Then They Laughed

I thought I was prepared.

I thought since I had experienced so much narcissism in my life, that while it wouldn’t be easy, I thought I was prepared.

I’m not prepared.

I’ve been writing about what is happening in our country for a while. I’ve written about despair and terror and exhaustion. I’ve written about hope and resolve. I’ve written post after post about the president and his narcissism.

I’ve had some shaky moments and am pining for those shaky moments.

You know how you have a bad day because the entire country is a tire fire, the president mocks a sexual assault survivor, and the government is attempting to install a sexual predator into the highest court in the land? You think “If I could just get some sleep tonight…just a little, then maybe tomorrow I can get a handle on this.”

Then, you actually get 6 straight hours of sleep which never happens but you think it’s probably due to your entire person just shutting down in self defense.

But you wake up and tears start before you even kick off the covers and move the cat.

Yeah. That.

I’m not surprised the president mocked Dr. Ford.

I’m disgusted by it, but not surprised.

I’m not surprised they are trying to put their partisan, unqualified, lying ass rapist on the Supreme Court.  But what I am surprised by, is by how many women denigrate Dr. Ford and talk about Bart O’Kavanaugh’s passion.

I am stunned by this.

I’m not talking about the deplorables. I voiced my disappointment in how many women were defending Kavanaugh and I had a woman spew some sickening shit. It’s the lying leftists, he is innocent, she couldn’t even remember the date or the month, she’s a liar. 

Fuck that.

I don’t know any adult woman who hasn’t been at least sexually harassed. Most I know have beenwomens resistance assaulted. Many have been raped. Sadly, most women I know have more than one story to tell. And while I haven’t taken a poll, I’d be willing to bet that most women couldn’t give dates for when their assault happened.

I can’t. I can’t give a date or a month. It was warm outside, but cool enough for long pants at night. That’s all I remember about the time of year.

I’m not talking about women who are spitting words they got from Fox News and, well, the president. I’m talking about women who otherwise seemed like completely reasonable people. I’m talking about women who are coherent and who can construct a sentence with appropriate punctuation.

“I just thought she was flaky, you know? I didn’t believe anything she said.”

“He was strong and defending himself. He has a right to defend himself.” 

There were so many, you guys. So many women I saw on Facebook saying variations of those two sentences. I went on my very first Facebook unfriending spree. I can’t with this. I just can’t.

Another woman said something about “Were the women who confronted Jeff Flake on the elevator rude? I don’t know.” And went on to talk about the importance of civility.

Rude?

Really? We’re concerned about rudeness right now?

Those women who confronted Flake on the elevator and demanded he witness their pain just might be solely responsible for Flake insisting on an FBI investigation. Do you think they would have had the same impact if they had quietly asked for a few moments of Flake’s time?

What has being civil gained us? What has being ladylike gained us? What has not making waves gained us?

It is 2018 and victims of sexual assault are still slut shamed. It doesn’t shock me when the old, white, male politicians engage in that behavior, but it stuns me when I see women behaving this way. Okay, it’s not stunning to see women working so hard against themselves, but it is stunning to see how many of them are harboring an inner misogynist.

I don’t understand how they can continue to support a man who has overwhelming evidence against him. The man is a goddamn predator. An entitled, narcissistic, vindictive, unhinged predator.

Women for Kavanaugh is kind of like Kittens for Kill shelters. Other than the kittens don’t have a choice.

I do not feel compelled to “agree to disagree” with these women. If you slut shame your sisters or if you are a rape apologist, then we have nothing to talk about. We have nothing to discuss. And I will work for the rest of my days fighting against this toxic behavior. I do not plan to be polite about it. Civility is for the civilized. Evil humans behaving in evil ways are not civilized.

I also want to put out the gentlest of calls here.

For my sisters who are fighting this behavior, be as gentle as you can with each other.

We’re all finding our way. We are sometimes fragile. Sometimes, we react with frustration. Be as gentle as you can with each other.

Please remember that when talking about sexual assault, a lot of us are in different stages of acceptance or healing.

Tempers are high. I get that. Mine certainly are.

I’m not suggesting that you lower your voice. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be pissed as hell. I’m not saying that being polite is part of this discussion.

I’m just saying that when the dust settles, no matter what happens, we have to find a way to keep living with each other.

I have no idea how that is going to work out.

About the title, ‘And then they laughed’.

Dr. Ford talked about how one of her most painful memories of the night she was assaulted, was how her assailants laughed at her.

Then days later, at one of his masturbatory rallies, the president mocked Dr. Ford. The sycophants behind him laughed.

He knew what reaction he would get.

He is transparent, not sophisticated, and he’s stupid. Something he is good at, is finding the best way to kick someone when they are down. This is a skill malignant narcissists hone and practice their entire lives.

She spoke of her profound pain and he put her through it again. In front of the world.

Just over a month and we can try to turn all of this around.

Voters have been purged from voter rolls by the score. Please take a moment and make sure you are registered to vote.

It only takes a moment.  Encourage your family and friends to do the same. We need people at the polls next month. Literal lives depend upon it.

Please vote.

When this gets posted tomorrow morning, we still won’t know if Kavanaugh will be confirmed or not. I hope I am wrong, but I think he will be.

That just means we fight harder.

 

Photo courtesy of bones64.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Liz says:

    I had a Facebook argument with 2 men yesterday who took umbrage at my use of the word deplorable. They said it wasn’t ‘very nice’ to label an entire group of people. You know what? I too am sick of being nice, polite and reasonable. I also pointed out that at his ‘masturbatory’ ( love that term!) rally in Mississippi that it was ‘interesting ‘ that in a state that has a 37% African American population there wasn’t one person of color ( that I could see) in the mob err.. crowd. This asshole has the entire country in a turmoil and my stomach is in a constant knot. So I’m right there with you. How’s the kitchen coming?

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I am right there with you. His supporters are deplorable. Period. At this point there is no doubt what he is about. Anyone who can still support him is broken.

      The kitchen is getting there! I have to paint the cabinets and lay the tile in the floor and then I’m done. I can’t wait! Probably by Thanksgiving. That’s what I am hoping. I’m working on some other rooms now.

      Reply
  2. Barbara says:

    Right there with you.
    I have no other words.
    Thank you for writing what so many are feeling!
    Sending love,
    B

    Reply
  3. Emily says:

    As I exploded, a long-time friend said to me, “I am eating Cheerios at the same table as when I ate them as a small child”. The table had outlasted other things and would outlast this. Somehow, that comforted me.

    Yes, he’ll be confirmed. There was really never any question; they didn’t even bother with the usual scrutiny. He could murder somebody and still be confirmed. Republicans are now dead to me.

    His tantrum during the hearing should have rendered him unfit to serve, never mind Ford!

    But there will be a time after this, and the chickens will come home to roost.

    So do your best to ignore it. Sit back and observe. This is another country-dividing topic, and it’s the dividing that is the most seriously dangerous. Try really hard to stay off a team. I am barely managing.

    Sexual assault, from the mildest thru rape, is part of every woman’s experience.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I actually understand how that is comforting. I do a similar thing…I play with my kitties and think, they don’t care at all about the supreme court. They need us no matter what.

      Reply
  4. Elaine says:

    Always, always thanking you for putting words to my thoughts and feelings. Yes, I also believe we need to be gentle with our sisters. Thanks Michelle.

    Reply
  5. Mary K says:

    My mother is 80 years old. For the first time in my life, I heard her #metoo story. She was a young teenager (13 or 14 – she doesn’t remember). She was home alone, a rare occurrence with eight siblings (she doesn’t remember why everyone was gone). What she *does* remember: It was summer. She was standing at the kitchen stove with her back to the door, dyeing a hand-me-down bathing suit, stirring the dye with a sawed off broom handle. She heard a noise and turned to find a young man (older than her) she knew slightly standing behind her unzipping his pants and pulling his penis out while he walked toward her. Her first thought, “I am here by myself.” Luckily her second thought was to hit him with the broom handle until he left. I asked her how many times she was able to hit him and she said she “got in a couple of good whacks.” She did tell her parents (but no one else). They (at least her mother) believed her. Apparently her father told a neighbor (a dirty old man I’d heard stories of before) who waited until he knew her parents were gone and came over to interrogate her and get all the salacious details.
    My mother told this to one of her “friends” who is a Trumpist and Kavanaugh apologist. Her reply, “Well, was it bad enough that you wouldn’t want to be in the same room with him now?”
    My mother’s reply, “Hell no I wouldn’t want to be in the room with him now,” — 67 years later.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Wow. I am sure my 78 year old mother has a story or two. I would listen if she needed me to, but it would be so hard..so very hard to hear. I’ve been my mother’s protector my entire life (fucked up on its own) so her pain is very hard for me to take.

      Reply
    • Cecilia says:

      So glad she gave him a couple a good whacks. I was able to run away from a pedophile when I was around 7 before he could do anything too traumatic. Not all of us are so lucky.

      Reply
      • Michelle says:

        OMG I had the SAME experience at around the same age. It was a teenage boy who told me he wanted to show me some baby birds. I was SEVEN and I wanted to see baby birds. He lured me into a shed and told me to take my dress off. A classmate saw me walk in the shed and he started calling for me. I ran out to him and he said “Stay away from him. He’s a bad kid” I shudder to think what could have happened if that boy hadn’t been around to call out to me.

        Reply
  6. I know I should expect the worst out of the President, but I was really expecting to hear that he’d been making fun of Dr. Ford in private – you know, an unnamed source says THIS, and then the White House denies it…

    Doing it at a rally was… Well, nothing should surprise me, especially with his track record when it comes to women.

    Reply
  7. Janey says:

    As a country we are in a very dangerous place when partisanship governs our thoughts and actions, not ethical behavior or common decency, and there is no concern for the country or their oath of office. We truly have become Machiavellian as a nation with no concern for how we win, we just must win at all cost. It makes it hard to breathe, it makes me want to weep, it makes me want to scream.

    I’ve had the unfortunate experience to have to speak up and confront an abuser in a public forum and it is terrifying; and I did not have to do it in front of the world or listen to the president mock me! If the Republicans had any decency, or respect for the highest court in the land, or the American people, there would have been no rush to confirmation. Despite what they may have personally believed, they would have been the ones insisting on a complete and thorough FBI investigation. But instead they have actively worked to win – diverting attention and casting Democrats as the enemy, Democrats as the real evil because they dare to question Kavanaugh’s possible past actions and behavior and testimony under oath. Because they want to make sure this man deserves to be elevated to a position of enormous power – for a lifetime! How dare the Dems and the majority of our country want a complete vetting of this man! But then, look what they are willing to overlook when it comes to our president. Heavy sigh. I have given up social media becomes it makes me too angry, and it makes me too sad. I’d like to say I am hopeful that people will start using their brains instead of their emotions or party affiliation to try to move our country forward, but there is no evidence that will happen anytime soon. We truly have become tribal in the most horrific sense of the word. Sadder still, my political-junky teen daughter recently commented, “I never thought I would see democracy end in my lifetime….” I fear she may be right.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Sister, I am afraid of that as well. I said something to that affect to my 78 year old mother who never raises her voice and is the sweetest woman I know. She yelled at me..she said “ENOUGH of that. Enough. I don’t care what happens, we’re fighting. We’re fighting until we’re done.” And then I felt better. I love my mom. She’s awesome.

      Reply
      • Janey says:

        Your mom is my new hero! Yes, we will continue to fight, and I do believe in time we will prevail. I just fear for those that will be the casualties along the way.

        Reply
        • Michelle says:

          Oh, there will be casualties. I fear for them as well. I fear for all of us. I just hope we prevail before I shuffle off my mortal coil. And before my mom dies. I want her to see that life can be good again. She deserves this. We all do.

          Reply
  8. Cecilia says:

    I blocked a Facebook “friend” when she defended Bart on my timeline. I’ve known her since junior high school. To be honest, she was a half-assed kind of friend and not a very good person so no great loss. I have no patience with these idiots making excuses for abusers.

    Reply
  9. Melinda says:

    Merriam-Webster word of the day recently:
    weltschmerz (VELT-shmairts)
    noun, often capitalized
    Definition:
    1 – mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state
    2 – a mood of sentimental sadness

    Do they have a pill for that? Cause I’m a sufferer, and I hear you.

    Reply
  10. Not that long ago I would have been shocked and surprised that a politician would mock a rape victim. It’s telling that now the only thing that surprises me is that it didn’t happen sooner.
    What doesn’t surprise me, though, is the growing chorus of men who say they’re afraid of being accused. Some of them are the same guys who victim-blame women who’ve bee raped but don’t report it by saying, “If they didn’t do anything wrong why won’t they come forward?”
    And I ask those same guys, if you haven’t done anything wrong, why are you afraid of being accused?

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Oh fuck that so much. If a man is wrongly accused then TRUTH is on his side and that matters. I work with someone who was fearing for her son. She has two daughters. It frustrates me that she doesn’t understand how much more peril her daughters are in every fucking day.

      Reply
  11. Stan says:

    I’m an older male. As I read all of this about Kavanaugh (and many others) I find myself thinking back to my early days and ask myself, “Did I ever do anything like that?”

    I did not. Not even close. However it became instilled in me I understood clearly that no means no.

    I wonder if other males ask themselves the same question, and what their answers are. Maybe you could do a poll?

    Thanks, Stan

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I could, but I think most men who have sexually assaulted a woman won’t admit it. I know a lot of men my age behaved inappropriately. It wasn’t right, but what happened, happened. But attempted rape? I think that was probably waaaaay over the line for a lot of men, even those my age.

      Reply
  12. MC says:

    This is a truly great piece. Thank you.
    hugs.
    The saddest part of it all is that every single woman has a story: being crowded, ignored, insulted, harrassed, assaulted, raped. And most men are just so incapable of understanding this fear, this relentless vigilantism we must have every single moment of interaction.
    I think it is Jon Katz, I believe, a professor and speaker about gender and equality – he draws a line down the middle of the board and on one side is what men do to protect themselves from assault and rape. Usually he gets one answer. The other side is for women it is filled to the bottom.
    I may have the name wrong but it is around on Facebook and other sources.
    Hugs.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I HAVE seen that. It just makes me tired that so many men don’t even try to understand how dangerous it is to be a woman. And I’m furious with women who excuse men’s behavior.

      Reply
  13. Liv says:

    I am horrified. And triggered. And some days I just want to turn my computer off and sit at the bottom of my closet eating ice cream.

    Reply
  14. Michelle, Its beyond frustrating and I fully expect him to be sworn in. We see how powerful the patriarchy is at times like this. And you’re right, the women (otherwise sane women) who defend him and belittle her are the most disturbing of all.

    Reply
  15. Doug in Oakland says:

    Yes, what MC said. I was trying to think of how I was gonna work that into my comment, and now I don’t have to.
    Mail in ballots come out here on Monday.
    I put a link to this woman’s thread on Twitter in an earlier comment here, and since then Vox has asked her to write it up in an article. I don’t call attention to it because of some gender-defensive “not all men” bullshit, but because, as she says, sexual assault is not normal, and we shouldn’t let these despicable fucks normalize it more than it already is, because that is how they get away with it.
    https://www.vox.com/first-person/2018/10/4/17933530/sexual-assault-me-too
    And as for Rapey McRaperson, his perjury should disqualify him, even before we get to the issue of his behavior with women.
    And his threats of partisan revenge. No other supreme court nominee would be confirmed after threatening the partisan revenge he did, under oath, to the senate, on national television.
    But Fergus wants his justice who will vote against a sitting president being troubled by pesky indictments all the more now that it has come out how many laws he broke while inheriting his daddy’s money, and gee, with all of this SCOTUS coverage, I haven’t heard much about Manafort or Cohen lately…
    And lastly, what Blue Gal said on last week’s Professional Left podcast: Women didn’t pick this fight, but now they have no other choice than to win it.
    That “gender gap” in the polling I keep reading about? Fergus’ latest verbal malfunction atrocity will hopefully drive it open wide enough to swallow the GOP whole as a governing party, because this shit won’t stop as long as they have any access to power.
    I would hope that the very reasonable folks who decry partisan bickering could understand that both sides don’t do this bullshit, and that the push to make it seem like they do has a name: gaslighting.

    Reply
  16. Dara says:

    Thank you! Once again you’ve said what all DECENT human beings are thinking,but maybe, like me, have a hard time putting into words. Is every evened year November going to be this stressful from now on?

    Reply
  17. Onlyme says:

    I think he will be confirmed too, which is a sickening indictment of our politicians, who care more about party than country.
    We taped the Kavanaugh side show, er, I mean, hearing. We watched it again last night. Painful as that was, it was worth it. Watching again, you see things you didn’t the first time around. Like his body language. Like the defensive, almost hostile look that came across his face every time it was a Democratic Senator’s turn to question him. Like his constant water sipping. (What was that all about? A little nervous are we?) Like the sardonic smirk whenever he danced around the questions about why he didn’t want to let the FBI have a go at him.
    Even if the Christine Blasey-Ford assault had never happened, the recent hearings to confirm Kavanaugh gave us a real look at the man our disgusting President has named as his choice for Supreme Court Justice – a man who, like himself, lies with impunity; a man who is angered at the very notion that his credibility is under scrutiny, who is openly partisan, and who feels himself entitled to the point of hostility towards any and all who dare think he is not the right person for this extremely important position. We see the man now, the person he has always been. He was a sloppy drunk in his youth. OK. Maybe he’s no longer a sloppy drunk. We see a man who in his immaturity had little or no respect for women. Not OK, but maybe he’s changed. Maybe he grew up and out of all that. But we also see a man who is lying, clearly, about things he instead should be apologizing for. How can we trust this man to be fair-minded on anything? What if a sexual assault case actually made it to the Supreme Court? How can we expect he would rule fairly? What if it was a case about frat-boy drinking parties? There are so many ways putting this man on the Supreme Court will be wrong, so wrong. He has shown his true colors, and there is nothing pretty about them.

    Reply
  18. Laurita says:

    Can we revolt now please? Down with the patriarchy! We need organizers. You and Jen Mann should be in charge.

    Reply
  19. It is so fucking hard to exist right now. I want the screaming to stop. I want the orange monster to go away and never come back. It is an actual living nightmare.

    Reply
  20. Shani says:

    Well said!
    And it’s fucking exhausting. I am constantly triggered by this current state of government and it’s officials. This is not normal.
    I’m not going to lie. I am tired of people. I am tired of waiting for someone in charge to do the right thing. I can’t believe just how wrong things are. And how many wrong people are running this country. And I am tired of those who think everything is just hunky dory and want more of this shit because they don’t care about anyone or anything that isn’t then.
    I didn’t expect this. Not in my lifetime. We’re supposed to be beyond so much of this. And things are so much worse in so many ways.
    I will vote. I always have and always will. And I won’t throw away my vote.
    And I hope and pray that enough people will do what’s right so something, something can change.

    Reply
  21. Lisa K says:

    I am so out of words. How come I am not out of emotions?
    *holds Michelle’s hand*
    I’ll bring extra spoons for the ice cream….

    Reply