Any other former Republican voters here? (My Story) [View all]
From the time I registered to vote at age 19 until my late 30s, I was a registered Republican. My parents and grandparents had always voted that way, and it always seemed to work for them. I listened to Glenn Beck (though I liked him much better when he talked about topics other than politics). Still, I never quite fit the right-wing conservative mold.
Fast forward to Sunday, October 11, 2015. I was sexually assaulted by a man who I had thought was my friend...someone I had known (or thought I knew) for nearly a decade. I adored this man...and had trusted him implicitly. He gaslit, manipulated and violated me for another 8 months. He was a very charismatic man and knew how to keep me in line so I would keep his dirty secrets...until I unwittingly did something to make him mad and he cruelly dumped me. He hated me after that...especially when I confided in others what he had done to me.
At the same time, that horrible man named T**** had thrown his political hat in the ring. I didn't think he had a hope in hell of winning the Republican primary, let alone the nomination. Still a registered R, I voted for Kasich in the primary. In October 2016, I saw the man who hurt me for the last time. The same weekend, a certain Access Hollywood tape dropped to the public.
Because of my own intensely private problem, I was not following the election of 2016 nearly as closely as I would have otherwise. I did hear about the Access Hollywood tape...and was devastated. Still, I had so internalized the message from the pit of hell that Christians only vote Republican. If you don't vote Republican, you're not a Christian. On Election Day, I literally cried in the voting booth. The messages in my heart and head were at war...and I caved. I regret that moment deeply...even though my vote wouldn't have made a difference in the long run, especially here in Ohio. Of course, I couldn't even comprehend all the horrible things that were to come and certainly wouldn't have voted R if I had had even an inkling of it.
Long story short, at the beginning of 2017 I began intensive therapy to deal with my assault. Over the next two years, I would travel from my home in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland into the city proper. I was assigned to a counselor who I had been told over the phone was a bit "unconventional".
We were quite a match - the shy, sheltered white girl from the suburbs and the outspoken Black great-grandmother from inner city Cleveland who also happened to be a Baptist minister. I didn't realize at the time that she was planting seeds in me. She was a Christian woman who didn't hide her disdain for T**** in the few times he came up in conversation. She was compassionate but tough...a big proponent of the "teach a man to fish" philosophy. I wish everyone could find a Dr. W....and she stayed my counselor until she retired in spring 2019.
During the time I was in counseling with Dr. W., #MeToo happened and so did the Kavanaugh confirmations. When I read an op-ed about how T**** went with Kavanaugh not in spite of his sexual assault allegations but BECAUSE of them - that did it. Then the completely inept, callous way T**** dealt with covid (essential worker, home health aide here) finished off any possibility of me voting Republican ever again.
In October 2020, I drove to the board of elections building and fully masked, cast my vote for Biden/Harris...and lightning did not strike me. There was no turning back. The shrinking violet became a full-fledged feminist. I have no tolerance for bullies, those who sexually abuse, and those who enable. I found my voice. One of the things I want to do in this next year is help register young people, most especially young women, to vote.
I would be interested in hearing stories from others who escaped the Grand Old Patriarchy!! Thanks for letting me share mine.