Amber Tamblyn's Story of Sexual Assault Is Why Trump's Words Are #NotOkay

amber tamblynIf there's one horrible truth that's been made evident by the leaked video featuring Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging that he can "grab [women] by the p***y," it's that far too many people don't understand the meaning of the term "sexual assault." Thankfully, countless women are speaking up and sharing their own personal horror stories in an attempt to spread awareness -- including actress Amber Tamblyn, whose harrowing experience is all too familiar for too many women.

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In a truly heartbreaking Instagram post, which included a photo of Trump kissing former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, 33-year-old Tamblyn (who has been married to actor/comedian David Cross since 2012) opened up about an incredibly scary encounter with an ex-boyfriend years ago.

"I need to tell you a story," Tamblyn wrote. "With the love and support of my husband, I've decided to share it publicly. A very long time ago I ended a long emotionally and physically abusive relationship with a man I had been with for some time." 

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Tamblyn went on to describe a night after she broke up with this man when he showed up at a club where she was listening to a DJ with her friends. She knew there was a chance her ex might make an appearance, but, as she said, she "felt protected with my girls around me." Except, as it turned out, nothing could protect her from her ex's rage that night -- not only did he show up, he immediately attacked her.

"The minute he saw me, he picked me up with one hand by my hair and with his other hand, he grabbed me under my skirt by my vagina -- my p***y? -- and lifted me up off the floor, literally, and carried me, like something he owned, like a piece of trash, out of the club."

"His fingers were practically inside of me, his other hand wrapped tightly around my hair. I screamed and kicked and cried. He carried me this way, suspended by his hands, all the way across the room, pushing past people until he got to the front door. My friends ran after him, trying to stop him. We got to the front door and I thank God his brothers were also there and intervened."

Thankfully, Tamblyn was able to escape her ex before things got even worse. But she was still physically bruised for the next week (and will likely be emotionally bruised forever):

I need to tell you a story. With the love and support of my husband, I've decided to share it publicly. A very long time ago I ended a long emotionally and physically abusive relationship with a man I had been with for some time. One night I was at a show with a couple girlfriends in Hollywood, listening to a DJ we all loved. I knew there was a chance my ex could show up, but I felt protected with my girls around me. Without going into all the of the details, I will tell you that my ex did show up, and came up to me in the crowd. He's a big guy, taller than me. The minute he saw me, he picked me up with one hand by my hair and with his other hand, he grabbed me under my skirt by my vagina— my pussy?— and lifted me up off the floor, literally, and carried me, like something he owned, like a piece of trash, out of the club. His fingers were practically inside of me, his other hand wrapped tightly around my hair. I screamed and kicked and cried. He carried me this way, suspended by his hands, all the way across the room, pushing past people until he got to the front door. My friends ran after him, trying to stop him. We got to the front door and I thank God his brothers were also there and intervened. In the scuffle he grabbed at my clothes, trying to hold onto me, screaming at me, and inadvertently ripped off my grandmother’s necklace, which I was wearing. The rest of this night is a blur I do not remember. How I got out to the car. How I got away from him that night. I never returned for my necklace either. That part of my body, which the current Presidential Nominee of the United States Donald Trump recently described as something he’d like to grab a woman by, was bruised from my ex-boyfriend's violence for at least the next week. I had a hard time wearing jeans. I couldn’t sleep without a pillow between my legs to create space. To this day I remember that moment. I remember the shame. I am afraid my mom will read this post. I'm even more afraid that my father could ever know this story. That it would break his heart. I couldn't take that. But you understand, don't you? I needed to tell a story. Enjoy the debates tonight.

A photo posted by Amber Tamblyn (@amberrosetamblyn) on

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Awful. Just awful. But what's also awful is how commonplace stories like this one are. Chances are you know at least several women who've been through something like this (chances are you've been through something like this yourself). Rape culture is real. It is prevalent. When Donald Trump dismissed his disgusting comments as "locker room talk," he not only condoned rape culture, he contributed to it. During Sunday night's debate Trump denied having ever kissed and groped women without their consent, but his "banter" certainly triggered millions to relive their own experiences with sexual assault -- experiences that were all too often also dismissed.

But they will not go unheard, not any longer. When Canadian writer Kelly Oxford tweeted a call for women to share their first sexual assault stories in response to the Trump scandal, she was overwhelmed by the responses she got (about 50 per minute for 14 hours, resulting in a million tweets in one night). Oxford bravely got the ball rolling with her own first assault story:

Sadly, but not surprisingly, many of the tweets to follow described similar events that happened to women when they were still just kids: 

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It should be abundantly clear to any human being with a working brain that this is #notokay. And yet, one of our presidential nominees brushed off language that perpetuates this, sending the message that this kind of banter is okay. That it's perfectly acceptable. It's just how guys talk. Except it's not about the talk. It's not about the words. It's about the actions those words excuse and encourage. It's called rape "culture" for a reason -- because the normalization of sexual assault is unfortunately very deeply entrenched in our culture. It's so commonplace that people have become blind to it. It's a huge, dangerous, disgusting problem, and we need a leader who will fight to change that, not add fuel to the fire.

 

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, you can find help and support at RAINN.org, the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1 800 656 HOPE (4673), or Safe Horizon Crime Victims Hotline 1 866 689 HELP (4357).

 

Image via gotpap/Bauergriffin.com/Splash News

 

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