Eve Ensler. (photo: Brigitte Lacombe)
05 November 16
ear women of America and men who love women,
All week I have received emails, texts and calls from my sisters around the world. They were as diverse as you get – sisters in Congo fighting an epidemic of rape and brutality, and sisters in Iceland striking across the country protesting pay inequity. Sisters in Kenya fighting against genital cutting, and sisters in Iraq building safe houses as fast as women are being taken and enslaved. Again and again there was one panicked question: is it possible that Donald Trump could become president of the United States?
They are all trying to make sense of how a man like this could be on the brink of becoming the most powerful person in the world. A man who has openly admitted and bragged that he can grab women without consent by their genitalia. A man who has now been accused by numerous women of harassment or assault. A man who is fending off a lawsuit from a woman who claimed she was raped by him as a 13-year-old. A man who has an ex-wife who claimed in a divorce deposition that he raped her. A man who appears to project his own sexual predation on fictional Mexican rapists and innocent African American youth.
My sisters wanted me to remind American women that this election is our election. Yes, we could have the first woman president. But more importantly this election will determine whether we stand against blatant misogyny, or whether we reward it. It is an election which has unleashed the subculture of sexual violence in America – and that could be our breakthrough, or our breakdown.
They reminded me that next Tuesday, we have the power to direct this moment of truth. We as women have such difficulty believing that how we are seen and treated could be the central criteria for judging our candidates. Patriarchy has normalized our suffering, and made us terrified about speaking up. How often do we excuse the most oppressive, denigrating behavior of male leaders, because we believe there is something more important? We as woman often put everything else before ourselves.
But this time it should be different. The truth despite the differences between us is that we are 50% of the population of the world. Women do two-thirds of the work of the world but get paid 10% of the income. If we were to start tomorrow refusing to nurse, serve, clean, teach, nanny, mother, organize, create, lead, support, sell, arrange, the world would come to a complete halt. Everything would crumble.
There are an endless list of reasons not to vote for Donald Trump. By contrast, Hillary Clinton – for all her real flaws – is a woman who knows what it feels like to be hurt and humiliated by a womanizer. If we choose Trump and not her, all our years of struggle will be for naught. The culture under a Trump will be a Doris Lessing-esque nightmare. I don’t want to spend the next four years using their language, playing in the cesspool of their degradation. I get to determine my own identity. I am done being traumatized.
You don’t have to trust Hillary Clinton. You don’t have to like her. You need to help get her elected and then trust us – trust this covenant of women and loving men, this new army which will have the power joined in our newfound numbers. If, once she has settled in office, Hillary Clinton does not move to implement our collective vision, we will rise and push her ceaselessly at every front. With Trump, there is no front. It’s scorched earth. There is only a hate-filled man and the haters around him, the haters he will grow and give permission to – who have already let us know in no uncertain terms that they will assault, degrade, deny, diminish and destroy us and our rights.
If we send Trump back to his gross phallic tower, we will be saying we want these horrifying woman-hating days to be over forever. Defeating him will give us ground to fight the last dirty gasp of the patriarchy which is built on a conviction that subordinated people must stay in their assigned place. So much of the fury that Trump has unleashed is because all too many of us are perceived as breaking the chains of a society built on gender and race hierarchies. I want this to be the moment where all of us who identify as women say what happens to us is the bellwether of the future of life on this planet, and must be heeded. This is our world. I want us to declare we are united and will never elect an assaulting, insulting, disgusting degrading man to lead our nation – and we will ever let another one like him get this far. Their days are over.
Our sisters, our women leaders, our young daughters everywhere are looking to us. As one character says in the movie Cloud Atlas: “By each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
If you only vote for one reason, vote for women, for your daughters and sons and for all people. Vote in solidarity with women across the planet. Rise, sisters. Rise.