Dear Mr. Trump,
I would like to personally thank you. By being the person you are, you have shined a light on the darkest corners of our nation. You have brought to the forefront some of our deepest secrets and concerns, and given them a platform for discussion.
Racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, uninformed perspectives on mental illness; the list goes on and on. Of course, much of those issues have been brought to light in past elections and certainly a few have been tragically highlighted in the last few year’s newsworthy events. But, Mr. Trump, you’ve gone a step further, possibly even a few.
Your narcissistic sociopathic behavior has shined a light on not only those specific terms but the people who meet the criteria for the personality disorders. As such, you’ve helped many women and men recognize narcissistic and/or sociopathic individuals who have become toxic, abusive elements in their own lives.
In fact, because of the awareness that has surfaced and the voices of validation speaking out loudly against you as a result of your abusive personality, you’ve indirectly and inadvertently given many men and women permission to relinquish any physical or emotional ties to these individuals. More importantly, you have given survivors of abuse—myself included—a perfect platform to share our personal stories and discuss the damaging and non-dismissible reality of verbal and psychological abuse.
Most notably, you have brought survivors of sexual assault and abuse out of the shadows where they may have once hid, voiceless, in shame.
Collectively, we are speaking out like never before. We are openly sharing our stories of verbal, psychological, physical and sexual abuse, assault, violation and survival. We are banding together, advocating for ourselves and each other. We are standing up to bullies and calling them what they are; abusers. We are confronting rape culture. We are courageously facing the men and women like you who abused, attacked, assaulted, molested or otherwise violated us, and we are quickly and loudly correcting any man or woman who does not see or refuses to accept the issue with your “words.”
We see the issue, Mr. Trump. We’ve seen it all our lives. We recognize the manipulations, denial, distortion, attention-seeking behavior, intimidations, gaslighting—we’ve seen it all before and, for the record, that’s exactly why your scripted apology didn’t mean anything to us. And, given your dismissal of your confession tape as “just words” during the most recent debate, we know it didn’t mean anything to you either. In fact, your apology was indeed “just words.”
You see, Mr. Trump, many of us met abusive men and women like you when we were just little girls and boys, and we recognize you. Your “words” are tapes that played over and over in our heads for years. But we aren’t little girls and boys anymore. And, many of us destroyed those tapes long ago.
As such, you and your “words” have no power over us. In fact, when your “words” trigger any of us—whether they be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexually harassing, violating or abusive in any way—we will stand up, speak out and advocate for each other. And, for that matter, because we recognize you as an abuser, and we are no longer ashamed or afraid to speak up and protect ourselves and those who are, in fact, little girls and boys—our little girls and boys—from you, we will bravely employ our rights and our voices to ensure you have no power over this nation.
Collectively, we as survivors realize we don’t want our children to aspire to bullying. We don’t want them to think that “mean words” are anything less than abusive, regardless of the direction in which they are spewed.
We don’t want our little boys growing up thinking abuse of any kind is acceptable. For that matter, we don’t want our little girls accepting it. We don’t want them to grow up and be abusive mothers or fathers to our grandchildren. We don’t want them believing that behavior is acceptable simply because a Presidential candidate said it was.
We don’t want our little boys thinking that’s what to expect from their locker room experiences, if they choose to become athletes. We don’t want our little girls thinking men are the only ones who have locker rooms, and we certainly don’t want them thinking that’s what goes on in there. And, if you claim it does, we certainly want to investigate further and put a quick stop to it.
More importantly, we don’t want our little girls and boys to think how-to discussions about sexual violations or assault is appropriate or anything less than criminal. We also don’t want our little girls to think that’s how the men and boys in this nation see or talk about them. We don’t want them thinking “all men” discuss the ways in which they have assaulted or sexually violated women—the older version of our little girls—or the method in which they plan to.
Additionally, we don’t want our boyfriends, husbands, sons, brothers and male friends lumped into your category of “all men.” We refuse to accept your definition of normal; a definition we might not have realized was so widely accepted if not for you.
So, again, I want to thank you for giving a nation of women and men, regardless of race, class, religion, culture or ethnicity, something a seemingly growing vast majority of us can truly agree on.
Now, of course, I know there are women and men who still don’t see the issue with anything you’ve said or admitted to doing. Fortunately for them, they have never had a new perspective on “words” forced upon them. Unfortunately, many of them are seemingly as dysfunctional, dangerous and abusive as you.
But, Mr. Trump, you’ve given us the chance to clearly recognize that reality. It’s been plainly highlighted on social media and the national news. As such, you’ve given us cause to continue to speak up long after you are gone from the nation’s spotlight, because clearly we have work to do. We have girls, boys, women and men to educate on many, many things. We have awareness to bring to a nation of people. We have personal stories to share, empowerment to gain and possibly even charges to file.
As such, I am grateful; not for who you are or the damage your “words” threatened to do. No. I still hold you accountable for who you are, how you speak to me, my sisters, brothers, their fathers, mothers, our neighbors and friends. My gratitude does not erase your “words” or actions.
In fact and for the record, you should be held responsible for years to come for your “words,” which many of your supporters dismiss and summate as “saying mean things.” But, make no mistake, Mr. Trump, “saying mean things” equates to verbal abuse. You should also be held accountable for your actions—criminal actions—as any other man or woman who confessed to such things would hopefully be. And, of course, any double-standards we are clearly seeing with regard to class, race and gender as a result of you not being charged with any crimes or immediately dismissed from the nation’s Presidential race, is another topic for discussion. It’s something else we need to honestly and openly face and deal with in a solution-oriented way.
So, Mr. Trump, it would seem that though you likely intended simply to seek a great deal of attention by turning the Presidential election process into a tasteless reality television show and clearly sought to acquire even more money and power, whether in the White House or as a result of the spectacle you created, you have also inadvertently given a voice—personal power—to a vast majority of us.
You have not made us feel hopeless, helpless or weak. You have made us stronger, more empowered and determined than ever before. Like the Goblin King, your puzzling and dangerous maze of a world has just absolved, simply because one woman, and many men and women like her, have come to realize one thing; you have no power over me. Nor do your “words.”
Thank you, Mr. Trump. Thank you for motivating me and so many others to speak out and insight necessary change. Thank you for remind me and other survivors like me of the fact that it is, indeed, important—now, more than ever—to let my voice and my story be heard. More importantly, thank you for giving me and the rest of us, regardless of gender, race, culture, religion, nationality or otherwise, an opportunity to trade in our victim stance for one that speaks much louder, stronger and clearer; the stance of a survivor.
We have all survived so many others like you. Some of us have survived entire populations of you. For some of us, you were the cop who shot our innocent father just because of the color of his skin. For others, you were our father, uncle, boyfriend, husband, mother or teacher. Regardless of who you remind us of or the reasons we cringe and our blood pressure rises at the sight and sound of you, we have already survived you.
You are no threat, Mr. Trump, as I might have considered you before. That label gives you power. You are merely a mirror, and I think it’s time we, as individuals and a nation, fix the reflection.
Toshia Humphries, Abuse Survivor
*Original version first published on www.soberrecovery.com: http://www.soberrecovery.com/recovery/my-thank-you-note-to-donald-trump/