Sunday, October 9, 2016

Chuck A. was the first abuser, starting when I was 12.

Coming to realize that my rage toward candidate and abuser Donald Trump is also rage at my parents' acquaintance Chuck A. (not an uncle and not the delightful and winning Chuck Law), who started grabbing me when I was 12.

I was horrified the first time Mr. A. came on to me, pawing me and trying to stick his hands into my dress. It was a big reception for a famous pianist, and as a special treat I was allowed to go. When I pushed him away ("Oh! Mr. A!  I'm Diggitt!") he went to my parents to tell them I was dressed like a tart and wearing too much makeup! (At 12? I loathed makeup!) He grumbled to one of my uncles, telling him I had asked for a drink and wouldn't leave him alone (uh, no, I could get my own Coke, thanks).

That was not the end of Chuck A. He tried it more times when I was a teenager. I sometimes babysat for his horrible children, and I decided to ask my dad if he'd come get me instead of having Chuck take me home at the end of the evening. I had heard some of the wives among my parents' friends talking about a divorced woman in the crowd. If Chuck gave her a ride home after a party, according to him she just crawled all over him (reported the other wives). I didn't understand the systemic nature of his creepy thinking, but just thought I could keep this horrible man off me if I didn't have to get into his car with him.

Luckily, I knew this was not my fault. Chuck overplayed his hand first time 'round, telling my uncle (who believed him because he himself was enough of a drinker) that I'd tried to get a drink out of him. I knew I was not bringing this on myself. Lots of young women and girls believe that somehow, it's their fault.

Married at 21, I was divorced at 23. Chuck A. spread stories about how I was a wild thing who wouldn't leave men alone. He even--wait for it!--said this to my dad. (Really, that still stuns me.) Who knows why men do this? His wife, daughter, and mother-in-law were all ugly, charmless, and mean, with loud and unpleasant voices. But I don't think it was in reaction to them--it was just how he was. Chuck A. was hands-down the most unattractive man among my parents' friends.  Few young woman (i.e., none) would be tempted by him romantically or sexually.

An unpleasant complication was telling my mother about him. Chuck's wife was the closest-friend-since-forever of one of my mother's sisters....Mother said that my aunt would never, ever believe me, and probably another aunt wouldn't either, since her husband and Chuck A. were great buddies. Well, at least it wasn't my grandfather, was all I could think.  And my dad knew better.

So I've recognized Trump as a bully and an abuser, seeing him with these women whose smiles are forced: They have to do this.  A nice smile is no guarantee of anything, but have you noticed how rarely you see a Trump smile that is anything but triumphant or mean? I doubt that he can feel joy--or show it. Why would any but the most mendacious of women be attracted to what they can see in his face? For the young and ambitious, it's dues-paying at best. He's what our mothers wanted us to be too good for.

The moral of this story is: When they say to you, "If you don't, I will tell everybody you did," believe them.  But tell your mother, and know that a lawsuit might be down the road.

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