To my neighbors, friends and family:

I am the girl down the street. I am the girl that has run by your house thousands of times; maybe we waved, smiled at each other, nodded or exchanged pleasantries. I am the girl who went to school with your kids, or maybe babysat them from time to time. I am the girl you have seen grow from a child into a young woman. 

One thing you don't know is that I am a survivor.

I was sexually assaulted and raped when I was living down the street, by someone who believed I was an object to be had, someone who thought that they could grab me and do what they wanted without my consent. 

I rarely talk about what happened, but it is important to share my story with you now, before you vote on November 8th. 

This election is personal for everyone, but for me, knowing that one of the choices is a man who has been accused of sexual assault and has been recorded saying he sexually assaults women, is unbearable. Anyone who minimizes or normalizes sexual assault shouldn't have a chance at the presidency. I am not alone in my fear of what a Trump presidency would mean for all of us.

I am not telling you who to vote for, I am asking you to think about your choice before you vote.

Think about the women in your life. One in five of us are survivors. You know us. You talk to us on a daily basis. You've seen us grow up.

Think about the girl down the road and other women who surround you. Think about what it would be like to look us in the eyes and admit you are voting for a man who has been accused of assaulting numerous women. A man who, every time we look at the screen, makes the hair on our arms raise and our mouths go dry with fear.

Think about how it makes us feel to hear from someone we trust that they support a man who jokes with friends about women as if they are objects. Who believes women only hold a value based on how physically attractive he finds them to be. Who promotes a culture that perpetuates and condones assault. Think about how it feels.

Take a moment before you vote on November 8th, think about me, about the other women and men like me who have been victims of sexual assault and rape. Protect us. Protect the future generation from being raised in a society that promotes dialogue that allows for the objectification of women. 

Don't elect someone that will create and sustain a world where victims and survivors live in fear. 

 

— Jessica C., Massachusetts

Tags: Donald Trump, Sexual Assault, Election 2016

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