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If you can't vote for Clinton, then don't vote.

Being Canadian, I don't usually poke my nose into US politics.  However, today I must.  Let me make something very clear:  I'm not a Hillary Clinton supporter.  And, let me warn you right now, this blog post is not going to be easy to read.

Trust me when I say it wasn't easy to write either.

WARNING:  This post contains graphic content in relation to a past sexual assault.

But cannot, and will not, sit idly by and watch my neighbours to the south support a man that openly speaks about sexual assault like it's no big deal.  Hearing the news, and that awful tape, on the news before I could change the channel have left me horrified and almost weeping tears in a corner due to a very old memory pushing itself up to the forefront of my mind and saying, "You will remember this in every painful detail."

I'm a victim of sexual assault.  Not once, but twice, and each time my experiences were belittled and made out to be 'fantasy' or exaggerated.

Donald Trump is not the man that took my innocence when I was seven years old, but he is not unlike the man who did.  That man, who I won't name here but he knows who he is and why I will never forgive him, was entrusted with my care when my parents went out.  I don't know where they went, or why, but I do remember what happened.

I didn't ask for this to happen.  I don't remember how, or why, it happened.  I was watching TV, ironically that commercial from the 80's about bad secrets and good secrets was on.  He was sitting on the couch in the living room.  He opened his pants in front of me and told me what 'it' was.  I was seven.  I knew there were differences (ie: girls sit, boys stand), but the whys and the hows had not yet been taught.  He encouraged me to touch his penis.

The clearest memory I have was not that it was flaccid... but that it was hard.

I was seven.

He was the same age as my parents.

This is not the horrifying part.  You would think it is, but it really, really isn't.

Years later, after sex ed (and the memories of that being finally understood) I was having a very hard time in school.  I was rebelling and taking it out on a teacher, a male teacher, that was the same age and general description as said original abuser.  It didn't help that the teacher was also a sexist prick, and half the time I was in the right anyway, but needless to say that despite having better than usual grades for the typical rebellious pre-teen, we were continually at odds.  My parents again left, and came back from that teacher-parent night (and my mother also remembers not liking this particular sexist prick either), but that didn't matter.  All that mattered was the grief I was giving him... and I told the truth.

My parents confronted him, and... nothing happened.

I was encouraged to not push things as going to the police would make things worse.  I would likely even be seen as the bad little girl who made something up to deflect what was going on in school.

I never forgot, nor forgave, that betrayal.

How does this relate?

Because men who talk about sexual assault as if it is a joke, or simple bravado among men, will also downplay what can happen when it does.  Good men do not joke about rape.  They do not joke about groping.  They do not joke about things like this and then downplay it.

My abuser, and everyone around him, did the same to me.  They downplayed it until it became something that was never talked about again... like it never happened.

Let me put it this way:  Would your Secret Service consider it a joke if someone said they'd like to do something about your president?  The answer to this is NO, because that's not a joke.  That's uttering a threat.

So is this.  Worse yet, for millions of people like me to hear a person (whether man or woman--to talk about groping someone someplace that another intelligent human being would rather not be touched is a violation) talking explicitly about what exactly they'd do and what want to do, and can get away with, is enough for those who have survived a violent crime to feel betrayed.  Someone who would weild the tremendous power that a US President has should not be someone who so blithely speaks about what they can get away with.

I might not be a Clinton supporter (I've said it before that this election looks like two toddlers fighting over toys in a sandbox), but the one thing I will ask... if you cannot support Clinton then please just don't support Trump either.

Sometimes, very rarely, there is power in abstaining from a vote.


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