Sexual Assault Disclosures: Belief and Disbelief

The Trump campaign is in full denial mode about sexual assault disclosures and continues to slam these brave women repeatedly. (Refer, by the way, to the HuffPost‘s running list of allegations against Trump.) Why now? Trump supporters ask. Unsubstantiated claims, they say. “Look at her, I don’t think so,” says Trump, referring to one of his multiple accusers, seemingly implying the possibility he would abuse a woman he does find attractive?

Remember the Trump pre-debate stunt that involved the premise that sexual assault victims should be believed? Well, now we see post-debate accused Trump: Voters, do not believe these false claims of sexual assault.

“The act of being touched did not traumatize me, unpleasant as it was,” recently wrote Meredith Melnick, Executive Health and Science Editor of The Huffington Post, about a long-ago incident that went unbelieved. “But the way our shared community organized around the guy who did it is a legacy I live with. And it took me 20 years ― until this election cycle, reading through thousands of women recounting their sexual assaults on Twitter ― to realize it.”

Indeed, not being believed regarding sexual assault disclosures leads to one of the longest lasting scars of all who are victimized. Because of the nature of trauma itself as well as the frequent lack of support, it often takes many years to catch up to what happened, to figure out what it’s done to one’s life, and to realize how it affects one’s self-esteem. Individuals often bear their pain in silence or near silence, and often south of fully conscious awareness, precisely because doing so without acknowledgment and validation from others has been too hard.

Yet, as Melnick boldly asserts regarding the general life experience of women, “We’ve all been groped or worse. Yes, all.”

So much is going on in the ongoing public debate that it’s more important than ever to know there is help out there. Ana Marie Cox, a TV journalist who in the midst of live Trump-related reportage last week (MSNBC) was triggered regarding her own past victimization, has tweeted out resources, including the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE); she also just started #myselfcare to provide an outlet for individuals seeking relief from the onslaught of disturbing news.

Cox wisely added, “Self-care looks different for everyone but IMHO, self-care for survivors today should probably include VOTING.”

One thought on “Sexual Assault Disclosures: Belief and Disbelief

  1. On 10/14/16, George Takei posted the following on Facebook: “If you ever wonder why sexual assault victims don’t come forward, just look what’s happening now to those who do.” I’m flabbergasted that so many people don’t believe the women who have come forward even after hearing what Trump said on the tape that has been played so many times. The victim/survivor is still being blamed…

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