Barbies that could fit. When all of the sudden I felt a hand slide across my butt and slide down to cup my board like undeveloped body. I froze in my Disney Esmeralda payless sneakers. My feet were glued to the floor. The skin that this man fingers trailed on my backside felt like it was on fire. He slinked his hand up to my right butt cheek and walked away as if nothing happened. My face flushed and I felt tears coming in my eyes. I felt dirty, I felt ashamed, and for the first time in my life the world around me became ugly, the pretty neon pink boxes went dull, and I found out first hand that the villains were not just on TV. I quickly wiped my eyes and went into protective mode to find my little sister. I did not want her to be touched by the faceless man who smelled of Marlboro cigarettes and sweat had just invaded my space.
I never told anyone what happened to me that day. Even though my mother suspected that I was upset about something and asked me if I was okay, I quietly said “Its nothing.” and kept quiet. I was afraid that I would get in trouble, I had never been exposed to the concept of victim blaming because I had never even known that this sort of thing happened to anyone at the time. But that was my first instinct, having never been exposed my first reaction was to keep silent so I wouldn’t get in trouble.
That incident at Walmart was my first time being violated, but most definitely would not be my last. That is the world we live in day in and day out. So when I hear these 40-year-old allegations surface, and these women tearfully tell their story I can completely understand why it still hurts. When you re-tell a story like that you are suddenly that little girl, glued to the floor, helpless and full of fear. Your skin heats up in the places that were not supposed to be touched by that faceless man.
It’s no surprise to me that Donald Trump is still supporting Moore but to see church signs blatantly comparing Roy Moore to Jesus Christ I am genuinely disappointed in society. I think of the message this is sending to the young women who haven’t been inducted into this unfortunate club. It sends the message that when this happens to you, and you finally get the courage to tell your story, even with this current day of reckoning happening in Hollywood, that there will still be men out there who will somehow always be untouchable.