Incendiary Monday: Lady Rage and Internal Conflict

“Most books on witchcraft will tell you that witches work naked. This is because most books on witchcraft were written by men.”
― Neil Gaiman

I don’t know much about the history of assault allegations against President Bill Clinton (though I’m trying to research it to be informed) but my opinion, my experience at a police department, and my own persuasions around women’s issues tells me the right thing to do is believe a woman who comes forward with a rape or assault claim until evidence proves otherwise. Period. And so, until I read enough creditable reporting to convince me otherwise, I’ll accept these allegations as truthful.

The allegations that Secretary Clinton threatened Ms. Broaddrick or others are trickier for me as what I have seen has been largely reported on a platform that is quite literally hand in hand with her opponent’s campaign. I’m unsure if/where propaganda and spin begins, or even if it’s ethical for me to try and parse between the allegations against one person and another. I don’t think this allegation is as credible and I’ve not seen nearly enough to back it up yet.

(Usual disclaimer: I’m always open to my mind being changed here and I admittedly don’t know a lot about the allegations of threats against victims. Send me your links or suggestions of where I should seek out creditable reporting on this to be better informed.)

However.

There is a long, ugly history of trying to make women culpable for the actions of men. Whether blaming skirt length as a provocation to rape, questions over consent, or–no biggie–Biblical narrative, this is a problem that goes way back. I cannot help but see this in attempts to make Secretary Clinton culpable in her husband’s actions and it makes me angry.

I am angry that in 2016 in the developed world, the best way to attack a woman is still through sexuality. I’m even more angry that the double standard is such that you can still effectively attack a woman through someone else’s sexuality.

I am angry that Mr. Trump can make explicit remarks about his own alleged actions, and Secretary Clinton is expected to account for an entirely other person’s actions in response.

I am angry that the sort of language heard on the released tapes by Mr. Trump has been deemed “locker room talk,” as if that somehow makes the idea of sexual assault okay or more acceptable–at least in conversation. His history is being reviewed and some unsurprising parallels to his language are starting to emerge, but more importantly, it doesn’t matter if men do talk like this in private (and I don’t for one minute believe most do), it’s still repugnant.

I am angry that so many of the responses on the part of his supposed colleagues who were hastening to abandon him cited the feelings of their wives and daughters as reason for withdrawing support. Yes, it is admirable that these (mostly) men are putting themselves in the shoes of their loved ones. But if they wanted to make a moral argument, they should have been able to put themselves in the shoes of women who had no relation to them whatsoever long before this, in reaction to any of Mr. Trump’s decades worth of comments on women (and Muslims, and people of color, and…). Choosing to cry foul now holds no moral sway with me. Women shouldn’t be related to you in order for their experiences to matter.

I am angry that women still need to state this fact.

 

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