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An open letter to those who think we should “get over” Trump

Like many of you, my heart sunk into my stomach and churned as I watched the votes come in for Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. I felt the universal pain of anyone who has been discriminated against—women, immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the LGBTQ community, those with disabilities, and the numerous other groups that Trump has been able to offend in such a short amount of time. The sharp pain of the sexual assualt survivors that had to hear this man say that men can “do anything” if they are rich or famous enough. The loss of hope in the children who want to change the future…

It is no secret that I am against what Trump stands for. I cannot simply look past his unreleased tax records, countless lawsuits, and hateful comments toward many groups that I myself or my friends belong to. I have heard some of the people who voted for him say that we can’t take his words too seriously. It’s easy to say this if these words don’t affect you directly or jeopardize your own safety and ability to live freely in this country. I have always been taught to judge someone by their actions and so far, his harsh words have matched many of the things he said that had me so worried.

We were already living in a world where the environment is deteriorating, people are shooting in schools, and groups are divided because of hate. Instead of working on plans to make things better, this president has already created a ban for Muslims, furthered plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico (God help me if I cannot get my avocados), taken away protection for transgender people, and appointed people to his cabinet who are unfit, uninformed, and inexperienced. For any position in this country, you need to have a certain set of skills and experiences to receive the position. It doesn’t make sense as to why this rule isn’t being followed for government positions.

I love this country and one of the beautiful things about it is that we accept those who are different. My grandmother came to this country, like many others, as an immigrant trying to make a better life for herself and her future children. Everyone wants to feel safe and I get that, but spreading hate and shutting people out will only lead to them becoming mad and even more hateful toward us. This can be seen throughout history, which tends to repeat itself. It is also important to note that more guns will not make us safer. They will lead to more deaths and mass shootings, especially since the House approved to do away with background checks for gun sales. Look at the gun deaths for other countries who have stricter gun laws and compare it to the US. There is clearly a problem when the US has about 3 times the gun deaths of any other country and is the world leader in gun violence. That is not something we should ever be proud of. Regulation is key and there needs to be more education about the use of guns and other means of protection in order to decrease these rates.

I am worried about terrorism but the fact of the matter is that most terrorist attacks come from our own citizens. The chances of a terrorist attack being carried out by a refugee is 1 to 3.6 billion per year, which is extremely lower than the chances of getting struck by lightening twice. Refusing refugees who have no other place to go and will die without leaving their country will create hatred against our country. If we open up our country to refugees and help them get through their tough time, we can create more allies and not enemies. Take a look at the current standards for the vetting process. It is extremely difficult already for a refugee to get into the country and there is little to no chance of a terrorist being able to get through that rigorous process.

I highly encourage anyone who stands by Trump’s policies to read the research and not just what they see on their friends’ newsfeeds.

fake news vs real.jpg

As you can see, the most reputable and unbiased sources are the ones in the middle. It just so happens that NPR is one of them and Trump wants to cut funding for it, along with the arts. It seems as though any news that disagrees with Trump or calls him out on his lies is “fake news”. Trump even called CNN fake news when it is clearly a reputable source.

Like I said, I am a proud American, but that does not mean that I have to agree with whatever the president does when I know it is wrong and will have detrimental effects on many different people. Just like any employee would be expected to educate themselves about their position and the issues at hand, it is Trump’s responsibility to consult with others instead of just signing off bills. Whether the president is a democrat or republican, they need to learn to consider what is best for the people as a whole, rather than favoring one particular demographic. Our country was built on fighting against injustices such as racism and inequality. We are also built on the idea of free speech. What the president has done within his short time in office has made me very scared for the future of many aspects of the country that I live in and love. We need to look at the research and understand what is going on instead of blindly believing everything we hear. Although everyone is entitled to opinions, there are some things that are just facts and we need to be aware of these if we want to change our country for the better. We need to treat others with respect and keep everyone safe. We need to promote love and not hate because hate just creates death, war, and even more separation from one another. This country is about coming together no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, or political party you fall under. Everyone is created equal—not just white men, straight men, Christian men, or men at all—everyone.

 

What a Trump presidency means for sexual assault victims

Congratulations to those of you who decided that this man who has been notorious for bullying those with disabilities, trash-talking people of other races and religions, and disrespecting women would be a better president than a woman. Now, anyone with a heart would recognize that he is wrong for our country but let’s take a look at something deeper. What does it say if our president already has many sexual assault charges against him before he enters office? During the infamous “bus” conversation with Billy Bush scandal, it was clear that he does not respect women or their right to have a say in what happens to their bodies. This is clearly evidenced by his pro-life views and comment stating that “you can do anything” to a woman and get away with it if you have some sort of high status.

I remember that week being a huge trigger for every single woman who has had an experience with sexual assault. I spoke to my adolescents at work and they were all terrified of the idea of Trump as president. How are they supposed to feel safe when their own President is not punished for sexual assault? How are they supposed to flourish in a world that is constantly shutting them up and telling them to “get over it”? We already have a system that favors the rapist over the victim. Cases like Brock Turner, Anita Hill, Jameis Winston, and those in the documentary Audrie and Daisy have exposed the horror that life becomes once the victim speaks out.

I urge you to take a second and try to imagine what life must be like for anyone, man or woman, who has been sexually assaulted must be like. Having to carry on with work or school because you don’t want to let them ruin your life but at the same time feeling broken, used, and worthless. Being told to “move on” when you are constantly bombarded with flashbacks of the incident and terrified that it might happen again. Not being able to sleep because of the nightmares and not being able to trust anyone. Try to imagine what that can do to a person. They literally become a shell with nothing left inside because society has told them it is not acceptable to talk about it so they have to become numb just to walk around without breaking down.

Make no mistake, the women I work with are strong. It was never their fault. The assault led them to turn to alternative methods to numb or forget the pain. They suffer from eating disorders as well as PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder. It’s heartbreaking that they would have to turn to these methods because being open about it just isn’t acceptable in our society.

You can see the pain in their eyes, the way they carry themselves, and the fear they describe when they talk about men and the possibly of dating in the future. You can feel their despair when you sit down with them when they are breaking down and have no idea how to get the horrible experience out of their minds. Needless to say, their lives can never be the same again.

Many people still defend this man stating that they are “just words” or seem to not classify this as sexual assault. I assume the ones defending him would be other white men who have never been victims of sexual assault or women who clearly cannot empathize with a woman who has been assaulted. These are the same individuals who hold the belief that women are objects instead of people and do not deserve the same amount of respect or rights because of their gender.

But I urge you to read stories of sexual assault victims. Try to see it from their point of view. Be grateful that you were lucky enough to never have to go through anything they do. Be kind to people who feel hurt and scared after this election because you never know what they have been through or are going through.

Yes, we do have to move on eventually but give people time to grieve and make sense of things. This is a decision that affects so many different people and although it may not affect you, it may affect someone you know. And if you care about that person, please let them voice their opinion just like our 1st amendment freely allows us to do. Recognize that there are going to be populations of people who are hurting from this and allow them to feel it.

In order to move on, we need to protect our rights as people. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Even if something may not make you happy or fit your culture, religion, or personal views, you do not have the right to control others. Just let that person be who they are. Is it really affecting you? Do you really need to fixate on what someone else is doing with their life? Stop the hate. Hate will just break you down and hurt others. Focus on making yourself happy and making yourself a better person because that is how we will actually make this nation great.

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