On Friday, I almost got into a car accident when a woman turned left in front of me without even looking. I momentarily glimpsed her face and it was completely blank. I thought about honking my horn and yelling, but the absence of emotion or recognition in her expression gave me pause. I’d been reminding myself to stay in the moment and in my body all day Thursday as I listened to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recount her sexual assault in front of the entire country. As a stay-at-home mom, I can do okay on autopilot for awhile: make breakfast, pack lunches, take the big kids to school, walk the dog, serve lunch to the toddlers, throw in a load of laundry, pick up the kids, walk the dog again, make dinner, bedtime routines. By Friday morning I knew I had washed and dried the remote to the living room television, indicating a glitch in my usual programming. And by the time I was shuttling my children home that afternoon, having my near miss collision, I’d decided that every woman in America was suffering a bout of PTSD and needed to be cut a break.
Every woman I know has been the victim of sexual misconduct or violence of some kind, ranging from verbal harassment to rape to domestic abuse. This is the crux of the #MeToo movement and the reason women aren’t okay right now.
See, Brett Kavanaugh isn’t just Brett Kavanaugh at this point. He’s your violent ex-boyfriend who left fingerprint bruises on your wrist. He’s that man that once followed you for three blocks and you were sure it was murder. He’s your alcoholic dad with the rage in his eyes and beer on his breath. He’s the teenage boy whose hands you kept pushing away from the zipper on your jeans. He’s a man many of us still live with or around. And Dr. Ford? She’s me. She’s you. She’s your sister, mother, daughter, neighbor. When her voice trembled as she spoke, women could feel it in our throats. We knew that shaky feeling and we felt it with her all over again. Of all the burdens we bear, women added this Senate Hearing to our mental and emotional plates last week. We were all yelling at Jeff Flake in that elevator. And if you don’t know what it feels like to be simultaneously terrified and unspeakably powerful - a woman- yield the floor to us and take my advice:
Don’t grab us, not even playfully. For the love of god, don’t “Not All Men” us. Don’t ask us what’s wrong or wonder why we forgot something important. Give us space and consideration and help us feel our power. Buy us flowers, a rape whistle, chocolate, pepper spray, takeout, or a solid ash baseball bat. Or all of those things and maybe throw in a new remote.