So, with very little sleep election night, at 4 am here in Germany it looked close but by 8 am it was all but over. So many of us were shocked—not only mentally but physically. There was no way for me to predict what would happen when the shock wore off. By that evening, deep, deep grief had overcome me and I and my therapist were communicating.
I thought that the grief and shock would wear off but it hasn’t and the imminent, annual return to the States to see family and friends has created real fear. I’m not physically afraid. This is a woman who lived 10 miles from the Syrian border in north Lebanon while the war intensified but not my fear. No, I am emotionally afraid. Therapist Gretchen has tried her best to help and some things have helped. Below are several websites that explain in greater detail than I am willing to, how this feels to women who have been hurt by men.
All I know is that the leitmotiv in my head is, “People I trusted, people who have loved me, people I’ve loved, have voted a predator into office.” Whatever reasons Gretchen may cite in her attempts to depersonalize this result are not, nor ever will be enough to overcome that fact. In a world where that is true, safety is no longer something I can count on. Comfort and ease among people I thought I knew have vanished. In a world where that is true, what can I, or any other woman, count on? In a world where that is true, the faint hope that Row V. Wade will be repealed is of higher value than people who are already on the planet—women, of course, children, immigrants, black lives of all ages, and Muslims. In a world where that is true, where a criminal, a rapist, a pathological liar will become a world leader, the values I have held dear, have become fluid, less important, to others.
I cannot accept that all of things I saw are excusable and somehow less important than voting for someone who upheld the values I do. Do not talk to me about email, Benghazi, or lying. Just do not. The winner has had the highest percentage (98%) of lying of any candidate tracked in history. Let us hope it is some kind of horrible record never again to be equaled.
I could continue but there are women who have expressed exactly what I feel, eloquently. I’ve provided the links, most of which, Gretchen has sent me.
What I must do, somehow, is to find a way to reconnect with those I love. I must find a way to look past what feels like betrayal because there are so many good things I have always loved about them, both friends and family. What I must do is work with RAINN and other groups from whom we’ve heard, to raise awareness that “rape culture” is not treated as normal. What I must do is stand up for others who have been assaulted, hurt, and abused.
But first, as Gretchen says, I must take care of myself. I’m not always sure I know how to do that when I’m overwhelmed by sorrow but I am going to try, and keep trying. I keep trying to remember that my life is good and the people in it have not suddenly become strangers, even if I cannot understand.
Somehow, I and millions of other women must reclaim our safety.