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'Her own accusations will turn against her'
Posted July 3, 2019
Another woman has come forward with an accusation of assault against Donald Trump. E. Jean Carroll claims in her new book, which is about her encounters with bad men, among whom Trump is one, that Trump attacked her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman's lingerie department in New York City in the mid 1990's.
Trump's response was predictably appalling, "First of all, she's not my type. Secondly it didn't happen." He's not attracted to her therefore he didn't assault her. He only assaults women he is attracted to. I can see this play out in a court of law. "Judge, I didn't do it and the proof is she's not my type." "Case dismissed!" That would be a good motto for the upcoming elections. "Trump is not my type."
One line in Measure for Measure, written by Shakespeare more than 400 years ago perfectly sums up the stark and unavoidable truth that women who are assaulted by powerful men must face. "Who will believe thee, Isabella?"
Angelo has been put in charge of cleaning up Vienna. In exchange for her brother's life, who has been condemned to death for having sex outside of marriage, Angelo wants Isabella to give herself to him, to "lay down the treasure of her body" as he puts it. Angelo's hypocrisy is not lost on Isabella who calls him an "outward-sainted deputy." Outraged and shocked Isabella demands the pardon for her brother or, as she threatens, "with an outstretched throat", she will "tell all the world aloud / What man thou art."
"Who will believe thee, Isabella?" Angelo responds. He goes on, saying he has "an unsoiled name", leads an austere life and that his denials against her and his position in the state will so outweigh her accusations "That you shall stifle in your own report, And smell of calumny."
The imbalance in the power dynamic has silenced women for millennia. Her own accusations will turn against her, not the powerful man. She will smell of calumny - accused of making false statements in order to damage the reputation of a public figure.
Donald Trump and others like him believe their power allows them to operate outside the law. Laws are for the little people. Other human beings, both men and women, are mere lesser creatures who exist for their use, to be mastered, bullied, humiliated and manipulated. For women, their very bodies can be assaulted with impunity and there is nothing the woman can do about it, for if she stretches her throat to tell all the world what kind of man this is, she will smell of calumny.
Even though Donald Trump has publicly bragged about assaulting women and has been accused of sexual assault by no fewer than 22 women, he still has his defenders who routinely accuse the women of trying to make a name for themselves by bringing a powerful man down. Dr. Ford stretched out her throat and accused Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court Justice, of attempted rape when they were both teenagers in high school. She has received death threats, has had to go into hiding, hire security and of course the same accusation Angelo warned Isabella about has dogged her ever since.
"Why didn't she say anything at the time?" people say as if that is conclusive proof her accounts are false. Why would any woman come forward and be subjected to all that hatred and disgrace? The humiliation alone keeps most women silent.
The men I know are people I love. None would ever assault a woman. Most men love and respect the women in their lives and are decent non-violent people. There are some pathetic creatures who like to exercise power and control over others and there seems to be some kind of elixir that poisons men in powerful positions and intoxicates them when they realize they are so powerful they can get away with anything.
And the sad truth is, they're right. "Who will believe thee, Isabella?"
Barbara Delargy is a retired English teacher currently living near Everett. Reach her at email@example.com