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Trigger Warning

I simply couldn’t take it anymore.  The misogyny, thick as horseflies on a carcass.  So, I decided to show it. IT. In order that we may all be clear on exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about the “alleged attempted rape” from that summer night those many years ago.

Sen. Dean Heller (R- Nev.) called it “a little hiccup.” For Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.), it was a “smear.” The Honorable Orrin Hatch, Republican Senator from Utah, said, “This woman, whoever she is, is mixed up.”  The X chromosome knows exactly what the Y chromosome means when it says things like that. It means we are nothing. Our claims to our bodies are NOTHING. Like a little hiccup, we will pass.

So, it’s come to this.  To showing them – showing as many men who have and would do this, and the ones who dismiss it when it’s done – what we’re actually talking about here.

Trigger Warning

Warning: this video contains violent images that may be very disturbing to some viewers. Caution strongly advised.Attempted rape is a crime. Republican Senators should know that. They clearly don’t.

Posted by Agenda Project Action Fund on Sunday, September 23, 2018

If you can’t hear the words we say, I will show you a picture. Thousands of little pictures all in a row. Along with the picture, I will play you the sounds as she must have heard them. As most of us heard them when it happened to us.  They play like an earworm in your head over and over and over again.

Before I cut the video, I asked some women I know what they thought. One said, “I think someone should do the job of ensuring that what exactly happened is pictured in all its brutality, so that it’s not just some abstract “horseplay” in people’s heads.”

Another woman, who has A LOT of experience with rape, said, “I am worried it could trigger people . . . survivors. You should think about that.”  I did. I still am. I hope no rape survivor sees this video against her will. And I know that in releasing it, that may happen. I am so terribly, terribly sorry.

The first rough cut made me sick, repulsed me, my skin covered with tiny stinging ants. Boys.  Men. One does become the other after all. The last cut, the final cut, made me scared. Sick fear.  Triggered me. Trigger them. Be careful said a friend. People are on the edge.

The women in my office are all under 30.  They seem so powerful to me. More than I was when I was them. They didn’t want me to do the video. We settled (sort of) on letting me do it and letting them have nothing to do with it.

They didn’t (and still don’t) want me to release this video, but I can’t help myself.  I am compelled to shove IT into the faces of all of the people who still can’t see.

I sent the final cut to some women friends from Wharton, class of 2000.  “It triggered me,” said one, “and I haven’t even been raped, although I have been . . . well, people should see this.” Another said, “It is chilling — and reminiscent — made me a bit nauseous. It’s precisely the jolt people need to understand the horror of what he and his ilk have done with impunity for years.” In the end, they all agreed.  “Fire away.”

I showed it to probably 30 different women over the course of a few days.  Women from their early 20s to their mid 70s. Every single woman under 30 said no, don’t do it.  Almost every one of the older ones said yes.

I only showed it to a few men.  A few actually seemed relieved. It let them know what they didn’t do.  It showed them who they weren’t. Because they were boys once, too, of course. “God, man. I’ve never done anything like that. Jesus,” exploded one, an atheist.   Sometimes you need to see it to know what it is.

I am 48. Brett Kavanaugh is 53. I know him.  Not him. But HIM and all of the Hims who are him.  He is my peer. I was at that party. Not that party. But a party, that could have been that party.  We all know HIM. The boys/men who have inside them that silent, deadly cold.  He’s from such a good family, they say. Yes, the best families breed them, like racehorses.


Donald Trump said, “[It’s] hard for me to imagine that anything happened.” Oh, but Donald, you don’t have to imagine, do you?  Only to remember, to think back to what you have done, what so many men you know have done.

I want every perpetrator and rape apologist to see this video.  This is what we mean when we say the words we say about what happened to us.  And what we want to know from you is this: Are you HIM? Were you HIM? Are you, were you that Other Fucking Asshole in the room?  Mr. Go-For-It. Yeah, we know him, too.

We know that you are friends with HIM, that you golf and hunt and fish together.  Grab a beer, check out the game. We get it. Now it’s time for YOU to get it. It’s time for you to acknowledge what happens behind closed doors.  It’s time for all of you to see it and to own your respective parts in excusing/enabling/ignoring/belittling it.

During the days of editing, I saw a powerful video from Demand Progress. It too tried to tell the story of what happened behind that door. They used words instead of pictures.  Her words. And that should have been enough. But it wasn’t. Not for me. I had to take you all the way behind that door, so closed and firmly locked.

What is a picture worth? What are a woman’s body and her rights and her truth worth?

Orrin?  Dean? Lindsey? Anyone?  Anyone? Well, it is what it looks like: It’s attempted rape. And it’s a crime.

Written by Erica Payne

Erica Payne is the President of the Patriotic Millionaires, founder of the Agenda Project and a member of the board of MAYDAY.US.