Content warning: non-specific discussion sexual abuse
I woke up this morning hoping for a miracle of statistics, hoping beyond hope that Americans did not choose a politically inexperienced sexual abuser to lead us.
As I’m sure you’re aware, we didn’t get that miracle.
My concern isn’t really about Trump’s future policies. While I dislike them, we have checks and balances and international treaties that will reign him in to some extent. The damage that can’t be mitigated is due to his personality and presence.
The election of Donald Trump comes as a slap in the face to many of us. This whole election cycle has been particularly hard on victims of sexual violence. They are so frequently ignored, dismissed, retraumatized, and now they must deal with the face of a sexual predator plastered all over the news. Possibly worse, they now have to look at people they thought of as acquaintances or allies as people who do not care about their trauma.*
I am disappointed in the majority that elected Donald Trump. I am frightened by the abusers and hate groups that feel empowered by his election. I am concerned for our nation’s future in a way I’ve never been before.
Maybe you’re scared, or angry. You have ever right to be. But, friends, there is work to be done in the coming days. Work that demands clear heads and soft hearts. I am not talking about politics. I’m talking about the little, gentle, human things that we are going to need so much more of in the coming days.
If you feel that your voice has been silenced in the political sphere, then let your actions reflect the world you hope for. Tip better. Give to panhandlers. Smile at strangers on the street. Give to shelters for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. Give blood regularly and register as an organ donor. Volunteer for a suicide hotline.
You have the power to remind others that the world is not dark, gray, and hateful. Many people desperately need that reminder right now. Intentional, person-to-person kindness will make you feel better, too – inaction feeds despair.
As we try to figure out where to go from here, take the words of St. Francis with you:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
*This is not meant to be dismissive of the concerns of racial minorities or gender and sexual minorities. Sexual violence is a particularly important topic to me, and I intern with an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, so it’s simply the one that’s hitting me especially hard this morning.