dear mr. trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

About a year and a half ago, I was walking home from an evening with my girlfriends. Let me save you the questions : it was late, but not that late. I was wearing jeans and a sweater. I was not drunk.

As I walked by a man on the sidewalk, he reached out and grabbed my arm and said, "Hello, beautiful." I shook him off, trained my eyes forward, and kept walking in the way every woman has learned to do.

This was not acceptable to him. He grew incensed, called me a "c---," and then, when I quickened my pace, yelled "you BETTER run" and started toward me. I ran the entire way home. He followed me, also running, yelling, until I reached a busy intersection, crossed it, and sprinted to my door. I circled the block so that I could go in the back way so that he wouldn't know which house was mine and spent an hour sitting on the floor of my living room, peeking out a window, making sure he hadn't followed me to my front steps. I remember my heartbeat. It sounded like : you're ok. you're ok. you're ok.

Dear Mr. Trump,

When I was 19, a parking lot attendant hugged me through the window of my car without warning, lingering a little too long, insinuating that I should get out of the car.

Dear Mr. Trump,

As a senior in college, halfway through a drink, I realized it was laced with something, threw it out, and never went back to that bar.

Dear Mr. Trump,

My ass has been grabbed, slapped, remarked upon my strangers. I've been called names for not smiling, not giving out my number, not dancing, not wanting to make conversation. I've been pushed and shoved, demeaned, laughed at openly. I've had every hair on the back of my neck stand up, sensing danger. I've learned to perfect always knowing where my friends are while I'm talking to a stranger. I know what it is to be alone with a man and realize that he is angry and he could, at any minute, physically overpower you, and I know what it is to be afraid that is a real possibility.

Dear Mr. Trump,

After every single one of those stories above, I was left thankful that it hadn't been worse. I was thankful that my personal safety hadn't been violated to a larger degree.

Dear Mr. Trump,

I do not know a single woman who doesn't have a similar story to share.

Let that sink in.

I do not know a single woman who can't tell those stories.

 Dear Mr. Trump,

I spent a lot of time hating you.

I am still terrified of you. If we ever meet, I will refuse to be in a room alone with you. You are the kind of man that I would fight tooth and nail to keep the many gorgeous, smart, funny, amazing women in my life from being alone in a room with.

But now, I'm also sad for you.

I have to believe that you've never felt utterly powerless in the face of a man, as we have. I have to believe that you don't know a woman that you love that comes to mind when you hear the words "sexual assault." I have to believe that if you do, you truly do not see your words as ones that perpetuate sexual assault.

I am sad for you because I am not holding you to a standard I wouldn't hold any other man or woman in my life. I am holding you to a very basic, very human standard. And you are failing to meet it.

There are so many good, decent, honorable men in this world. I am sad for you because you are not one, though you claim to be.

Mr. Trump,

One day, I will have to answer to my children about how someone like you could have been within reach of being President of a country I truly love. 

But you will one day have to answer to a woman you love, whether it be a granddaughter or daughter or niece or friend, for the man you have been revealed to be.

Mr. Trump,

In that moment, I wish for you the grace, courage and strength that every woman who is standing up against you is showing.