First of all, this is not another poetry entry but I mere rant because I’m ready to pull my hair out with this. I applaud everyone man and woman coming forward right now. I believe 99.9999% of them until proven otherwise. (The only one I’m not completely sure of is Menz and Franken. I like Franken and was glad Tweeden accepted his apology because that was the most important person to apologize to next to those of us, like myself, who admire him. I know women of prominent organizations who work with Franken in their offices and in his. He cares about women’s issues and has gone above to ensure women and men who are trafficked get help – mentally, medically, with homes, etc… I feel he cares about women and with Tweeden he was being a dumbass. But something doesn’t add up with Menz, sorry). Anyway, Franken aside, well not quite aside – I am seeing my liberal progressive feminist friends defending him and others who can be deemed as liberal or progressives. They are asking the stupidest question I can think of to these women (and men) coming forward – “Why now?” As if that erases their experiences. Now, when the right wing was facing heat, before Moore but with like O’Rielly and others at Fox News members, these liberal friends knew this was an inappropriate question to ask and applauded every woman that came forward (and keeps coming forward). Now there is obviously a difference between Franken and Moore – Franken did a dumbass “prank” and used Tweeden as a comedy prop (more to come on this) while Moore is dating girls as young, and younger, than my oldest niece. (And this is all weird because Trump is calling for Franken to resign – mainly because he’s a liberal but he’s endorsing a pedophile but yet not shocking since our POTUS is the “grab the by the pussy” “I’d date my daughter. We have sex in common” accusations by his ex-wife, multiple women, and 13 year old saying he raped and/or assaulted them. All disappeared when he “won”). I’m not one to be like “well this was so much worse than that,” I really am not… but pedophiles vs a dumb comedic move… c’mon.
Anyway, I keep losing track here and hopefully you’re still reading this. My point at this moment is both sides and the center of the Wings always ask “Why now?” when it’s the other side being accused. Just because you like or admire someone, like I do with Franken, doesn’t mean they are innocent or should be given a pass. Franken was wrong. He admitted it. He apologized. An apology a billion women across the globe do not get. He looked deeper into his past comedy and has condemned himself for it. He didn’t deflect like Spacey did when he suddenly decided to “come out” (though we all knew, didn’t we?) or try to blame the other party of conspiracy like Moore is doing. Franken apologized. Nevertheless, there are die hard supporters (Geez I used to think I was one) that won’t let this go, although I think Tweeden and Franken are ready to move on. There’s all these “conspiracies” about Tweeden and again the question “Why now?” The same goes with Moore minus the apology. His die hard supporters will not see anything wrong with him and what he has done. They buy into the conspiracy that the democrats are setting him up. What are his supporters asking? “Why now?” See, who said liberals and conservatives don’t have anything in common?
I got into a huge argument with a die-hard Spacey fan who I thought knew better than to victim blame or shame a victim. To me, and I think others – at least those I’ve had this convo with – feel he admitted what he did and possibly insinuated there’s others. In the same breath he finally “came out” and said he has “decided to live as a gay man.” My friend did not hear this or at least did not want to hear this. Even though he apologized and did obviously try to deflect, he was speaking to the wall… now, as someone who is a victim herself, it blew my mind when she asked “Why now?” and blamed it on the victim’s not-so-very-successful-career.
My mom was one of the biggest Cosby fans EVER. I remember car trips across the states hearing his stand-up and listening to her favorite one over and over and over again until you pleaded with your life to just turn the radio on for ONE song. She watched his show religiously, even syndicated, she thought he was the greatest comedian, loved his movie (“Ghost Dad” was one of our weekly movies. I didn’t cry because the dad died, I cried because I thought my mom was torturing us with Bill Cosby), and she hung onto everything she ever said, no matter how incorrect he was or even bigotry towards his own people. If you argued with mom about Cosby, you were not going to have the last word and you were lucky to leave with your head still on. So needless to say any further, my mom was a die hard fan.
When the first woman came forward against Cosby, my mom listened intently. She didn’t want to believe it yet she did. When the second, third, forth. etc… came out you could since she felt heartbroken and betrayed. This was a comedian she enjoyed and had the clean enough comedy that she could torture her kids with on road trips. She just loved his parenting jokes. But here she was looking at a man she deeply admired and in the past could do no wrong in her opinion. As we were driving one day she had the radio on, one of those popular radio stations that my niece torments me with (I understand now why dad did all he could to fool us that our radio station no longer existed). The DJ announced another woman came forward. My mom shook her head and said “To think, all these years these poor women were afraid to come forward. It breaks my heart for them. And if he was a predator, I worry about everyone who was on his show and movies.” My mom felt sympathy and concern for these women. When any mention of Cosby is brought up she emphasizes her concern for those on his show and movies that might still be afraid. She does not feel bad for him at all. She feels for his victims and has flat out said what he is – a predator. There was no “Why are these women coming out now?” It was sympathy for them. Empathy for all the years they lived in silence, scared, hurt, angry…
I grew up in a family of intergenerational trauma when it comes to sex abuse and assault. I grew up in a family that was hyper-vigilant about “good touch” and “bad touch,” “you can always tell mom and dad if something bad happens to you… if you’re playing somewhere and a stranger approaches you saying they were sent to get you” there had to be a code word. If I got a bladder infection I was, first taken to the doctor, the questioned long and hard if anyone had touched me. As sexist as my dad was (preferring the boy over the girl) and at time neglectful (unless we were drinking) and physically abusive or took off for weeks, he was still very much in us knowing the difference and to always feel safe coming to him or mom about if anyone hurts us. I can remember this one time I I was walking home with the patrol and they weren’t watching me. This old man gave me candy. I knew not to take candy from strangers so I showed it to a patrol who ignored me and I thought I just picked it up somewhere (I think I was 6). When I got home and told my parents what happened they were on the phone with the school and made a police report. The police report was made after much debate between them and their friends – it was decided to be made in case this man was stalking children.
When I told my mom at age 11 I was molested by a family member, when I was 3, she did something I NEVER expected – she swore me to secrecy and for almost a week made it seem like it was my fault that this happened to me. She also revealed to me that multiple relatives of hers molested and raped her, her sister, brother, and cousins – one of them being my grandpa. When I was 13 I was raped by my brother’s friend. After how my mom reacted when I was 11 I didn’t feel I could tell anybody that I had to act like nothing happened, which meant hanging out with the guy and trying to have fun. When I distanced myself from him and my brother (I was that tag-a-long little sister) my parents figured I was just at “that age.” When in fact, I missed hanging out with my brother and his other friends, who I called my brothers. But this friend of his , I just couldn’t be around anymore. I was raped again at 21 by a neighbor. The only person I ever told was my best friend. She encouraged me to make a police report but I said I couldn’t because it would ruin my parents’ friendship with him. I was protecting everyone else but myself.
When I finally started to deal with my mental illness PTSD was one of them. I didn’t realize how much it had really affected my life. From age 11 and up I didn’t feel I could turn to my parents. Mom made it seem like it was my fault and I must’ve triggered her. Dad was violent, drunk a lot, tired from working 4 jobs, and would take off for weeks (how he maintained those jobs during those weeks he took off I’ll never know. Maybe he just gave them warning and not us). In fact my brother’s friend, the one who raped me, my mom swore for years I had feelings for him. She even accused me of bringing him home while she was gone with my dad for a weekend. I was so angry and disgusted by that but again I had that fear in me. I didn’t realize how much I distanced myself from my parents, especially my mom. As I’ve stated on her I went through years of being racially harassed and attacked for being mixed race, I never trusted my parents to believe me on that and I felt everything they said meant they didn’t believe me. This is why Gabe was so important to me. I could tell him anything and he was there for me. I never told him what happened to me when I was 3 and 13, but I know he could tell I was holding something back. He tried hard to teach me not to trust men when I’m drunk and to always have a sober friend around to pull me out of jams I might get in because of my drunken ass. I should’ve heeded what he said. I often wonder what would’ve happened had I opened up to him precisely what happened, would he have stood up for me? Would he have said “I believe you”? Would had talked to my parents? Or would he ask “Why now” am I saying anything? I don’t think the latter would’ve happened, I hope not at least. But I know I was always scared somebody would find out and shit would hit the fan.
I had just moved back down to the Cities from up north on a Rez when I had a very emotional session with my therapist about what happened to me at 13. I went to my parents house to get something and my dad could see something was wrong with me. My dad and I have been trying to make amends for years now but he said to me “Honey, if you have something to tell me, tell me. You look pale and dark. I know that look all too well.” It went like that for a week then one day I went over and my mom was outside. She said my dad wanted to talk to me. My dad revealed to me that one of the orphanages he was in was in fact a sex ring for pedophiles. He told me that only I and my mother knew. He also said “I know what it’s like to be scared to tell or ashamed you did something wrong to deserve it.” My dad was in his 50s. I was beyond shocked and felt sick. That meant his mother, him, and I were all victims of sexual abuse, rape, assault, etc… My dad witnessed his mother being raped and beaten (he was in and out of orphanages until he was 13). Who knows what his grandmother went through? You don’t talk about those things in Korea (more on that in a moment). After my dad and I had talked about his childhood, the parts I didn’t already know, (I know A LOT about my dad’s childhood thanks to being his drinking buddy), my mom walked me out to the car. I hadn’t said I thing the entire time I was over there. She opened my car door for me and asked me if I remember what I told her what happened when I was 3 by a relative and how she reacted. This felt like a trap so I just stared ahead. She apologized for how she responded and said she wanted to know what was going on with me. I still didn’t feel I could trust her or my dad with what happened at 3 and 13. Gabe had been deceased for almost a decade so I didn’t have him to talk to. I just had my therapist. I was able to work through what happened to me 21 and what happened to me at 3 was so painful, I would vomit in her office and on my way back home. But I worked through it. 13 right now is the one that is the hardest to process… there’s a reason to it.
My brother’s friend is in prison for molesting a relative who was about the age I was when he raped me. Everyday I feel this sickness inside wondering if I had said something if I could’ve helped her not be in such a dangerous situation. So I live with this guilt. There’s more to this though. My mother has never trusted my brother’s friend and has made it clear he will not be around her granddaughter – the one she is raising, and has warned my brother’s girlfriend about not letting him around their kids once the friend is out. My brother believes his friend is innocent. I know he’s not.
Having worked with my therapist I was finally able to tell my mom what happened, age 3-21. I told her how sick she made me feel when she accused me of having him over or having feelings for him. My mother’s response, my mother who had been a victim herself and had kept what happened to her from her mother for almost 20 years, asked me “Why are you telling me this now?” I told her I knew what would’ve happened – dad would’ve killed him, she would’ve put some blame on me, and my brother would go against me. She said that wasn’t trust. Two sentences later she said “I think I need to tell you brother.” Moments before I had even told my mother what happened I swore her to secrecy. I begged her to not tell my brother but her excuse was “Well, it will make him know _____ can’t be around children. I should tell him.” Although I see her point, I honestly do,, this confirmed to me that I couldn’t trust her. She keeps telling me she’s “still thinking about it.” So honestly, everyday I feel sick and reminded of not only what happened, what happened to his niece, but more guilt of what will happen if I don’t get her the “okay” to tell my brother (which btw she doesn’t need from me. If she wants to tell him she will), but I feel betrayed all over again and like my instincts to not tell were right, We have gone back and forth about how my brother will react – I firmly believe he will not believe me and this will rip my family apart. My dad will find a way to hurt this guy even though he’s in prison and he might get angry that I waited “until now” to say anything.
So I’m in this nightmare. A nightmare that almost all of these men and women came out to tell their stories. And frankly, everyone in Hollywood who knew about these things happening, and did nothing because it wasn’t their problem, should be ashamed of themselves, especially those who say they care about women and women’s rights (this is not a liberal vs conservative issue btw). Actors who still continue to work with Roman Polanski should REALLY be ashamed of themselves and get over this “It’s an honor.” Would it be an honor if it had be their 13 year old daughter raped? I didn’t realize that a couple of my favorite actors worked for him yet champion themselves as caring for children and women. But this right here is another example of what happens when a victim comes forward, even right away – they are put on trial by everyone, the police, investigators, media, and the Polish and French gov’t, (seriously, how can they defend this guy? And why is Hollywood still working with him?) The victim has since begged for things to be dropped so she can stop being traumatized. So is there ever a “good time” for a victim to come forward?
While Korea was occupied/annexed by Japan (which started way before 1910 btw) women were raped almost openly. Women, girls – girls, were coerced or abducted to be military sex slaves. They were sent to rape camps. They were brutalized. They lived in terror. It wasn’t just one, two, or even “just five” men who raped them a day, but tens of them. Many committed suicide. When Japan lost many committed suicide or refused to go home because they were ashamed. The Japanese, in some areas, knew they were losing so they burned places down, systematically killed the women, and tried to put them in mass graves (a grandmother I knew in Korea was actually saved by Kim Il-sung’s gurella fighters from the mass gave). My grandmother, who could not read or write, managed to make it back to her family in a small village. Her family was happy to have her back, she sacrificed herself basically for them. As grateful as they were that she was back and sacrificed for them, they referred to her as “damaged goods” basically (Idk how you would express it in Korean and don’t want to know). She was never going to be able to get married they told her. They were very impoverished so they told her to go to Seoul and be a prostitute – don’t turn down any soldier that’ll pay you money, American or Korean and don’t worry the Japanese are gone. Although, I would say at least, majority of Korea knew what happened these survivors were shamed and still are.
My dad witnessed his mother being beaten and raped. He witnessed her black outs even flashbacks that didn’t make sense to him as a boy. When he reunited with her he demanded to know what was happening to her. Why did she say certain things? Why would she scream in the middle of the night when it would just be the two of them, no “clients” around. My grandmother did not want to tell him but he wouldn’t back down. So she told him all that happened. He didn’t believe her. Not a single word. He left forgiving her and keeping in touch as much as they could (I still have blankets and robes she sent to me) but he did not believe a word she said in regards to what happened to her.
When an organization of Korean women uncovered the history of the “Comfort Women” (the military sex slave to Japan) they begged for any survivors to come forward. One finally did and after that more followed. I don’t know if my grandmother would’ve been one of them because she died as all this happened. When my dad heard about these women though he felt horrible that he didn’t believe his mother. In my view, the “Comfort Women” especially the Korean ones (there are thousands across Asia) are used as political props against Japan. North Korea insults women by calling them “Comfort Women” but are one of the first to shove down Japan’s throat what they did to Korean women. I remember in Korea they were trying to open a museum dedicated to the women and women across the globe who were made into military sex slaves. “Korean martyrs” stopped the groundbreaking of the museum because it was in “martyrs park.” The women were called disgraces and horrible horrible horrible names – yet I know beyond doubt that in an argument over Japanese atrocities they would bring up these brave women and talk positively of them, and the inevitable questions of “then why now” would be asked on why they have come forward.
They’re political props. Tweeden was a comedy prop. Women are props. Props are quiet and usually put back in their places once they are done being used or useful.
“Why now?” should be rephrased to “How?” What has given these men and women the strength to stand up? How are they able to? I couldn’t do it without 2 decades behind me. My dad couldn’t do it with over 5 decades behind him. I wake up in fear thinking I told the wrong person about what happened – how have these women been able to say “Fuck what they say or do, this is my truth, this is what happened to me! I am now in control!”
I’m sure this has jumped all over the place. Forgive me. I’ve been manic and the whole racing thought shit and concentration level, but I hope my point has come across. Asking these victims “Why now?” Is the wrong question and frankly the questions shouldn’t be aimed at them but at the perpetrators. And this she not be a democrat vs republican, liberal vs conservative shit. Clearly sexual assault, abuse, harassment, goes beyond party lines. It goes beyond race. And instead of blaming people we politically disagree with for all these brave men and women coming forward now, let’s work together to protect them, ask the right people the right question, listen to the victims, and hold people accountable regardless of their party alliance.
It’s never easy to talk about sexual abuse that has happened to you. Whether you talk about it right away or you wait 7 decades. It is not easy. So this “Why Now?” bullshit needs to stop. Just because you’re a fan of Kevin Spacey doesn’t mean what he did wasn’t wrong and that his victim wants something. My mom is no longer a Cosby fan. As she has said “he’s a predator.” We need to hold EVERYBODY accountable.
There’s so many reasons “Why now” people are stepping forward. “Why now” doesn’t erase or fix what happened to them. It’s a play into global rape culture.