by Charles McGuigan
EDITOR’S NOTE: These stories are not sanitized in any way. They are graphic accounts of hideous acts against women. If you believe you will be offended by the content, refrain from reading.
Five women over a couple of weeks, and in a number of different locations, shared their stories of micro-aggressions, sexual assault, abuse, molestation and rape. Their names are Mary Carpenter, Didi Tremblay, Melissa Gray, Terry Menefee Gau and Kathi Shiff. These are vivid descriptions of deplorable actions that may be inappropriate for younger readers.
Just to the east of the city limits there’s a village that burst into suburban sprawl when the integration of Richmond public schools began. It was white flight, clear and simple, and these former Richmonders descended on Mechanicsville like a flock of snow geese.
That’s where the Tremblays found themselves living, an entire universe away from their native Montreal. French Canadians in those parts were about as rare as hen’s teeth, still are. So there was more than a little joy when the Tremblays found that another family in their neighborhood of Spring Meadows were also French Canadians.
“Our families became fast friends with them,” says Didi Tremlay. “So every Christmas and Thanksgiving we would be at each other’s houses, and they had a daughter who was close to my age, and we were really good friends.
One Christmas when the Tremblays had visited their neighbors, Didi was playing in the parents’ room, when the father walked in and closed the door behind him. Didi’s life was about to change forever. She was under six years old, not much more than a baby girl.
“He sits me on the bed and pushes me to lie down on my back,” Didi remembers. “And he begins to rub my genitals. There were a few more holidays when that happened.”
And then one summer morning as she played in the backyard of her friend’s house, the father invited her inside. This pedophile’s grim game was about to escalate.
“He came out and asked his daughter to stay outside,” says Didi. “He took me inside the house, he took me in the bedroom.” And she heard the snap as he locked the door behind him. Then he tied a handkerchief over her eyes as a blindfold, and told her they were going to play a game. He would place candy in her mouth, and Didi would guess the flavor.
In an instant she knew this was no game. She heard the metallic rasp of his zipper, and then she felt something soft and damp on her tongue. And then the man pressed forward, and her mouth was full. It wouldn’t be until many years later that she found out what it was. ”He tapped his penis on my tongue after he asked me to open my mouth, and then he shoved it in my mouth,” Didi says.
At that precise moment the phone rang, and the man answered, before it rang again. It was apparently his wife. Didi, still wearing the blindfold, moved terrified toward the door in darkness, feeling her way along the wall, until she found the doorframe, then the doorknob and unlocked it, then bolted and ran home. She told her siblings, who in turn told their mother, but the response was anything but satisfactory.
“We don’t really know what happened to you because you were blindfolded so we’re just not going to spend time with them anymore,” her mother told her. There was no anger, no harsh words, no threats, and no call to the police.
Yet Didi has never held this against her mother. “My mom was one of the sweetest people you’d ever want to meet, and she would never intend any harm on any one,” Didi says. “She was very conditioned by her upbringing. You are pretty, you are classy, you’re intelligent, and you don’t rock the boat. You keep it to yourself.”
But her father’s reaction was hard on Didi. “My father stopped hugging me and being physically affectionate with me after I was molested,” she says. “It freaked him out. He couldn’t understand it. I think he was guilt-ridden. I think that he emotionally could not deal with it at all.”
Didi’s big brother was another story. “He was very protective of me, and it was very healing for me,” she says.
When Didi looks at photographs of herself from that time, she can see marked differences in her countenance, year by year, as the molestations progressed. “That little spark is still there in kindergarten and first grade photos,” she says. “In second grade it’s different. In third it’s gone.” After that sexual assault, Didi cut her hair into a shag; before then it had been long and straight. “It’s like hiding,” says Didi. “It’s like a new identity. What we do even as children to cope is amazing. And what it ends up being is dissociative disorder.”
When Didi was in seventh grade she had a quick-tempered gym teacher, who would sometimes make unusual comments. This man was in early thirties, and Didi was all of eleven years old. “Would your mom let you go out on a date with me?” he asked her once. “I bet she wouldn’t let you stay out to one in the morning with me.”
One afternoon, Didi, who had left her purse in the gym teacher’s classroom, returned to retrieve it. Didi, who had already started her menstrual cycle, was more than a little surprised to find her gym teacher riffling through her purse, examining her menstrual pads. When he was discovered, this peculiar man said in a booming voice: “You should be careful about leaving your purse behind given what you have in it.”
“And to this day,” says Didi. “I don’t fully understand all the layers of how weird that was. You’re being sexualized, you’re being shamed for being a woman, and for having a cycle.”
About a year later, Didi was at her best friend’s house for a sleepover. This friend had older twin brothers who were polar opposites.
“They were like Cain and Abel,” Didi says. “One was incredibly sweet, very sensitive, and the other was broken. Incredible parents, beautiful family, no abuse, no neglect, nothing going on in that family.”
As it turns out, something was going on in that family. The night of the sleepover, Didi was applying makeup, when the evil twin, Cain, we’ll call him, entered the upstairs bathroom unannounced and blocked Didi’s exit.
“He corners me and feels me up,” says Didi. “I froze, I completely froze. Doesn’t ask, just takes what he wants.
But another family member came up the stairs and startled him, and Cain beat a hasty exit from the bathroom. Didi never went there for a sleepover again, and about eight months later would learn that Cain had sexually molested a little girl he babysat.
A couple years later, both Didi and her brother were working at the McDonald’s right across from Lee-Davis High School on Mechanicsville Turnpike. Didi’d been working there awhile and had come to know the regulars. One of the other girls who worked there, a classmate of Didi’s at Lee-Davis, told her someone had been in asking about Didi’s work shift. He had said he was relative of hers, and the co-worker described the thirty-year old man in detail. He wasn’t one of Didi’s relatives; they all lived up in Canada.
“So I would say within two weeks, he was at my counter and he said, ‘I asked a friend’, and it all clicked,” Did remembers. After taking his order, Didi went to see her brother who was working the line in the back of the house. She told him what had happened, and he held the burger up, and called the sheriff’s department.
Seconds later, there was a symphony of sirens, a flash of spinning blue lights, as six squad cars bounded into the parking lot. Eight deputies rushed through the door and apprehended the man, who, it turns out, was a repeat sex offender.
In high school Didi became a punk rocker and discovered the Clash and after graduation, spreading her wings, driving her super Beetle, moved to the Fan District. One afternoon, as she made her way west along the 800 block of Grace Street, just outside the old Biograph Theatre (long since gone), a pickup truck drove by, the cab filled with three grown men in their thirties, or older. The driver, looking at Didi, yelled, “I’d f*** that.”
“That was my first catcall,” she tells me. “And I remember my first reaction was I was pissed.” As she walked toward Harrison Street, a thick wave of sadness washed over her. ”It broke my heart that a man that age can yell, ‘I would f*** that’ to a child, and get away with it,” says Didi. “And everybody in that pickup was laughing. So these remarks about how we should be flattered about being told how you’re a** looks great, are wrong. It’s aggressive, it’s demeaning. And if you’re in your thirties you can’t tell me that you can look at an eighteen year old girl and not see that she’s fresh out of high school. She’s a kid.”
A little over a year later, Didi, who had just gotten off work, was going to meet her boyfriend over on Parkwood Avenue, a fairly sketchy area at the time. It was two in the morning, and her boyfriend had fallen asleep and Didi had no key. She walked down the alley and threw pebbles at his bedroom window, but to no avail.
She left the alleyway and began walking down the sidewalk. A man was walking toward her, and she avoided making eye contact, but as soon as she passed him, he put a chokehold around her neck and lifted her off the ground. Didi held on to his arm, pulling herself up, because she feared he was going snap her neck.
Just before she passed out, Didi knew she was dead. In nanoseconds, a hundred books and films depicting rape flashed through her brain. “But you are not prepared for the instant piece of meat you become,” says Didi. “The way that you are grabbed, your psyche is telling you, you’re a slab of meat.”
When Didi regained consciousness, she thought, for one unreasoning moment, that she might be in her own bed. But when she raised her arm and her hand pressed against what should have been a smooth plaster wall, she felt the grit of brick and mortar, and it all came back to her. She was now between two buildings, and the rapist was above her, with a drawn knife to her throat. She had apparently yelled, but had no recollection of it.
“If you scream again, I’ll kill you,” the rapist said. He peeled off her shorts and her underwear, then raped her.
But there was someone listening from the porch of one of the houses nearby. “Take that somewhere else,” he screamed into the night. But Didi must have cried out, because this man on the porch understood that someone was being raped, so he called the police.
The rapist ran, and Didi’s mind slowed down in a thick fog where time seemed to have ceased. She put her underwear and shorts on, and made her way out of the alley.
Didi chose not to file a police report, and the rapist was never caught. She didn’t want to deal with the interrogation and the rape kit. But her anger grew.
“It really started to come to a head when I was nineteen,” she says. “I was very, very quick tempered. If I saw you lack empathy for somebody else’s suffering you’d hear a mouthful from me about how you lack empathy’”
When she tells me this, I ask if after the rape she became even more compassionate, and Didi nods. “It’s the silver lining,” she says. “You understand what it’s like to be hunted. Whether it’s the Holocaust or a southern lynching, we’ve all looked the same predator in the eye.”
All these predators seem to share one trait.
“They’re all narcissists,” Didi says. “They all feel inferior, they all hate themselves, and the victims are who they project all that self-hatred on. And they have probably been abused as well. It’s an ugly, ugly vicious cycle. Breaking the chain is how it’s dealt with.”
Since that first group session before Halloween when all five women were present, a thought clear as crystal, undeniable as climate change, has been churning in Didi’s mind. Two words, separated by a single letter, turn out to be one and the same.
“These are the same people who yell n***** out of car windows,” she says. “It’s the same sickness. That same predatory entitlement. Racists do that to people of a different religion or color or culture. Rapists do it to women. They objectify you so they can kill you, throw things at you, because you’re just an object. You’re f****** nothing else. That’s what sexual predators do. The racist who yells n***** out the car window goes home and beats his wife or molests the kid next door. It’s the same sickness, it’s bullying. That’s why with the NFL, you know I’m on their side, it’s the same predator. I will kneel.”
Didi has other stories to tell, but right now, she puts unrelenting pain into perspective.
“We need to teach boundaries, and to teach empowerment,” says Didi. “Because every single episode strips, like acid, at your self-esteem and at your self-image, and it gives you anxiety disorder, and it makes you depressed, and then you have the shame of the byproduct of your trauma. You have to hide that as well, and it’s amazing that we’re all still here. I think the predators and the racists will never end. I think how they are dealt with has to change. There has to be more than an eight year, reduced down to six to three for raping a woman and ruining her life and any possibility of a functioning relationship with a man because she’s pissed off half the time. This is being in a relationship with a woman who has post-traumatic stress disorder. You’re with a Vietnam vet. That’s the woman you’re with. She has flashbacks, she can’t do s*** because she’s afraid .The percentage of women who have been raped that believe it will happen again is eighty percent. When that veil is ripped off of you cannot put it back on.”
Despite all the trauma, this unbelievably compassionate woman, who calls herself “a silver linings gal” sees more than a glimmer of light on the edge of the darkness. “That’s the thing about developing empathy,” she says. “We understand the suffering. We see the pain behind the action. That empathy that somehow survives all that anger, creates a magnificent human being on the other side. It’s not an easy path, but I have to believe we’re the new bud of evolution.”
Abuse can claim a host, devouring it, until the victim herself is subsumed, absorbed by the malevolent parasite. Didi had spoken about this earlier when she talked about the byproduct of trauma.
Melissa Gray knows a thing or two about this byproduct. We had talk in the conference room at Stir Crazy Café.
“We relieve ourselves,” she says. “When I was being beaten, I would beat my dog. It was just the worst thing when I realized that’s what I was doing. My outlet was the dog and I tried so hard at the end of her life to make up for it. It wasn’t me, it was me being take over. And I was someone else.”
“I was someone else.” Let those words sink in, penetrate your core. Sexual abuse is so damaging it can destroy your sense of self, and create a monster under your own skin.
When she was in high school, Melissa visited her boyfriend over the holidays, and things were anything but festive.
“I was raped for Christmas Day night,” she says. “I think I blacked out because the next thing I remember is him driving me home.”
Two weeks later this young man called her. He was sobbing into the phone, begging Melissa to forgive him. Melissa, who has a kind heart, forgave him. She was a junior at the time, and the man was a year or two older. “He later went to prison for something,” says Melissa.
The damage was done, and Melissa began to self-medicate.
“After I was raped in high school, the remainder of junior year and senior year I was not to be found in high school without a small bottle of Jack Daniels,” she says. “I was dropping LSD. F*** what just happened, I am going to go to someplace else. I was on so many drugs just to make it from point A to point B.”
Since that time Melissa’s been in her share of abusive relationships, but they didn’t look like that when they started out.
“It starts slowly,” she says. “It looks like care. The attention you get from someone who is controlling your life looks like care, because they’re so on top of you. He would erase my own family’s messages to me, and not let me know when they called. My friends weren’t good enough for me. The noose closed in tighter and tighter every year. The good clothes were gone. He kept me from dressing up. He threw away my makeup.”
Ultimately, Melissa would leave this man, and literally never look back.
“For two weeks I lived in my car,” she says. “I had a Honda Civic at the time, and socked everything I owned into a storage unit. It was the most freeing moment of my life, going over to Starving Students and saying, ‘You need to be at my house at ten thirty, not ten o’clock, not eleven.’ I told my parents the same thing, and I had packed up everything.”
It’s been years now since Melissa pulled herself out of the wreckage of that abusive and controlling relationship. And, in a way, it’s made her almost indestructible, a sort of super woman. She remembers when she was on the sidewalk one afternoon and there was a hail of gunfire, bullets ricocheting over concrete.
“I reached the point of being unf***withable,” Melissa says. ‘You can’t touch me anymore because the worst that I can think of has already happened. That’s why I didn’t bother picking myself up off the sidewalk when someone is shooting bullets down the sidewalk. You can’t kill me. You can’t! I’m already dead.”
There may have been death, but there was also a sort of resurrection.
“It feels like the body I had before had to collapse and burn several times,” says Melissa. “I had to build up and recreate, and shut it down. Nowadays I am so in love with my friends and I have the freedom to love on them exactly the way I see fit without the perimeters of a male companion telling me what I need to be doing with my relationships.”
Among other things, Melissa is a hair stylist, and by default, a sort of counsellor, a listener.
“Part of why I’m such a great therapist is because I walked through hell,” she says. “I’ve already seen it. I can pick it out of someone. I can draw it out. If I can’t tell by spending five minutes in silence with you, I will pull it out of you later.”
Melissa’s also tried her hand at standup comedy, and plans to do more of it in the future.
“I have taken all the awful s*** in my life and used it as fodder for standup comedy that I do behind my chair,” she says. “You have to find the ridiculousness. I’ve done three standup shows. I don’t lift anybody else’s jokes. They’re mine, and of it’s kind of dark stuff.”
But there’s also light stuff that Melissa spreads wherever she can.
“Even just complimenting men, and helping them become softer beings,” she says. “There’s a clerk at the checkout and he’s really nice to people. I was like, ‘Hey I see that you’re really nice to people. I appreciate your picking up the slack when I can’t be here.’”
And then there’s an almost blinding radiance in Melissa’s life.
“My child is absolutely beautiful,” she says. “He is magnificent.”
And Melissa doesn’t gloss over reality with her eleven-year old son.
“There is hope in this future,” she says, as she considers her son. “Not only am I brutally honest with the things that have occurred to me, but also my part in the work that I do to rebuild, and the work that I do to keep my mind safe and healthy. My son sees me going through it. And I’ll turn to him and I’ll say, ‘Hey, I’m going through it right now, I’m so sorry. I’ll be back with you soon. Give me about half an hour so I can go and stare at my toes and then I’m gonna come back down here and I’m going to be an exemplary mom.’”
Melissa’s love for her son, and her friends, is thorough and unconditional. You can sense it radiating from her.
“Here’s the thing that goes on in the back of my head,” says Mary Carpenter when all five women gather around the table in my living room. “I have no problem speaking out, and you guys have no problems speaking out. I’m not saying there aren’t good guys, I love men. It’s that feeling internally that I imagine some black people go through where they can look around a room of white people and know that if they weren’t there somebody might use the word n*****, and even if we were uncomfortable the white people wouldn’t say anything. I wonder what men say behind our backs.”
Men sexually assaulted Mary numerous times when she was still a child. At the age of eleven a doctor molested her on a bus. When she was twelve and thirteen, ministers assaulted her. A street vendor got her when she was thirteen, and then at just fifteen years old a whole group of grown men sexually attacked her.
Mary’s father was a man of the cloth, a Presbyterian minister, and back in the 1970s, the family lived in Ecuador’s capital city.
“We were missionaries in Quito,” says Mary. “And I had been in the country for just two weeks.” The car she and her siblings were traveling in from the Pentecostal camp where they lived to Quito broke down, and they had to catch a bus.
It was an old bus, 1950s, vintage GMC, and though the capacity was fifty-five, close to one hundred people were packed in tight as a deck of cards. It was impossible to find a seat, but finally Mary, a petite girl of twelve, managed to wiggle into a small space next to a doctor. She was dressed like a girl from “Little House on the Prairie” covered from wrist to ankles, and her hair was pulled up in a bun.
Two or three minutes after she settled into the seat, Mary felt something under her dress. ”The doctor had his hand underneath my dress, on my leg, and slowly moving upwards, and I had no point of reference for any of this,” Mary says. “I just knew that his hand did not belong on my thigh.”
In her lap she held onto a thick stack of schoolbooks. “I kept looking at him like, is this real, is this happening?” she remembers. “And he just kept staring straight ahead like I wasn’t even there, and that hand kept going further and further up my thigh.” Thinking with an intense logic for someone so young, Mary grabbed those schoolbooks and placed them on the doctor’s hidden hand, then pressed down with all her weight concentrated on the books. “That was enough to get his attention I guess, and I guess he knew he wasn’t getting anywhere, and he got off at the next stop,” says Mary. “That was horrifying to me. I was a child in a new country.”
She recalls another time three years later as she was walking down a city street when a construction crew of half a dozen grown men surrounded her. There was no possibility of escape. “They just threw me up against the wall and had it at me, and they groped me and tried to kiss me and felt me up all over. You just kind of got used to it. It was something you had to look out for.”
Mary shakes her head as much in disgust as in disbelief. “As a woman you learn you’re not safe walking down the street,” she says. “You are open season. That was in Ecuador, but I get it here, too. I’ve had men at Wawa go, ‘Oh baby I love you.’ And this goes on on a regular basis. I’m now fifty-six years old and this is forty plus years of this crap, and it’s exhausting. Anybody who thinks this is complimentary just doesn’t get it.”
Now Mary returns to an early evening in the autumn of 1990. Just off work, she had gone to a neighborhood grocery store on Strawberry Street in the heart of the Fan district where she picked up quite a few things. Her purse swung from her shoulder, and her arms held the large bag of groceries tight to her chest. She heard leaves rustling in her wake, felt the chill of an autumn wind, and the light was fading fast and she could smell wood smoke. It was a short walk to her apartment and she listened to the lonesome clack of her own heels on the sidewalk. And then a man, creeping out of the shadows, approached her from the opposite direction.
“And it was unusual because he got in my physical space, he did not try to walk around me like any normal human being, he kind of bumped me as I walked by,” she says.
Mary thought little of it and continued on her way. She could see the door to her apartment building. But thirty seconds after this man passed her, one large hand covered her eyes, while another clamped down on her mouth. The groceries fell, and she was being dragged off the sidewalk into an alley between two row homes. “And I’m wearing a shirt and a top, and he starts pulling down my panty hose and digitally penetrating me,” she says.
Mary’s brain flared up with warnings, but her own instinct would then kick in.
“I just thought. ‘Oh my God, this guy is gonna rape me’, and all solid advice that was in my head since age twelve of don’t fight just let it happen, don’t get killed over this, all of that immediately went out the window,” says Mary. “And I just started fighting like hell, I started moving around.”
As the rapist dragged her up the alley between two row homes, he drew a ski mask out of his back pocket and pulled it over his face. All Mary could now see were his eyes. She managed to get her left arm free, and she could see the small white circles of his eyes through the holes cut through the ski mask. Mary took aim, cocked her arm back like a catapult, stuck out two fingers, rigid as knives, and thrust her arm forward just as hard as she could. Her fingers pushed into the soft wetness of the rapist’s eyes. Up until that momen,t the man had been completely silent, but when Mary’s fingers struck their mark, he grunted. Then he grabbed her left hand and shoved the pinky finger into his mouth and bit down as hard as he could, but wasn’t able to bite it off. And then he simply walked away toward the main alley between Park and Monument. But Mary wasn’t having any of that. Despite the bruises and the fear, she stood up, pulled herself together and screamed after him at the top of her lungs, “You son of a bitch.”
She immediately called the police and her boyfriend. “The police came and took my statement and I went over to Retreat Hospital and went through everything there,” she says.
Two weeks later, near the spot where she had been abducted, Mary saw her assailant again. She was with her boyfriend who had said he would beat the crap out of the rapist if he ever encountered him. “That’s the guy,” she told him. “That’s the guy that attacked me.” But her boyfriend did nothing. ”He just didn’t have it in him to do anything at that point,” says Mary.
So Mary went to the neighborhood grocer, who was an old-school sort of guy. He kept the names and addresses of people who wrote checks to him in an index card filing box. When Mary gave him a description of the rapist, the grocer flipped through the cards and said he knew exactly who he was. The grocer even knew where he lived on Grace Street, just two blocks away from Mary’s residence.
Mary turned this information over to the Richmond Police Department, and what’s more, because she is an artist, gave them a perfect rendering of the perp.
This is where it gets even weirder. It also illustrates how women seem to be under almost constant assault. Unbeknownst to Mary, or the Richmond Police, there was another rapist at large in the Fan and Museum District at the time. He used the same modus. Grab a woman, take her down an alley between two buildings, and sexually assault or rape her. The Richmond Police finally got a break in the case.
“I was assaulted in November, and so by April they caught the individual on the other side of the Boulevard,” says Mary. “He was a larger guy with red hair, and there was a huge article in the Metro section of the paper that was like, ‘Ladies of the Fan you can sleep well, we got him.’”
Mary knew otherwise. “Well, you may have gotten one, but you didn’t get my guy,” she thought.
The police had been pretty insistent that Mary was wrong about the identity of her assailant. They felt sure they’d apprehended her rapist. Mary knew better. Not a week after the story about the arrest of the rapist ran in the newspaper, Mary’s suspicions that there still was a rapist attacking women in the Fan were confirmed, and an RPD detective apologized to her and ate a healthy side of crow. It was very bad police work, worthy of Inspector LeStrade.
“I was driving my car downtown to go to work at eight o’clock in the morning and I looked over to my right and I saw this young woman gesticulating wildly and talking to a police officer,” Mary says. “She was pointing in between two building, and all I could think was, ‘He struck again.’”
She called the police left a message, and later received a call back from the detective who was working her case. “He did call me back and he apologized to me,” she says.
And then the officer said what far too many men say when women tell their stories of rape or sexual assault. “He told me point black, ‘Mary, we did not believe you,’” Mary says. “We did not think there were two people doing the same thing.”
Though the cops knew where he lived, this man was never charged or convicted of rape, at least, to Mary’s knowledge.
She tells other stories about sexual harassment and assault, as do these other women gathered at the table. It’s both communion and group therapy, and I am honored to be witness to it.
“What we need are safe spaces,” says Terry Menefee Gau. “And everybody needs this. Our immigrants in this country need this right now. African-American men and women and children need this right now. We need this. We need to create intentionally safe spaces. As it is there is no safe space for a woman. When we walk into a restaurant or a meeting, we’re always looking for the one person who might hurt us, who might block the exit.”
Terry’s words keep pouring out her as if from a spring, and I look around the table as the other women speak and eat and drink and laugh and cry. Each lady is intelligent and compassionate, honest and lovely, and so kind to one another and the world at large that it makes it unimaginable that anyone would ever want to hurt any woman in any way. But men have hurt women for millennia, have subjugated and brutalized them. Those are facts, and they need to change. And human beings, both men and women, can make this a reality, make the world one enormous safe space.
Since that late October night, I’ve listened to the tapes of these women’s stories over and over and over again, and I’ve talked with scores of other women over the years who have shared their stories of this same sort of abuse. As Didi Tremblay had said of men who attack women in one way or other, ‘It’s like they’re everywhere.’
And they are.
The current occupant of the White House has been accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women, and, of course, he denies it. He also denies the Hollywood Access tape in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women. Regardless, what he may claim, the tape is real, and so are his words.
In Alabama they almost elected a man to serve in the United States Senate who was called out by an assortment of women, all claiming the same thing—that this man, as an adult, tried to force himself on girls. Pedophile is the term we use to describe people who destroy the innocence of children and permanently mar them, kill part of them, fracture their psyches beyond recognition, all to gratify some perverse and criminal impulse. Yet still, a good number of Alabamians voted for him, and the current occupant of the White House endorsed him wholeheartedly.
There are other men in political power, Democrat and Republican alike, who have committed the same atrocities against women, even a former president who teetered on the brink of impeachment because of the lies he told regarding his own inappropriate behavior toward women. He, of course, was a liar, and a Democrat.
Heads of business, entertainment moguls, film stars, and men in virtually every conceivable position of power and authority are being called out, and it’s bringing them down. And at long last, some men are finally listening to women. I would say these are “real” men.
Men and boys have got a lot of work ahead of them. For the safety of the human race, for its very preservation, things have to change. And I believe women will save our country and world from ruin. Or, at least, they will lead the charge. For their courage is inexhaustible.