Survivors: December 7, 2017

Dear Mr. VP,

Earlier this week, driving home, I was listening to NPR. The station broadcast a short piece by Hartford Courant writer Susan Campbell, which is based on this article that appeared late last month. Campbell was sexually abused by her step-father for six years. When, as an adult, she confronted her step-father and her mother, she was dismissed as a liar.

So yes: #MeToo. So many of us are the sad recipients of the business end of the patriarchy, victims of a continuum of crimes that run from harassment to violent assault and back again.

But I want to talk specifically about what happens when sex is forced upon you as a child. Roy Moore, Alabama’s Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has multiple women accusing him of forcing himself upon them when they were teenagers. They came forward after decades of pain.

 

As Moore allegedly told one of his victims, she was a child. No one would believe her.

Maybe they’ll believe now. We are in a golden hour to talk about why these sexual abuse of children is so routine, and why when those crimes come to light, people who should know better attack the victims.

“Maybe they’ll believe now.”

I hope so, but I am not encouraged. Trump and the GOP have set precedent: we don’t believe survivors of childhood abuse. When our children see, or grow up to learn, that our nation’s president endorsed a man accused of assault and pedophilia by multiple women, do you think they’ll be likely to speak out about their own experiences? Or remain close-lipped, fearful their stories will be questioned?

Meanwhile, I’ve been interested in your reaction, or rather your non-reaction, to this scandal. In the immediate aftermath, you said this, via your press secretary:

“The vice president found the allegations in the story disturbing and believes, if true, this would disqualify anyone from serving in office,” Pence press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement to CBS News.

Everyone knows these allegations are true. The evidence is stacked sky high.

But despite that, the President chose to endorse this man (“go get ’em, Roy!”) and the RNC restored funding and support to his campaign.

Meanwhile, since your November statement, you haven’t really said much. Twitter is full of taxes, taxes, Israel, taxes, and your cat, Pickle, died today. (My condolences.) I can’t find anything indicating you’ve verbally endorsed Moore, or noted folks should vote for him. Neither, of course, have I found anything in which you have criticized Trump or the RNC for being morally bankrupt scum. Your silence is consent.

And you, as President of the Senate, will swear Roy Moore into the Senate should he win.

There will be a picture (pictures, multiple) of you swearing a known pedophile, someone who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl, into office. I’m sure that’s one you’ll proudly display on the mantel at the Naval Observatory. Maybe on your bedside table, for good measure.

Before the ceremony, please take the time to read the full text of Susan Campbell’s article. Or any other number of narratives written by survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I’d like you to have their words fresh in your mind while you hold a Bible — a book you supposedly hold reverently in your heart — and ask Roy Moore to solemnly swear to defend the Constitution against all enemies.

Here’s a promise: if you do, indeed, swear Roy Moore into the Senate, I am going to mark the day in my calendar. Every year, I am going to print out a copy of the photo and mail it to you with an anniversary card. “It’s been a year since you swore a child molester into the Senate. Happy Anniversary!”

D

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