Sunday, January 22, 2017


Man who Boasts Of Sexual Assault,
Inaugurated 45th President Of United States

Eighteen years ago, while I was taking the number 9 subway train home from Midtown Manhattan to 121st and Amsterdam, a man "grabbed my pussy." That is, while I was locked into the rush hour crowd, unable to move and with my arms around a large box I was carrying, a man reached under that box to stick his hand through my sundress into my vagina to fondle it. I tried to wiggle away, but I couldn't actually get away until the next stop, when I darted for the doors as soon as I could and then sat down to cry with the shame washing over me.

I was "lucky" - though it's telling that I use that word -  because I haven't been raped. But I have been violated, intimately touched without consent, that time and others.

I never imagined that nearly two decades later, that subway experience would be the part of my history that dominates my thoughts on my birthday. But since my birthday is also inauguration day, I have a lot of company with other women, and men, trying to push away the memories of sexual assault that intrude upon them when they see the face or hear the voice of the president-elect, a man who is on tape describing, in his own words, sexually assaulting women. Too many who heard that story remembered his boast that he could do whatever he wanted - grab women "by the pussy" - but they missed the rest of his quote, which was more explicit about what he said he did to women:

"I did try and (penetrate) her. She was married… I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she's not got the big phony tits and everything… I've got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

He never apologized. He never showed remorse. He never acknowledged that "grabbing them by the pussy" would be sexual assault.

It will be a long four years for millions of sexual assault survivors who must reckon with the fact that someone just like their attacker will now lead the country. His image will hang in the classrooms of our children, showing our boys and girls what consequences await those who violate another person's body…

Tara Haelle


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