It’s convenient, they say, that it’s only coming out now. Just weeks before the election. She’s doing it for attention. To disrupt the campaign. Because she was paid by the opposition.
If she had spoken out when it happened, would you have believed her then? She would have been put under a microscope. What was she wearing? Was she flirting? Who else has she had sex with? Where does she meet men? Was she drinking? Would you have believed her then?
“It’s a lie. She’s not pretty enough for me,” he would have sneered. He’s right, they would have said, he’s incredibly wealthy and has important friends. He’s always surrounded by beautiful women, why would he want her? Look at how plain she is. He would never stoop so low. Would you have believed her then?
“It won’t do any good,” she might have said, “men seldom are held accountable for these things.” There was a boy at Stanford. He wasn’t rich. He didn’t have important friends. He was nobody. He was caught in the very act of rape. He spent less than a summer vacation in jail. Who would hold a wealthy man with political connections responsible? Who would have believed her then?
“I don’t have the energy to fight, I just want to forget it ever happened,” she could have said. She would have tried to bury the memory. To wipe away the feel of his hands and his mouth on her body. To expunge the scent of his cologne from her nose. To erase the sound of his voice. She would have wanted to eliminate every detail of that day.
If she never told anybody about it, never said it aloud, it could almost be like it never happened. She could try to go back to her life. To be happy and carefree. To not cringe if a man stood too near her. To not panic if a man walked behind her for more than a block. To not flinch at the accidental touch of a stranger in a crowded space. She might have forgotten it all.
Until she saw her monster on television, vying to be President of the United States. Until she felt compelled to try to stop this monster from becoming one of the most powerful men in the free world. Knowing she would be criticized, and picked apart, and hated, and ridiculed, and blamed, and shredded, and shamed. Knowing all of this, she would need to stand up. And she would feel emboldened when she saw others, like herself, telling their stories. And she would finally find the courage to speak her truth
Would you believe her now?