Wednesday, October 12, 2016

#ImWithEmpathy

My current political concerns are actually human concerns.

As I have slowly begun to tell my story of sexual assault when I was in college, it has become clear that there is a significant portion of the population who don't care.  Or they think it was my fault.  I'll be honest, I still think it was my fault.  It's why I can't bring myself to actually say the words and describe what happened.

Whenever someone else tells their story, I am quick to say it wasn't her fault.  It's a strange bit of cognitive dissonance.  I believe, deep enough inside for it to be an automatic reaction, it wasn't her fault.  I also deeply believe it WAS my fault.  And as I have been awed by so many women coming forward and telling their stories (check out #notokay on Twitter), I still can't bring myself to tell mine.

I recently unfriended someone on Facebook for their full-throated support of Donald Trump.  I never took the time to let them know they were triggering me, or their support of him was actually, legitimately hurtful to me and so many others.  I didn't tell them, because I knew they wouldn't care.

And that's my main beef.  I'm seeing more and more people who simply don't care about the welfare of others.  They don't care a young man in college assaulted me.  They don't care people of color are being gunned down indiscriminately.  They don't care Muslims are dehumanized and treated as sources of information, or as threats.  They don't care Mexican people have been called rapists and are treated as America's new slave class.  They don't care black women are the lowest paid class, despite equal work.

I expect people to care about people.  I want people to care about people.  These aren't just statistics, these are actual people in the real world.  And I expect you to care about them.

To be fair, I do vote in my own best interest.  I think we all do.  But I don't vote in my economic interest.  I vote the way I do because I'm a woman, and by virtue of being born female, I am not afforded the same rights and protections as men.  So yes, I vote in my own best interest.  I also vote with the best interest in mind of people of color, Muslims, Mexicans, black women, LGBTQ+ people, children and so many others.  That's what I wish others would do as well.

Granted, I'm being pretty self-congratulatory.  I'm willing to admit it.  But being triggered so hard lately, and doing a lot of self-flagellation because I still think it was my fault, I deserve a little self-love.

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