I dated Donald Trump

161107120239-01-trump-parry-super-169Yes, clearly the title is clickbait. I have never met Donald Trump, much less actually dated him. But I have dated someone just like him – many women have. For every time I’ve heard You need to respect him, he’s our president, here are just a few reasons why the Trump administration is so triggering to me, and why I am under no obligation to refer to him as “my president.”

Trigger warning for descriptions of abuse.

All news is fake news

No matter how much evidence there was to the contrary, my ex could do no wrong; only me. In what is, to date, the most humiliating moment of my life, I was walking downtown with a friend who had heard me brag about how wonderful he was, too many times to count. Then I saw him. I seized the moment to introduce them, but he cut me off, spit his gum into his hand, and put in mine. He said, “Throw this away for me, will you?” before walking away. Needless to say, my friend was the exact opposite of impressed. It wasn’t the first time he humiliated me in public, but definitely the most scarring, because he did so in front of someone who mattered to me.

I called him later that day to reprimand him for what he did. I still remember him saying so clearly, “Nothing I do is ever going to be good enough for you, is it?” Also part of that conversation: “I know your friend probably thinks I’m an asshole, but you know how I really feel about you.”

In other words, facts didn’t matter. Only what he told me.

Gaslighting

The 81% of evangelicals who voted for Trump have been tripping over themselves with enthusiasm for our 45. It’s not enough to claim that Trump is the best pick for president – although I can’t imagine why – but some influential Christian figures have gone so far as to claim that opposing Trump means you are demon-possessed.

If I opposed anything Jason said or did, I was demanding perfection. If I suggested ending things, I’d be “reminded” that no one else would love me like he did. By undermining my feelings, ignoring my physical boundaries (more on that in a moment), telling me I was “too clingy” one day and then blowing up my phone with text messages the next, demanding to know where I was and why I wasn’t online (our primary method of communication since we dated back in the technological Stone Age, before iPhones, when you had to press each key three times to get the letter you wanted), “gaslighting” is a term I wish I’d known back then.

Donald Trump has proved to be a master at turning Americans against each other, feeding us lies, and contradicting himself over and over. Gaslighting at its finest.

The ultimate narcissist

No sense of personal responsibility. No humble acceptance of wrongs or openness to constructive criticism. Every speaking opportunity is a chance for Trump to brag about himself. Everything is someone else’s fault – the media seems to be his favorite scapegoat – and everything Jason did wrong was my fault, too: “What did you expect, wearing those jeans?” “You know you’re too hot for me to keep my hands off you.” “I was having too much fun, I didn’t want to stop.”

The common denominator in the examples above is self-entitlement. Narcissists are not concerned about how their actions affect others.

“I grabbed her by the pussy”

I hate, hate, hate to copy-paste those hideous words on this blog, but given the amount of misunderstanding about them (from both men and women), I think it’s necessary to break them down. You don’t have to actually say “rape” to confess to having done it. Make no mistake, Trump admitted to rape in that video. Here’s why:

I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I don’t even wait.

Unless you truly don’t mind strangers grabbing and kissing you, this is a form of assault. It may not be punishable by law, but it’s still assault if it’s unwanted. “I don’t even wait” doesn’t sound like it’s asking permission. In fact, he made that poignantly clear.

When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

I’ve read Facebook comments (I know, bad) from people claiming that this is where permission was given. I can understand where the confusion is coming from, but that still doesn’t make it okay. The truth of the matter is, men like Trump – rich, famous white men – rarely ever face the consequences for assault, and their victims know it. When they make public accusations, they are called gold diggers, sluts, or are simply not believed. They are paid off. They are threatened, harassed, or blackmailed into keeping quiet.

“They let you do it” is not so much granting permission, but acknowledging the reality that men like Trump get what they want no matter what. In other words, their victims know they can’t refuse because it’s pointless. Generally speaking, sex between two people in which the power balance is unequal (teacher/student, doctor/patient, and yes, Clinton/Monica) is always sketchy, which is why people lose their jobs over it even if charges are never pressed.

“I grabbed her by the pussy”

This one really shouldn’t need explaining. The offensive part is not the slang term “pussy,” but the callous use of the word “grab.” In this context, “grab” is not consensual. It’s a means of guaranteeing that the woman cannot escape. Does anyone use “grab/grabbed” to describe consensual sex? Even “banged” would be less offensive, but “grab”? I believe that word choice was deliberate for a reason.

I had a panic attack that lead to dry heaving over the toilet when I read about that recording (I couldn’t listen to it). What Trump described on that tape is what my ex did to me. I didn’t know that sex acts other than intercourse could be considered rape at the time (as a matter of fact, Ohio recently updated its rape laws to include any form of penetration without consent – after the statute of limitations had passed, of course).

As a devout Catholic, Jason went back and forth on whether or not it was okay for us to have intercourse – but everything short of that was perfectly fine. He held me down and touched me in ways that would leave me sore for days. So do not tell me that “grab her by the pussy,” when a woman clearly says “no,” isn’t rape.

This is why I am unfriending enthusiastic Trump supporters who have tried to convince me it was all just “locker room talk” (for the record, I asked my brother, a former high school athlete, if guys ever talked like that in there. Details about hookups were pretty common, but nothing like what Trump described).

This is why I stopped caring about being called “divisive” and “intolerant”for “shaming” people over politics. It’s not about politics anymore. Not as far as my PTSD is concerned.

This is why I am part of the Resistance. I can’t speak to the personal struggle of dealing with racism, the fear of deportation, or being misgendered in a public restroom (he sure is an equal opportunity offender, isn’t he?). But the issues of misogyny and rape culture have – and still do – affect me, and I will not keep quiet no matter how many times I’m told to just shut up about politics already. Because Trump’s normalization of rape culture affects everyone, not just me.

*

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About Beth Caplin

Just an author, blogger, and editor working hard so my cats can have a better life.
This entry was posted in Feminism, Social Issues and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to I dated Donald Trump

  1. Pingback: I confronted my rapist via Facebook | Sarahbeth Caplin

  2. Pingback: 3 lessons I learned from my abuser – Sarahbeth Caplin

  3. susanhenson1 says:

    I have a disability and work in media. I was astounded by his audacity to mimic that disabled reporter during his campaign! At that moment, I was sure he had lost the election. Unfortunately, my husband defended him and still voted for him despite his rhetoric, which may have resulted in the end of our marriage had I not been working in political media for the last decade!

    Like

  4. Pingback: Once you’re woke, you can’t go back to sleep – Sarahbeth Caplin

  5. Wes says:

    Monica knew Bill was married. Bill was a cheating a-hole, but that is not in near the same realm as sexual assault. CONSENT. They brought impeachment charges and if his term hadn’t ended first he would have been impeached for lying about the consentual affair. Trump bragged about sexual assault and you evangelicals elected that POS.

    Trump very much builds up himself and shifts blame. Obama had news leaks and he prosecuted the leakers of the information rather than demonizing the press. Obama would explain why the release of information was bad for America whereas Trump just claims that it is fake news throwing intelligence and entire intelligence AGENCIES under the bus. You put a pathological liar in place to uphold “Christian” values. You sacrificed too much.

    I can’t believe I have to put upwith this mess that you evangelicals have made. You sacrificed your own morals!

    Like

  6. This is a brave and forthright post.
    Despite the many advances made socially in some cases the overall status of women has not progressed much beyond that encountered in the Middle Ages; ie The Woman is expected to ‘Know Her Place’. Whereas in those days it was a social norm; in these days it is promulgated by loud inadequate beings whose gender is male, but by my standards do not qualify by any means as a Man (ie A Man is one who nurtures, protects-when necessary- respects and upholds equality).
    Unless President Trump realises the full responsibility of his office and matures accordingly he will simply go down as another of the type which rises during times of uncertainty, anger and distress and is consigned as a no more. People created him out of their negative emotions, they can equally destroy him by the same.
    As for your ex-. He needs to talk to some Real Men and learn what Real Life is about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. P. C. Zick says:

    Thank you. Yes, we’ve all date or come close to dating a Donald Trump. That’s why I am so surprised that so many women could ever vote for him. But then again, maybe they like the narcissistic, chauvinistic, bullying types. They can have him and I hope they take him to a galaxy far, far away.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. AthenaC says:

    You are absolved of the clickbait sin. Because unlike most clickbait, there’s actual content behind your heading.

    What you’re describing is so familiar – on the one hand it’s encouraging to know that I’m not the only one, but on the other hand it’s depressing that so. many. people have experienced this.

    Jedi hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kate says:

    Wow, sounds like it is time for Pat Robertson to retire.

    Sorry that you had the experience of dating someone who possessed Donald Trump like qualities.

    I’m going to guess that I am quite a bit older than you. I think in some ways our country has improved in our willingness to talk about rape, sexual assault etc.
    For people my age though I am surprised at some of the outrage against Trump…not that the outrage shouldn’t be there, but where was the outrage when other high profile figures have behaved poorly? Athletes, Hollywood types, politicians etc.
    I started observing “rape culture” when I was a college student and saw that the higher profile athletes on campus seemed to be held to a different standard if they were accused of a crime, whether it be vandalism, assault, or rape. Sometimes the police wouldn’t even investigate. The university would look the other way. If they did well on the football field, etc, there was pressure to keep them on the team. I didn’t know the term rape culture back then. Ever since then I’ve always had an awareness of stories that involve higher profile men and sexual assault.

    I was old enough to vote when Bill Clinton first ran. There were lots of rumors about him back then, but no internet. Then the Monica Lewinsky scandal hit, and I couldn’t believe it. Ms. Lewisnky was slut shamed, and no one seemed to care about her well being. No one seemed to care about the sum total of Bill’s bad behavior.

    I’d like to see an America where every man like Trump is called out, no matter what his standing is.

    Liked by 2 people

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