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Letting loose the inner Trump

The footage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s bus ride with Billy Bush in which he owns sexual assault as his preferred method of engaging with women he finds desirable, led to a tsunami of accounts by women who’ve been similarly treated when men let loose their inner Trump.

Journalist Karen Middleton published her account of sexual harassment and assault by MPs and male colleagues in The Saturday Paper.

Leah McElrath broke down Trump’s non-apology for his actions into a series of astoundingly succinct tweets every woman should print out and stick on the fridge as a guide to common manipulative tactics used by abusers.

In fact, Trump has done all of us a great favour. His global performance of alpha male entitlement has given us a textbook example of predatory male behaviour, without us having to bother reading the textbook. He’s created an atmosphere in which women in our millions can comment on our experiences of such behaviour and, in many instances for the first time, give it a name. He’s outed both himself and the toxic masculinity from which predation springs in a way nothing and nobody else could. For this we can be relieved. There can no longer be any doubt that to adherents of that toxic masculinity, women are prey.

Trump also sorted something that has deeply troubled me for the last couple of years. I’ve written on this blog and elsewhere about my childhood sexual abuse and the PTSD that is its consequence. So when I met online friend David in person for the first time I knew he knew my history. When he asked me about it in the cafe I was discomfited: it seemed neither the place nor the time, however, part of my psychological damage from that time is that in certain circumstances I’m unable to make an assessment of my own best interests, so I briefly answered his questions and also told him of my lifelong struggle with PTSD.

When we left the cafe David grabbed me, pulled me to him, kissed me and put his tongue in my mouth. It was one of those moments in which you can’t get a handle on what is actually happening because what is happening is so unlikely. Then it’s over.

I’ve never been able to make sense of why, only moments after listening to an account of prolonged childhood sexual abuse and subsequent lifelong PTSD, a man would grab a woman he’d just met and put his tongue in her mouth.

Until I read a discussion between Donald Trump and Howard Stern. Troubled women, Trump asserts, deeply, deeply troubled women, give the best sex:

She’s probably deeply troubled and therefore great in bed. How come the deeply troubled women, you know, deeply, deeply troubled, they’re always the best in bed?”

Stern said damaged women are “looking for love, they’re looking for positive affirmation, they’re looking for a father figure who will love them and tell them they’re wonderful and they’ll never be enough.”

Well I have a friend, Howard, who’s actually like a great playboy, I mean, I don’t say this about men, this guy does very well, Trump said. He runs silent, runs deep as they say, like a submarine. He will only look for a crazy women. He says, ‘Donald, Donald, please, please, I only want the crazy women.’”

“They’re desperate,” Stern said.

Reading this exchange was like an epiphany. I understood why David had been so overwhelmed by desire he’d felt compelled to grab me and stick his tongue in my mouth, even though you’d hope a man might think twice about violating a woman who’d just spoken about childhood sexual abuse and lifelong PTSD.

But hey, a deeply troubled woman can turn loose a man’s inner Trump, and he can’t help himself he has to grab her and stick his tongue in her mouth.

Vulnerability turns him on. Damage turns him on. It’s deeply, deeply sexy.

It’s a relief, really, to have my experience explained by Trump and Stern. It’s a relief to know it’s a predator’s thing and how else would we know so publicly, so accessibly, unless men like Trump and Stern shared their opinions?

We’ve known for a long time that women who experience childhood abuse are highly vulnerable to re-traumatisation. But I doubt it’s ever been so clear that this is because there are men who seek us out, specifically because we’ve been damaged.

Think on that, if you can bear to.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

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9 comments

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  1. kerri

    They no you will keep quiet and accept what is done to you.
    In the same way a thug will pick out a vulnerable male opponent for a king hit.

  2. Rossleigh

    I always think that the best way to deal with discussions about sexual abuse, harassment and the like is to just take the sex out of it and see how it sounds. For example, if we’d heard this from someone how would we react?

    Barry – It’s really easy to steal from your employer. Just pretend you’re working late and when everyone’s gone home, you can grab what you want from these bastards. I do it all the time!

    People immediately condemn Barry. Barry’s mates say that there’s nothing wrong with the word “bastard” and they don’t see what all the fuss is about. Barry suggests that he was just boasting to impress because that’s what people do.

    A few days later, several employers tell us that Barry was dismissed for theft.

    Barry is outraged and suggests that they’re lying.

    Ok, they’re suggesting that he actually did what he said he did, but he says that he didn’t and he’s the one that should be trusted because he doesn’t lie so just because he’s been caught on film saying that he’d do that doesn’t mean that he’d actually do it.

    I mean, who are you going to believe?

    Like I said, remove the sex thing and it suddenly becomes absurd…

  3. Kaye Lee

    Jennifer, I think for most women, survival depends on putting incidents behind us, the constant battle to forget bad stuff. Some of us have been lucky enough to escape physical harm – none of us are immune from a society which sees women as vessels and vassals.

    Your writing is powerful. I hope it is cathartic for you because your past should not limit your future. Two very wise Aboriginal women once said to me that all experiences in life, good and bad, teach you things. That is true, but experiences irreparably change us. I hope you can heal and find peace. I don’t know you, but I respect your view and admire your writing style.

    Little by little, we make change – and that is a good thing.

  4. johnlward010

    Bitterly disturbing at best. From experience the numbers of children who have been damaged by brothers , fathers, uncles, early in life, then the cultural grooming demanding naive submissive behaviour, peodophiles, rapists, and the entitled. May be all seperate categories of predators.
    However there is a dark side in our community and it exists only because we try not to see the signs. Our girl children deserve better protection than we provide. Respect for the future woman’s life and respect for the child to make his or her way through to adult life without the interference of some sick reptilian mind.
    Perhaps we should raise our level of education or training to pick up the signals that the blight on this society is nearby?

  5. johnlward010

    Benjamin Franklin said in a different context “If you make yourselves sheep the wolves will eat you”.

  6. Kyran

    With regard to the incident you have described, it seems to me that it would best be described as a criminal act. Having had friends and relatives subjected to such unwanted and unsolicited behaviour in my own life, I used to wonder why they did not go to the police and report the lowlife’s, have the lowlife’s charged. Then two of them did. I no longer wonder why people simply don’t report the lowlife’s. Whilst this sort of behaviour is increasingly being called out for what it is, criminal assault, the avenues available to redress the situation are limited, demeaning and often lead to the incident being needlessly replayed in the hope of securing a conviction. We are moving in the right direction. Regrettably, at a snail’s pace.
    Then along comes trump. A self confessed abuser, a megalomaniac of little substance other than a mouth considerably larger than his brain.
    He has now pledged he will sue every one of his sexual assault accusers.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-23/trump-legal-action-against-sexual-assault-allegations/7957642

    The self confessed perpetrator has become the victim. A bit like the border farce idiots saying the constant accusations about them perpetrating abuse on children in detention is traumatising them.
    Preposterous and absurd.

    “There are reports Mr Trump is looking to start his own media company after the election.
    He has surrounded himself with conservative media veterans — including recently ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes and the former chairman of right-wing website Breitbart, Stephen Bannon.
    By the end of the night, the Trump Facebook live stream had racked up 8 million views — not bad for a first broadcast.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-20/trump's-plans-for-after-the-november-election/7952306?section=analysis

    If those reports are correct, we will have a media outfit dedicated to the protection of the perpetrators. If you have a strong stomach, google ‘Roger Ailes’. The snail’s pace will be slowed.

    Thank you for your article Ms Wilson. Sláinte mhaith. Take care.

  7. Jennifer Wilson

    Thank you, Kyran.
    Going to the police is a fraught exercise. My own experience was that the detectives who assisted me were astoundingly good. I was supported, helped and respected.
    The court process can be something else altogether, and I think many people decide against pursuing the offenders because the process is hideous, especially when it’s sexual assault and his word against hers.
    The majority of victims don’t get anything like *justice*

  8. Jennifer Wilson

    Thanks Kaye.
    I am absolutely certain that I’ve learned far more from the experience than has the perpetrator.
    And it is true,in my experience, that there is much to be learned from difficulty. I usually think that the challenge is to do the best possible with whatever life throws at me, in my own judgement. Sometimes that means going into dark places for a while.
    Cheers, Jennifer.

  9. Deanna Jones

    Thanks for sharing, Jennifer, and all power to you. It’s great when we find opportunities to join the dots and make sense of our lived experience. Men are very good at seeking out and grooming those of us who are most vulnerable, and vilifying and abusing those of us who are most strong and most likely to call them out. This is the basis of all patriarchal mores regarding gender roles and expectations. It’s why these types of men hate feminists.

    We also know, from the research with child sex offenders, that they are also very skilled in seeking out the most vulnerable single mothers whose children they want to prey on.

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