I get pissed when I read threads on twitter patiently explaining why survivors take decades to tell our stories. I get pissed because, as true as it is may be that fear and trauma and societal pressure can keep survivors from speaking, there is a greater pressure no one wants to mention. It’s the pressure that keeps you from listening.
The first time a survivor’s tale goes viral is never the first time it was told. It’s only the first time someone who couldn’t be dismissed heard the story and decided to do something with it.
It’s a one-in-a-million story that everybody cares about; a lottery of supply-and-demand. Politics are currents, happening everywhere, always. They are at work when a 14-year-old girl gets molested and her friends tell her she’s making a big deal out of nothing. There are politics in the small town mothers and fathers and pastors who gaslight and downplay, and in the journalist who, in the right place at the right time, will hear that resonating rumor and decide to follow up.
If it takes tens years for a political tide to swell in the right direction and make the stories finally go somewhere, it can’t fall on survivors to explain why. It falls on us, on all of us, to ask why, suddenly, we heard.
It is true that Roy Moore’s child-molestation only matters to most of you because of this election. I know that for a fact because most of you aren’t calling for criminal charges. “If Moore is guilty, Moore should step aside as Senate candidate,” is the faux-heroic stance of admired liberal after liberal politician. Thanks so much, farmer-with-a-shotgun, for suggesting the fox kick himself out of the henhouse, but it ain’t gonna happen. When the best you can do with your power is to suggest a child-molester remove himself from your line of vision, you’re not protecting or supporting survivors. You’re using the waves created under them to forward your career.
Trump is a rapist and he should be in jail. So the fuck is Bill Clinton. And I refuse to believe that saying this will work against the movements seeking to expand healthcare or put a halt to Nazism. The political tides that brought Hollywood-hating republicans and feminism-studying liberals together as two ears, hearing buried stories, have given me reason to hope. That, in this perfect storm, we have made room for reckoning.