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Election Reaction: Trumping Trump

Author:
trump_farage

Content Note: Rape, sexual violence, racism

It’s hard for us to have words for what’s happened in the US election. We’ve felt shocked, lost and broken, but we’re ready to fight. Here are some reactions to Trump’s win from the young women who write for us:

Amy, UK –

I was all set for election night to be one of my most positive university experiences. My university has an unusually high proportion of American students, and everyone at the election night party (with ‘democrafted’ decorations and balloons to pop as each state announced their results) was initially in very positive spirits. Obviously, this didn’t last. Being in the room with so many Americans who were disappointed, angry, even afraid as the results rolled in, made the reality of what this election result means hit even closer to home. Yet their engagement, passion and anger was infectious and inspiring. They are not taking this lying down. We should not take this lying down. By uniting and engaging against the fear mongering and hate fuelled environment likely to be perpetuated by the election result, we can feel less helpless and hopefully make a positive change.

Anna, UK –

Donald Trump is a racist rapist. He will not take responsibility for his actions and and now there is no court high enough that will bring about justice for his actions. This is an incredibly upsetting and triggering situation to have to come to terms with and I really hope that survivors of all kinds of violence, but especially sexual violence, are able to take care of themselves and each other. The only way I can really accept this is if I totally commit to my own survival and the survival of other survivors – nurturing and polishing my rage and self and taking direct and potentially violent action against Trump, but also against all men who violate people – all abusers and rapists. I refuse to let Trump’s election crush me, or you. We will rise.

Evangeline, US –

Coping with the election results has been difficult. It has been a process of self-care to recover from the literal shock of the results. As I am currently studying abroad, it has especially been a struggle to stomach the results so far from home; however, I have found solidarity with other Americans studying abroad with me and locals just as impacted by the results, showing what a truly global influence these results have. Above all, what makes me most heartbroken about the results is the hate — both through words and actions — and the fear, the feelings of unsafety that such hate produces. All I can fairly say at this point is that, no matter who is in office, at what speed, and in what way, I hope we can positively move forward.

 

Christiana, US –

Despite having a week to process this election it’s still hard. I woke up Wednesday and it took an hour to fully hit me, but when it did I couldn’t stop crying. I cried as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I cried as a woman, I cried as an aspiring ally to people of color and people of differing abilities. I cried for the numerous victims that had come forward and been completely ignored. I cried for our country. I still haven’t fully processed how to put all these emotions into words. I stood before my Introduction to Women’s Studies class speechless, trying to explain to them that despite it all we’d keep moving, that it would be okay. Yet student after student was still just in disbelief, shock, and fear. I want to believe everything will be okay, but I’m genuinely scared. I’m scared of the hate crimes that ensued after the election, I’m scared that my friends will be hurt, I’m scared for my personal safety when I’m out with my girlfriend will be at risk. I’m also angry. Angry, that I’m surrounded by people who voted for him, but still tell me that I’m important to them, angry at people who have wives and children and women in their lives that supposedly matter to them, angry at people who claim they’re not racist, but believe that supporting a racist candidate is okay. Mostly, I’m angry that the work I’ve dedicated my life to—sexual violence prevention is jeopardized. How do I look at victims and tell them that justice is possible, when our country’s highest elected official has been convicted of sexual assault multiple times and never served a day in jail?

The one bright light I have seen in all of this is the organizing. I’ve seen groups on college campuses and in the community coming together. Groups that have never interacted before. Intersectional feminism is happening right now! As Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Rights Groups, Feminist Groups, LGBTQ+ groups, etc. continue to merge it is creating a ripple effect and a roar so loud that even the White House will shake and we will move forward, but most importantly We. Will. Not. Go. Away!

Dear Young Women

Author:
26444459825_43607e1271_z

By Beatrix*, Guest Blogger

Dear Young Women – we aren’t welcome in Politics. That’s why there needs to be more of us.

I’ve a bit of a reputation for being positive. Relentlessly so. I can be a bit of a whirlwind; pitching up to events, finding the funny and re-enthusing tired activists. People think it’s a skill, and in part it is. But it’s also a way of coping with the fact I live and breathe a world where women – and especially young women – are not welcome.

I could recount the instances of sexism and ageism I’ve experienced in my 10 months working in Politics; the male colleague who flirted with all the subtlety of a brick, asked me out and when I said no ignored me for the best part of a week. The other male colleague who took such delight that I couldn’t translate a piece of legislation that he felt the need to tell the office next door. And the next one after that. And then bring it up at the group meeting later that day. Then there was the time an older woman sent a personal attack via email to an entire committee because she didn’t like that someone ‘in their twenties’ was in charge of social media. The male boss who told me to smile no less than 12 times in one day.

The list goes on. It’s relentless and it’s exhausting but Politics for many young women is a catch 22. The more you want to leave, the more you realise it’s so important to stay. The less you feel welcome, the harder you have to fight to make your voice heard.

There are beacons of light. There are incredible and strong women who have experienced all of this and more yet still stand for selections, elections and for their beliefs. It’s stopped being scandalous to hear of the women who are elected receiving rape and death threats now; it’s expected. Unfortunate perhaps, but not a surprise. Yet these powerful women stand strong and fight for what they believe in – sometimes – nay often – at the expense of their own wellbeing.

I wish I could make this blog inspiring. I wish I’d overcome a challenge that meant I could put out an authentic call for more young women to become involved in Politics, but I can’t do that in good faith. What I can do is leave you with three nuggets of wisdom for those who do:

  1. Stick together. Have each other’s backs.
  2. Know that what you are doing is really fucking important
  3. Speak up. I know it isn’t easy, but if we all chip away at this giant, ugly, macho wall then we can and we bloody well will knock it down.

*This name is a pseudonym

Louise O’Neill Discusses “Asking For It”

Author:
louise

By Sophia Simon-Bashall

CN: Discussion of r*pe culture and victim blaming

In the summer, I was lucky enough to hear the Irish author Louise O’Neill talk about her ground-breaking novel, Asking For It, at my local bookshop. It was an incredible evening, and Louise made some very poignant points. I feel it would be selfish of me not to share some of them…

Louise on DARKNESS IN YA:

“There’s always a big debate on whether or not my books are YA. I’ve been told that they’re too dark and bleak for YA. I mean, have these people ever been teenagers? When I was 16, I genuinely thought that Sylvia Plath was the only person who understood me.”

Louise on TELLING THE TRUTH IN FICTION:

“I set out to write the truth, to be authentic, and if that makes people uncomfortable, maybe that’s a good thing. I can understand discomfort when reading about rape, you SHOULD be uncomfortable with it. It was especially important to me in writing Asking For It because there is such a culture of shame that silences victims. It’s ‘what were you doing?’, ‘what were you wearing?’, ‘how much did you have to drink?’, ‘why did you go back to his house?’. You just hear ‘your fault’, ‘your fault’, ‘your fault’, ‘your fault’. Victims are being made to feel ashamed, but that’s wrong. It’s the rapists, they’re the ones who should feel ashamed.”

Louise on THE RECEPTION OF CHARACTERS:

“It’s interesting to me that Emma (Asking For It protagonist) is described as ‘unlikable’, because who says she has to be likable? That was never my goal. Male characters are never treated in the same way – the male antihero is well established in literature, but with women it’s shocking. People are shocked by women who are not ‘nice’. But female characters need to be compelling, not necessarily ‘likable’.”

Louise on ENDINGS (*spoiler alert!*):

“I definitely resist neat endings, I don’t like them and I don’t write them because they don’t feel real, they are not true to life.

Of course I wanted Emma to take the case further, but it doesn’t matter what I wanted her to do. It’s about what she would do. Also, my research showed that conviction rates with these cases are very low, especially in Ireland. I wanted the book to reflect the reality in which she lived. That’s why it ends the way it does.”

(you can pick up Asking For It here)

other people feel this too

Author:
5935199446_f6a838a017_z

By Bex Dudley

I have been living in London for just over a week, now.

It has been a busy one. Perhaps busy is an understatement. In the last week alone, there has been tea, introductions, lots of walking, registration, induction, welcome events, a ghost bus tour, more introductions, library visits, ice skating, exploring London, a study tour, more introductions, more walking, the Tate Modern, charity fundraising, Freshers Fair, a rugby taster session, more introductions… I do not think that is even nearly comprehensive. It has been busier than busy, the type of week where you reach the end of each day and think back over it, then think that could not really have been this morning!

Freshers week, or at least, Freshers week as I have experienced it, has been a weird one. Full of people and socialising, above anything else- meeting people, chatting, the same conversations over and over as you try to navigate what seems to be a whole city of new people. What’s your name? Are you an undergrad? First year? What course? Halls? Which ones? Where are you from? It has also been full of a lot of happiness and laughter. There have been some fantastic things- ice skating, a Bake Off party, making dinner with my flatmate, chatting and laughing with new people who just seem to click. It’s been a great week, and I know that. However, there have been some darker moments too, and I think that’s what makes it so weird, because those times seem so at odds with the rest of it. There have been times- particularly the evenings/nights- when everything else seems to dissipate, leaving a wonderful mixture of sadness and exhaustion and loneliness and anxiety. I have spent so much time wondering whether I will ever really feel comfortable here, whether I have really made the right choice, whether the people I am missing could ever possibly miss me half as much as I miss them, whether it is worse when the people I am missing are sad (and I can’t hold them) or when they’re happy (and I can’t celebrate with them), whether this city will ever feel anything like home, whether I will ever stop feeling so tired, whether it is just me feeling this way.

It is because of this last one, I think, that I am so resolute in writing this blog post. Experience with mental health has proven to me, time and time again, that other people feel this too. So, although social media is full of happy smiling faces, I am guessing, there are other people feeling a lot like me, asking the same questions, curled up on their respective uni beds, feeling that odd sense of loneliness when one is surrounded by hundreds of people. To all those people, this is me saying, I am here. I am feeling this. And actually, I think this is ‘normal’. I think we are, probably, the majority- no matter what social media seems to be implying. And, I think, eventually we will be okay. We just need to make it through this bit, utilising whatever support and strength we have, focusing on the out breaths.

I think, too, it is important to say that Freshers is not a one size fits all experience. I have not been out clubbing once this week. I like it enough- but I do not always deal well with crowded spaces and dark lights and alcohol/hangovers and people I don’t know, and I need to be settled somewhere, and with people I know very well, in order to enjoy it. I have been feeling the pressure to go clubbing, because that has seemed to be the ‘point’ of Freshers. However, I have also been self-aware, and realised that clubbing really isn’t what I need right now. Maybe I am ‘missing out’, maybe I’m not getting the ‘true Freshers experience’. I’m not so sure though. I know I’ve had a great week, even if it hasn’t involved drinking and dancing every night. I’ve quite definitely had a better week than I would have had had I forced myself to do something I really don’t feel comfortable doing. This is another reach out, to anyone in a similar position, to say it’s okay. We’re okay. We’re making this work for us, and that’s more than okay, that’s beautiful, because we are beautiful.

I think, what I am trying to say, most of all, is that is has been a very brilliant week- but that there have been wobbly times too. And that is okay. You belong here, and everything you feel is okay.

This blog was originally published on Bex’s personal blog here: https://itsbexnotrebecca.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/other-people-feel-this-too/

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