I recently watched the movie Thelma and Louise made in 1991. Little has changed in our world as far as the way women are treated, but something has changed inside of me. Twenty years ago, I would have stuffed my anger, but today I question why we still allow our leaders to pass laws that harm women. I am baffled why woman leaders are willing to surrender their integrity to be Handmaids in this sick system.
I have had many sleepless nights knowing that one in six women experience rape. I toss and turn, wondering how we can get men and women to vote for leaders who will empower us, not power over us. I am curious if voters are aware that our tax dollars are defending Donald Trump in the libel case in New York against him by writer E. Jean Carroll, who Trump is alleged to have raped. Attorney General William Barr is seeking to transfer the lawsuit from the state court to U.S. District Court in Manhattan and to substitute the federal government for Trump as the defendant. That maneuver would have the practical effect of dismissing Carroll’s lawsuit because government employees enjoy immunity from most defamation claims.
Feelings of powerlessness wake me up, wondering how mothers’ who have consoled their college daughters who were raped feel about Trump’s appointed Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos. She proudly instituted policies into universities and colleges that bolster the accused’s rights, reduce legal liabilities, and narrow the scope of rape cases schools will be required to investigate.
I also lay awake trying to imagine how grandmothers who have held their fourteen-year-old granddaughter’s hand as she delivers a baby born of rape feel about Trump’s Supreme Court Justice choice Amy Coney Barrett. She is a member of the People of Praise. This socially conservative religious group believes rape is a direct cause of a women’s promiscuity and that men in government should make decisions about women’s bodies. Not allowing women to make decisions about our bodies is another form of sexual violence.
I know how I feel about it. Rageful. We must vote to end a system that promotes domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. We must vote to show we will not tolerate dehumanizing language and messages, jokes, and icons that disrespect and objectify women. We must vote to protect ourselves, our mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, and granddaughters. We must vote for justice. Our lives depend upon it.