Foreword: In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I dedicate my first blog post. This was meant to go out yesterday but high winds had taken down our internet. This wasn’t my ideal first blog post but life is hardly ever ideal. Some of this may sound like old news but I think that it speaks to the very justified gripe that women have in their marches and protests. I wrote the majority of this blog right after news broke of President Trump’s infamous “locker room talk”. I have added to it to reflect how I feel today on the International Women’s Day. I think it adds validation to the women who have a justified concern with Trump being in office.
*Disclaimer1: I am going to speak on things critical of both the left and the right political affiliations here so I suggest you stop now if you aren’t ready for some unapologetic self-examination. Truth is no respecter of political affiliation or biases.
*Disclaimer2: There are details in this blog that are intentionally omitted to protect the confidentiality of those who have shared with me some deeply personal struggles. Everything listed did, does, and will continue to happen in a society that exploits women. #ImAVictimOfAmericasSexualAbuse
I, like many Americans, was disgusted by the remarks made by Trump back in 2005. The comments were disgusting and deplorable by all measures. I can’t pretend to be the most offended person as Melania Trump owns that right but I was deeply offended as a father of a daughter and husband to a beautiful wife. Perhaps Michelle Obama provided the strongest, most justified rebuke. With that in mind, how can I shift blame from the man who made this embarrassing, indefensible string of remarks to American society and cultural norms?
Diagnosis is identifying the root of a physical ailment. It is not the prescription to alleviate symptoms.
President Trump’s reprehensible behavior is a symptomatic manifestation of what is locked behind closed doors, hidden behind drawn shades, sitting on your personal book shelf, gracing the Oval Office, in the trash of deleted internet history, corrupted by the Supreme Court, and discarded in dumpsters behind Planned Parenthood.
America is sick and it’s time that we start pointing our fingers of condemnation to the sickness rather than the symptom.
President Trump’s treatment of women is like the bloody stool and urine that accompany cancer, the mouth ulcers that accompany AIDS, the diarrhea and vomiting that accompany Ebola, or the underdeveloped head of a newborn baby affected by the Zika virus. He was disgusting during the campaign and maybe is still. He causes shock. He provokes a strong reaction that sends us running to the doctor to plead with him/her to make the awful symptoms go away. But the somber news is not easy to accept. The diagnosis is hard to bear. However, the first step to solving the problem is not attacking the symptoms, it’s clearly identifying the disease or illness. So please take a seat and stop shouting about what isn’t important while I assume the doctor role and offer my professional opinion.
The country has a real problem with sex.
Sex is a great, wonderful, powerful force that, if wielded for good, can bring about much good including but not limited to deeper connection and commitment to spouse, the bringing of children into the world, and offering some of the greatest feelings of euphoric love, if not the greatest. On the opposite side of the equation, if sex is used for evil it can bring about much evil including but not limited to tearing families apart, exploitation for the intent of making the worst of men and women wealthy and powerful, subjection of individuals to horrible crimes, worthy of the harshest of penalties, propagation of misogyny of the worst kind by subjecting the innocence of women to abusive relationships and sentencing said women to be executioners of the defenseless, murdering not only the most innocent among us but also placing a knife in the back of the honorable title of “mother”. These are some symptoms of sex, good and bad, used responsibly and irresponsibly. I am not entirely convinced that you believe in my diagnosis so allow me to dive deeper.
Growing up in a small town, I was exposed to some of the evils of irresponsible sex. There were instances of sexual abuse that I can recall that dramatically affected my life or deeply offended me. The first involved exposure to improper ideas of sex at an innocent age and the second was physical sexual abuse from a young peer, only a couple years older than me, of which I will not detail here. Both happened before I was 12 but I can’t remember specifically when. Both were awful. Both contributed to a long childhood of buried pain, struggle and improper perceptions of sex. Both took a long time to overcome and still leave mental and emotional scars that I have come to accept as a part of my personal makeup.
Deeply offensive personal experiences took place at a later date when I was better able to judge for myself between right and wrong. In one instance in my teen years, I heard young men engage in “locker room talk” bragging about sexual exploitation and experiences in a place of worship designated for the cleanest of hearts and the purest of hands. In a separate instance, while putting myself through college, I was a victim of sexual harassment by my male boss in the work place at a reputable company. Please understand, I am no prude. I have made my share of inappropriate sexual jokes and owned sexually explicit music (Chingy, Ludacris, Ying Yang Twins, and Eminem) but the things my boss questioned me about and said were so bad and so disgusting that I physically couldn’t tolerate it EVEN WHILE I was filling my head with inappropriate, sexually explicit pop and rap lyrics. It was the only time in my life where I had to walk out of a deeply offensive situation.
These weren’t the only issue of improper sexual experiences in my life and, unfortunately, I wasn’t always the victim in such experiences. That being said, I won’t go into detail here because I don’t owe an explanation to anyone reading this post just as I don’t find it appropriate to disclose medical struggles to anyone except for my doctor and those closest to me. I have made amends with all affected parties where appropriate and I have left them in the past. Just know that my involvement in such trespasses were far from illegal and very common place in today’s culture, though still very below me and frankly below you too.
So some may say that I just had a unique childhood and that my personal evidence is fringe. Let me address the experiences of others I have heard or read about. I have had the misfortune and the blessing of close friendships with many abused women who have shared with me and others, some of their horror stories.
One person I knew very well was sexually abused by her father, which surely led to some of her misconceptions about sex that ultimately resulted in at least one broken marriage and many failed relationships. I have since lost contact with her but last I saw, she seemed to be doing much better after having found Christ and her own committed, happy family.
A different friend was extremely emotionally abused by her first husband. I do not know the details of the abuse but I do know that the abuse led to her divorce and the great trial of single-motherhood. Luckily the guy she is with now gives her a different level of respect that has helped her to form a happy marriage with more children and over a decade of marital commitment.
Most of my good friends have respectable parents in committed relationships that have stood the test of time but still seem to end up becoming victims of abuse. I don’t believe the majority of my friends experienced abuse from their parents in the home but I never felt it my place to ask for details not voluntarily given of this nature.
I can only start to imagine the abuse of women who deal with regular sexual abuse in their homes from husbands, fathers, or step-fathers. The very men that should, above all else, want to protect their innocence and virtue. I cannot begin to enumerate the all too oft-repeated stories of two-timing slobs that fall down at the altar of infidelity. These literal infidels wear the worst offenses as badges of honor and happily post intimate details of women they have “slayed” in public forums like they are trophies. They pressure associates, girlfriends, and wives to take risky risqué pictures and videos for their selfish lusts and often leverage that media when relationships go sour or to prove they are the alpha-male to their buddies.
The stories of other men forcibly taking more than what they are offered at movie theaters, parties, parked cars, bar flings, or while on a date are not hard to find. These are horrible situations that often leave teenagers impregnated and with the impossible choice of aborting a child, giving that child up for adoption or sacrificing many of their hopes and dreams to raise their child when they themselves are STILL children. One of many articles I have read on this topic talks of how the hookup culture on campus is leaving women depressed.
The problem certainly isn’t limited to the US. It is a sickness that plagues the world. While serving a mission in South America, I learned of a beautiful family whose lives were turned upside down when the middle-aged father impregnated a 12-year-old girl.
You read that right. A 12-year-old girl.
Some of these experiences I heard through the grapevine and usually didn’t get the guys’ side of the story but these accounts came from women that I hold in high respect for their courage, whom I have no reason not to believe, whether I knew them personally or not. They really had nothing to gain by sharing these experiences other than to perhaps earn my sympathy, whatever that is worth. They certainly have a lot to lose by telling the truth. I can’t imagine what has actually happened for all of them and I wouldn’t dare ask them to open up the wounds deeper than they already have to share with me their stories of sexual abuse. They are victims and they shouldn’t be forced to relive their pain for my personal interest. Plain and simple.
I am sure many others can relate to the experiences I have shared. Some of you have been the victims of far worse at the hands of loved ones or authority figures. By many accounts, my experiences and the ones I have highlighted here are quite innocent compared to the experiences of far too many women.
If you are still questioning whether or not there is problem, well let’s get back to why you came here in the first place.
You were and probably still are deeply offended by the president but why now? You already knew during the primaries that Melania had been in some provocative photo shoots. His appearances with Howard Stern were all over the internet for decades. He gave interviews to the infamous woman exploiter, Playboy well before he sought public office. His books, where he bragged about his inappropriate relationships with MARRIED women, were out in the open. Why all the fuss now? Why was the media giving such a pig so much positive exposure? Why did he have a tv show? Why were Republican leaders pulling their support after the video and not before?
If you are so upset about Trump, are you upset about Hillary Clinton’s behavior? Are you upset that she went after “bimbos” that accused her husband of sexual assault? Are you concerned with the fact that her husband was proven to have actively engaged in sexual promiscuity in the Oval Office, leveraging his authority to participate in all sorts of deplorable sexual infidelity and alleged sexual assault? Are you bothered that Hillary Clinton didn’t just stand by her husband silently but viciously defamed and attacked the women that accused her husband? Does it not rub you the wrong way that she has not admitted she was wrong for abusing her power like her husband was forced to do when he was found out?
If you are so upset about President Trump, do you store away sexually intimate media of past or current relationships? I don’t care how committed a man is to a woman, he should have to earn the opportunity to behold her in all of your beauty EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. A woman should proudly proclaim that such access to her body and intimacy, regardless of her past decisions, is priceless.
No man, no matter how wealthy, how powerful, how charismatic, or how persuasive can afford what that is worth and should never feel entitled to put it in front of a camera or store it on a hard drive. A man who holds onto the past sexual escapades of any relationship is doing so out of selfishness and does not hold the woman’s best interests at heart. Should a man not grow in love and appreciation for his wife regardless of the number of wrinkles that form or the gray hairs that fall? If a husband should not be asking his wife for such media, how much more inappropriate to surrender that to men or women who demonstrate lower levels of commitment?
If you are upset about Trump do you have the smut 50 Shades of Grey on your bookshelf? Do you #ShoutYourAbortion because you are proud that you sacrificed an innocent child on the altar of sexual gratification and personal ambition? Do you give special emphasis to parts of your body in the way that you dress or the way that you present yourself online to attract all of the dogs and the pigs? Do you type in your search bar under the cover of night the very same words and phrases (or worse) that you find so unbecoming in a US president? Do you attend movies, watch shows, and listen to music that objectify women, that encourage riotous living and all manner of sexual desecration? What is tucked away in your closet, hidden under your drawers, on your bedroom walls, in your phone, or on your computer? Are you truly faithful to your spouse? Do you actually give your money, your time, and your attention to encourage such vile propaganda? Do you willingly invite this filth into your home? Do you join in the mob that searches out deeply held religious convictions to destroy people who believe marriage is not simply a stamp of societal approval of all types of sexual gratification? Do you condemn the man or woman that used language found at your bachelor/bachelorette party, your locker room, your school bus, your golf course, the bar, over fine wine and cocktails the same way you condemn President Trump’s private conversation? He has at least apologized for it and perhaps he will apologize for his other sexual trespasses now that he is being somewhat formed by the power of the office. He should be praised for his willingness to be accountable and ignored when he is not.
Are you sure that you want to cast the first stone? Do you think God will look at your condemnation and be quick to forgive your sexual abuses and hypocritical support for all the unholy? Do you think He will stay His hand because you don’t believe He exists when there are all of the prophecies and teachings of so many of His prophets and His Son at your fingertips? When many today continue to testify of His reality? Will you mock and cast aside the great truths that have survived the greatest scrutiny and stood the tests of time? Do you think that you are in any position to condemn any man or woman for the very workings of the devil that you actively prop up with your money and support? If heaven were to exist, do you think it would be full of hypocrites?
Again, I am not defending Trump or Hillary. A bloody stool is a bad thing and there is no denying that. But fixing the bloody stool does not cure the cancer. Both Hillary and Trump bear the fruits of moral corruption. America is not getting moral candidates because morality is dying in this country. The candidates that we vote for and that we support are just representations of underlying feelings and attitudes of what exists in the majority of Americans’ hearts. Anyone who voted for Trump knew he was immoral before he secured the nomination. Anyone who voted for Hillary must have known that she has a history of political corruption and has blamed and attacked the victims of her husbands sexual escapades. Her and the DNC’s actions were a blatant shame and embarrassment to the namesake of their party platform.
The point is, you reap what you sow, America. The campaign we had last year is a manifestation of the illness plaguing the country today. God (or accountability in general) is being pushed away. We don’t know His commandments, we don’t pay attention to His prophets, and we don’t deserve protection from Him for that. You want to get rid of the awful symptoms so apparent in this country, then start holding up morality, start burning the smut on your bookshelf, start leaving media that is not worthy of you, cast stones at the real perpetrators of the plagues and cancers in our society: The pornography industry, the abortion profiteers, the adulterous entertainment industry and anything else that wishes to degrade and corrupt the holy and wonderful institution of marriage and the glorious power of sex.
Or don’t and watch this illness create more nasty symptoms and continue in your irresponsible ideas as the country heads down the path of utter destruction just as an untreated, cancerous body is lowered down into its grave.
You can avoid accountability for a time but consequences ALWAYS catch up.
That’s my prognosis.
Now take two pills and come back in a couple of weeks.
*Edit, when I first posted this, I was not clear about condemning the behavior about specific people in power. I believe I made the appropriate changes in the post to reflect my true feelings.
Call out the sin. Love the sinner.