This time last year there was a hue and cry over an audio recording of now-President Trump speaking in rather derogatory terms about things he has done to women in the past. It opened the door to many stories about women claiming to have been harassed, assaulted and grabbed by the president. Much of the country believed the women and demanded Trump’s head. Much of the country dismissed his comments as “locker room talk” that commonly occurs with men and dismissed the accusations by the women as partisan attacks. But it started a dialogue. Women began to talk about the harassment or assault they had experienced at the hands of powerful men. I was one of the women who shared my story publicly for the first time on Facebook.
As I felt the hot tears welling in my eyes I excused myself and left the bar. When I was alone the tears poured down my face. I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought about telling my sister who worked with me. I thought about telling my boss who was another senator. But in the end, like so many other women, I chose to remain silent. Why? Because in that moment, it was all a bit fuzzy. Had I done something to “ask for it”? Was I flirting and inviting that behavior? He wasn’t someone I was attracted to in any way, so I didn’t imagine I was intentionally “asking for it,” but was I sending the wrong signals? Then I began to worry that if I said something it might turn into a scandal and I might be involved in bringing down a Republican senator. Would that mark me as someone less committed to the party cause? Would I be seen as the girl that tattles and tells? Would I be seen as some kind of prude that can’t hack it with the guys? I had so many questions and not enough answers. So I said nothing. Read More