Forced to Swallow

Midnight, October 8, 2016:
Women, everywhere, are awake. Waking.
Our brothers are waking too.
It’s time…

(original acrylic: Thomasz Allen Kopera; motion effects: George RedHawk
(original art: Thomasz Allen Kopera; Motion effects: George Redhawk)

Head held down at the nape of the neck.
Forced to swallow.

Do you have this visceral memory of a cock too?

Do you feel vulnerable reading this?
Awkward? Ashamed? Embarrassed?
Are you a man?

This is what it is to be a woman.

A colleague writes:

Every single woman you know has been leered at, groped, exposed to, assaulted, harassed. Every. Single. One.

A minister writes:

Like others, I’m not actually surprised that Donald Trump thinks and talks about women (like this) though it was painful to hear how casually he talked about committing acts of sexual assault. I’m willing to bet that almost every single woman I know has been groped in exactly the way he mentioned, and hearing him brag about it filled me with rage.

A friend from long ago writes:

Is there a man alive who hasn’t referred to women privately in a way he’s not proud of? I have 4 brothers and 3 sons, guy talk is supposed to be just that – guys. Not something for the public to hear every locker room thought…

My Trump supporting friend is right.
Men have held this privilege over women–for millennia.
I’ve heard my father take it.
My uncles.
My high school sweet heart.
His friends.
My classmates.
My colleagues.
(Never my sons. Not in my house.)

After hearing the tape of Trump and Bush, I can’t look at my husband.
I don’t want him near me.
My husband is a kind, conscious man.
But something inside me is searing.

I am also ashamed.
Not of the GOP candidate,
But of me.
My complicity.
The way I swallowed.
Because I was expected to.

“We’ve swallowed so much,” writes a friend. “Our bitterness. Our outrage. The small indignities.”

I feel so grateful to Donald Trump.
For all the ways in which he’s personified our nation’s shadow.
Particularly now. With such a competent woman prepared to lead,
a daughter of the same patriarchy from which we all suffer.

Despite thirty years between us, my niece, a law student, commiserates over what women are forced to swallow every day.

“No more,” she writes. “I’m spitting it out now and forever.”

I’m with her.



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