A Survivor’s Perspective: Time to Hold Both Candidates Accountable

Posted: Oct 12, 2016 12:01 AM
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A Survivor’s Perspective: Time to Hold Both Candidates Accountable

It’s time the media did its job and did a thorough investigation into the second major candidate in the race. It has circled the wagons around Donald Trump looking for answers on his crude remarks and now it is time that they ask Secretary Clinton a few questions as well. It’s only fair. 

The media spiral surrounding Trump's comments was justified. His comments were disgusting. As a survivor of sexual assault and as a woman it makes me cringe every time I hear men (and women) talk like that. It makes you feel dirty—an unclean feeling that will not be washed away by hours of soaking in the shower. For those people who have claimed to never hear that kind of talk I admire you, but I cannot say the same for myself. It happens on a regular basis and in front of women--not just behind the closed doors of a "locker room" or all-male establishment. 

What is also gross is watching a woman celebrate successfully defending a rapist and allowing a dangerous criminal to go free after a year in jail. That is equally as disturbing.  

Like Kathy Shelton, I too am a survivor of childhood sexual assault. But unlike Shelton, I was able to go to court and put my attacker behind bars, stopping a serial criminal from acting again. Clinton, on the other hand, enabled Thomas Taylor to go free after a year behind bars and accused a 12-year old girl—let me say this again, a 12-year old girl—of being crazy and a liar, sending her to psychiatric evaluation. Shelton describes this experience by saying, “It got so bad that I told my mom I wasn’t going back, and whatever happened, happened…It’s sad that a 12-year old girl had to go through what I had to go through, because for days I cried and cried and cried over it.”  In the end, even Clinton admitted that the psychiatric evaluation wasn’t necessary for the case. So why put a child through that? 

If this were a Republican’s actions, Planned Parenthood, NOW, and yes, even Hillary Clinton, would be screaming about this story from the rooftops. Instead, because it detracts from her narrative of helping women and children, Clinton and her allies are silent. Some are even worse than silent, attacking the women who spoke out on Sunday as "tramps" and on their looks. 

Kathy Shelton has lived with this injustice her whole life: the injustice of not having justice in Court, the injustice of being called crazy and sent to an unnecessary psychiatric evaluation, and the injustice of the very assault itself and its damaging effects physically and psychologically.  

Those making the argument that Bill Clinton’s name isn’t on the ballot are correct: he’s not. His wife is. And looking at her record of enabling disgusting behavior—whether with her husband or others—it seems to be a running trend. Americans deserve answers to this, not silence. If we are going to dredge up sexual assault every presidential election, it is important that we actually name all factors involved and have an actual conversation about why it is wrong. Survivors of sexual assault deserve an actual conversation about their story and the real effects it has on women and men alike. Living with a memory like this and turning on the TV to watch anything during a presidential year is painful and the use and abuse of victims to press a media narrative is wrong.  

There are big things at stake in this election. The Supreme Court is at stake, the security and prosperity of the nation is at stake, with Russia at Poland’s border with nuclear missiles the security of Europe is at stake, and millions of unborn lives are at stake. 

It’s time we hold both candidates accountable and continue the conversation on the other important issues affecting our nation and our world.