• Cindy Mundahl

A Woman's Choice

I had a dream the other night in which all of the yards in my neighborhood were peppered with political campaign signs, red for the Republican candidate and blue for the Democratic candidate. All of the signs, regardless of party, said the same thing: Rapist 2020. In my dream, I was asked which rapist I would vote for. I wondered if I could find any degree of acceptability in choosing one rapist over the other. I found myself confused and angered by the choice as if there was a correct answer and I couldn't see it. I woke up angry and realized there is no correct answer, because this is a false choice. Should I pick the candidate that dehumanizes women and feels entitled to his power over them, or do I pick the other candidate that dehumanizes women and feels entitled to his power over them? See, there's no good choice here. This dream is our reality in this presidential election. Women are left to choose between two men who have very credible allegations of sexual assault leveled against them. I’m angry that we’re in this place, picking between two old, white men to lead our country who should be unfit to even run for office given their history of sexual misconduct. I’m angry because there really is no choice to be made, we already had our chance to choose authentic leaders and we failed.

I presume truth in the statements of women who accuse men, especially men with power, of sexual assault. I believe victim’s stories, no matter if they recall them in great detail or have little recollection of the event. We all watched as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was annihilated for coming forward with sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. We watched her relive her trauma in front of the world, while many of us, including her, knew that it likely wouldn’t change the outcome of his hearing to become a Supreme Court Justice. We keep elevating men despite their despicable behavior and each time we do, women lose. We lose agency over our bodies, we lose our voices, our truths, and our stories. So often choices made available to women by men aren’t choices at all, they’re impossible bargains that strip us of our humanity. Do you want this rapist or that rapist? There’s no choice in that question. I want no rapists, and the only way we get no rapists is by believing women’s stories and then holding men accountable for their actions, regardless of their social standing or their political clout. A crime is a crime regardless of who commits it.

I want to stop waking up to find that my nightmares are reality. I’m tired of waking up angry and living angry. I want to live in a world where women are respected, believed and are seen as leaders. I’m done with the choices that white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism grant us. They’re not choices at all. I want us to have real choices that offer grand visions of the future for all of us, not choices that always lead to a single person fulfilling his dream because he feels entitled to it. It’s time to end the status quo. It’s time to believe women and stop accepting false choices. We deserve better. I wish we’d all believe that we do.

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