What We Should Learn from the Taylor Swift Trial – Listen To Women [OPINION]
Women need to listen to each other, famous or not. That's what Taylor would want, isn't it?
It’s over - for the most part. Contrary to some poorly-worded headlines, the radio DJ vs Taylor Swift trial isn’t “over;” however, Taylor herself is no longer a defendant. Which means that the media hype will die down a bit.
I took a lot of flack for an opinion piece, blog, whatever you want to call it, that I wrote yesterday. And, for those who didn’t read it (because trust me - a lot of people didn’t and commented anyways), I didn’t take a side. I didn’t bash either side. I said that I believe Taylor, and I also believe that this may not be as clear cut as the infamous picture that we’ve all seen. Who knows; I wasn’t there when it was taken, and neither were you.
I still stand by that piece, 100%.
We got messages from people who said they’d never listen to us again because I refused to call the DJ a sex offender, people who told me to “grow up,” people who twisted my words into, “So what he did was okay? You’re disgusting.”
Just another day in radio, frankly. You win some, you lose some. And Swifties are hardcore fans, so I expected the backlash, even though I said nothing negative about her.
But here’s why this one hurts so badly - here’s why I can’t let it go.
The first thing that I said to the police when I called to report that I had been sexually assaulted was, “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything...I didn’t think anybody would believe me.” Of course, they were understanding and supportive, and said, “That’s why most sexual assaults go unreported.”
I can’t go into the details of what happened to me, and by NO MEANS am I downplaying what happened to Taylor Swift - but what I experienced was something more gruesome than a butt grab. Something that should have been easy to report - but I didn’t. I was afraid of authority, since the person who did it to me was in a position that I was taught to respect. There were no cameras, unlike Taylor’s situation. As disgusting as it sounds, I wish there were - because then, I wouldn’t have to explain myself.
I know that there are people who still don’t believe me. I had two lawyers tell me that nobody would believe me, I have family members who don’t believe me and won’t even bring it up - hell, I won’t even talk to my friends about it. I don’t want the judgment. I know that it makes people uncomfortable. But inside, I’m screaming for somebody to listen to me. The only person I talk to about it, and who asks me how I’m doing, is Pat. My husband. My own mother won’t even talk to me about it.
The entire time throughout this brief media circus that was the Taylor Swift trial, the resounding message was, “I stand with Taylor. I believe her.” There were no questions - because she’s Taylor Swift.
And I can’t help but wonder...why are non-famous women who claim sexual assault questioned and judged so much more harshly? Why do women, like myself, have to bend over backwards to get support like this?
People look up to her, and rightfully so - there’s a lot of bad “role models” in the public eye, and we need somebody like her, especially for young women. And do you know what that means? We need to start LISTENING to women. ALL women, not just the famous ones. That’s what Taylor would want out of this situation, isn’t it?
I didn’t have high-priced lawyers or people to coach me through the description of “what happened” to me. It’s still hard to put into words - I clam up and can’t even form a sentence. But does that mean that I, or any other “normal” woman, should be disregarded when we speak up and finally say something?
It’s not a badge of honor to say that you were sexually assaulted. It’s embarrassing. It makes you feel dirty and less-than. I don’t know any women that want that on their life resume, but it’s on mine, like it or not. I’m in the “I never thought it would happen to me” club. I also used to be a “why didn’t she come forward earlier?” person, who questioned why victims acted the way they did. I’m not proud of that, but at least I’m able to admit it.
I’ll never do that again. Unfortunately, you can’t understand this until you, God forbid, go through it. I hope you never have to. If you have, my support is with you. I get it. I know you want to scream. I know that you feel like the world is judging you, but I’m not.
Put everything about this case aside and let’s do the right thing: LISTEN TO WOMEN. Doesn’t matter if they’re famous or not, if they’re rich or not, if there’s a picture or no “evidence” at all. It’s not something anybody would want to brag about, so if they say it happened, listen to them.
Be there for us like you were for Taylor. “I stand with (insert sexual assault victim’s name here). I believe her.”