It was an historic week for women as Hillary Clinton appears to have secured the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Is it an inspiring message for all women? Yes. Did a whole lot of countries do it first? Also yes. But it’s the U.S. and when something big happens there, it sends seismic waves around the world. So that was the good news for women.
But during this historic week, two other things happened which proved that the battle for equality is far from over.
One of them involved Hillary Clinton herself. After giving a speech this week, Mrs. Clinton was criticized heavily for wearing a $12,000 blazer. She was called insensitive to deliver a speech on poverty while wearing such a jacket. How dare she? the internet asked.
Here’s the thing. Nobody asks Donald Trump how much his suit cost. Does anyone think The Donald buys his suits off the rack? I’d be willing to bet some of his suits cost more than Hillary Clinton’s blazer.
But she gets slammed and he doesn’t. Here’s a guy whose campaign cornerstone is “Look at how rich I am, how could I not be a great President?, and he gets a pass, but his female opponent is not allowed to be wealthy enough to wear a designer jacket. That my friends, whether you want to admit it or not, is sexism. There for all to see. How sad to see it in 2016.
And Hillary Clinton is going to have to battle it through her entire run for President and beyond. She is already being held to a much higher standard than Trump in terms of qualifications for the job.
The other outrageous thing that happened this week is the sentence received by convicted rapist Brock Turner. Turner, a Stanford student and Olympic-hopeful swimmer was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. But the judge sentenced him to six months, not in prison but the county jail. He will likely be out in three.
The judge’s reasoning was that a longer term would negatively affect Turner’s life, which has a great deal of potential. I kind of thought that was the point of a prison sentence, but what do I know. I’m no judge.
Turner’s father petitioned the judge for leniency in a letter, which was released to the public this week. In the letter, he said that his son should not go to jail for “20 minutes of action” in an otherwise exemplary life. He only raped her the one time, seems to be the reasoning, though neither father nor son will actually own the crime, preferring to blame it on alcohol. Dad actually had the nerve to suggest that his son could counsel students on the evils of alcohol, binge drinking and the campus sexual hookup life style.
The victim, a 23-year old woman, who admits to being intoxicated at the time, was repeatedly shamed during the trial for her behaviour that night. She claims, in a powerful victim’s statement, that she will carry what happened that night, and through the trial, for the rest of her life. And the perpetrator won’t even apologize.
As one outraged Tweeter put it, it appears that women have a past and men have potential.
Sadly, this awful treatment of women who summon the courage to come forward and accuse someone of sexual assault is not uncommon at all. Many, many more women simply do not come forward at all, fearing the shaming, the victim-blaming. That this is still an issue in 2016, the same year a woman is running for President, is just sad.
We’ve come a long way, baby, as the old ad slogan said.
But, my, my, my do we have a long way to go.