Like millions of other females this past week, I too have been remembering the times when I was afraid for my life, for my body, for my ego and psyche.
For me, I was bred to it, starting with my father, and ending with the last time I felt in peril for my life: in India, at a fancy resort, when I thought I was completely safe and then momentarily fell prey to a stalker. (Gentle reader, I can run and I escaped!)
I counted twenty times, not counting the incestuous encounters for which I have no actual memory, just a dark ooze spreading over my spirit and body.
And yet, the encounter that resonates for me, is the one that sounds most like Donald Trump and happened at my Sunday School and was delivered by the Rabbi. I was walking down the long hallway of B’nai Zion Temple in Shreveport, Louisiana, with my buddy Cathy, a blond girl with cherubic features. I was tall for my age, dark haired and as always skinny: I probably looked a bit like Anne Frank.
Our rabbi appeared from behind the coat closet on the side of the chapel.
“Hello, Rabbi,” we said in unison, Cathy and I.
“Hello beautiful,” the holy man said to Cathy. And she repeated “Hello, Rabbi.”
And then he looked at me and said, “Hello, less beautiful.”
I knew it was true. I’m sure Cathy knew it was true. But still, what a thing to say to an eleven-year-old girl, one who had recently lost her father. Not that the man of the cloth knew that losing her father wasn’t exactly the worst thing that could have happened to that girl.
Cathy didn’t say anything. And I didn’t either. To this day, I wonder why the Rabbi thought that was a cool thing to say, because he did, he chuckled and repeated it again, “Hello, less beautiful.”
Powerful men, (to myself, I’m always saying powerful white men) don’t just use their power over the weaker sex. If they are so inclined, and so many of them are, they use their power to hurt and destroy little boys who fall into their clutches in locker rooms, in seminary, in schools, in cub scout troops.
And of course in their own homes. So in this week when so many of us are stepping up to the plate with our microphones let us not forget the little boys too.
Statistically, they do worse than we women, who are after all the stronger sex, maybe not physically, but certainly mentally. We can tell each other even if we can’t tell our mothers, or our mothers don’t want to hear. It is the history and the sad truth that little boys often are too ashamed to tell and turn to drugs and self-destructive behavior instead.
Women of my generation, the boomers, are used to such treatment. Yet, girls today are also used to it with the rape culture that is perpetrated in frat houses here, in religious circles all over the world, and of course, everywhere where girls are sold as chattel—which is all over the world. Yes, here even in this country.
Maybe Mr. Trump has given us something at long last: a moment to reflect on this culture of dominance.
May I say I am not just horrified by the Republican candidate for president, Mr. Trump, I am grateful.by