Finally, an answer to what’s bugging her

Published 1:47 am Wednesday, October 12, 2016

This is perhaps one of the most difficult columns I’ve ever written. That’s how I feel as I sit at this keyboard.
For a while I’ve wanted to say something, but I felt anxiety and fear at the thought of opening up about a chapter in my life I’d like to keep closed. In fact, I almost decided to keep silent, not expose myself to the comments and backlash that are sure to come from what I’m about to say.
This morning, I asked, prayed, begged for guidance, something to show me the way, and it came from popular evangelist Beth Moore. In an article, Moore said:
“I’m among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it.
“Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don’t think it’s a big deal.”
These words from a woman who admits she stays away from politics, but could not stay silent about what is going on right now. I know how she feels.
For months, I’ve listened to Donald Trump and felt myself more and more distressed. That distress went beyond not agreeing with his stance on the issues. It felt deeper, more personal. After more of his comments about women started surfacing, that distress grew.
“Why is this hitting me so hard?” I asked myself.
The answer came when I read about how Trump is triggering emotions in domestic violence survivors. How in him they recognize a pattern of behavior they know all too well.
It felt like a kick in the gut when I read those words and realized that was the reason I felt such concern over his candidacy. I recognize the pattern too.
Then I heard the tape where Trump talks about women, about how he feels it is his right to force his attentions on them. Sara Groves, a Christian artist nominated for a Dove Award, voiced perfectly how I felt.
“When I first heard the tape, I was shocked, and a bit surprised how deeply it hit me,” she said. “I immediately thought of my own experiences, and of friends who have experienced much worse.”
Yes, Trump’s words, his attitude brought back my own experiences with a man who thought physical violence and emotional abuse was acceptable behavior in a relationship. Even as I type those words, a wave of fear rolls over me and my mind whispers.
“What if he reads this? It will make him mad. He’s going to deny it like hedid all those years ago. Maybe I shouldn’t tell anyone about this.”
That is how deep the scars go. It’s been more than 30 years and I’m still worried and afraid of someone my reasoning mind tells me is not threat.
I know many of you say Donald Trump’s words don’t matter. They were just locker room talk. You are wrong.
For more than 10 years, I was involved with a domestic violence program. During that time, I heard so many women’s stories that were like mine and some that were much worse.
One thing surprised me — how much alike the abusers were, how even some of the things they said were similar. I used to say they had a playbook they followed.
Donald Trump has that same playbook and those of us who lived with the type personality he displays understand it is dangerous. It is not the type personality I want as the face of America in the world.
To those, especially women, who are supporting his candidacy, I’d like you to consider some different scenarios and tell me if you are still fine with this man.
Imagine for a moment Hillary Clinton is not the person running against him. What if it was Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders? Would you still be adamantly supporting Trump after hearing that video tape?
Let’s imagine it surfaced during the Republican primaries when Trump’s opponents were Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson and Jeb Bush. Would your reaction be different? Would his awful comments about women still be acceptable?
As I said, this was a hard column for me to write, but perhaps putting this in writing will prove healing for me. I’ll close with something Katelyn Beaty, former managing editor of Christianity Today, said. She speaks for me and
so many more women.
“.. .my hope is that more Christian men will stand up for their friends, wives, daughters, coworkers, and siblings in Christ and refuse to align themselves with a leader who is and will continue to be bad news for half the human population.”

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.