This happens all the time.

by Jessica Wildfire


Florida representative Matt Gaetz has been sleeping with 17-year-old girls and sharing private nudes of women with his pals in congress.

Here’s the thing:

No woman on earth is surprised.

We’re just pissed off.

The scandal is that it’s not a scandal. We’ve encountered worse than Matt Gaetz. I’ve watched 30-something men try to pick up 15-year-old girls at gas stations. There’s thousands of men out there who don’t care what’s right or wrong, just what they can get away with.

What’s surprising is that Matt Gaetz might actually face some consequences this time, but probably not severe enough to deter him. Like so many others, he’ll go right on doing the same thing he’s always done, and setting a low bar for men everywhere.

It’s almost a given.

This happens all the time.

The problem isn’t what Matt Gaetz did. It’s that what he did happens practically all the time.

Men learn early on how to pressure young women into all kinds of sexual acts, including nude photos they share with all their friends later, like it’s some trophy. When these teenage boys grow up into 40-year-old men, they still try to date women half their age.

It’s downright normal.

We let it happen, just slightly out of sight.

It’s not unusual for wealthy, powerful men to spend their free time grooming underage women for sexual service. It’s almost expected that some men will use their positions and privilege to lure young women into relationships. There’s no shortage of Hollywood celebrities and recording artists who’ve managed to get away with it for years.

Almost every single university has at least one professor who treats their graduate TAs like groupies, promising favors and career advancement in exchange for sex. Then they get bored and discard them. The woman winds up hurt, and often vilified.

Don’t believe me?

Ask around.

This happens all the time.

Here’s the simple truth about gender dynamics in America. Men are still allowed to destroy women’s lives.

Some treat it like a sport.

I know professors who’ve been assaulted in bathrooms where they work. Their own students have propositioned them for sex. I know professors who’ve had students expose themselves in classrooms.

When they report these crimes, they become the subject of an investigation into their credibility. The police meet with Human Resources to sit her down for recorded interviews that feel like interrogations. They cajole her into signing a transcript under penalty of perjury. They go through all of these steps before even questioning her attacker.

This is why so many women either don’t report sexual harassment or assault or retract their allegations.

They get intimidated.

This happens all the time.

I know students who’ve had to transfer to different universities because stalkers threatened their friends and family with a loaded gun, on top of terrorizing them on social media.

These universities often care more about the stalker’s rights than their victims. They hardly ever expel young men for the torture they inflict on women. They impose minimal penalties. Stuff like this has happened to me as well. Society teaches you it’s your fault. After forty years of calling out crimes like this, we still hear questions like, “What were you wearing?” and “Why were you walking on campus alone?”

Justice doesn’t happen for most women. It happens to them, on behalf of men who violate women and then portray themselves as victims whenever they finally get into trouble. The system teaches women that in order to go up against a white guy, they need a small army.

All too often, it’s a futile battle.

This happens all the time.

Nothing that bad will happen to Matt Gaetz.

Women will be shocked if he ever sees the inside of a prison cell. After all, we’re talking about the country that confirmed a supreme court judge days after an upstanding woman accused him of rape.

Powerful white men almost never pay for what they do to women. At worst, they lose a job and then find a different one. It’ll be no surprise that Matt Gaetz resigns his congressional seat and then winds up hosting a show on Fox News. He’ll probably make more money that way. No, white men often don’t suffer consequences for their actions.

The women do.

Every time a woman outs her rapist, she’s likely to receive death threats. She loses friends and colleagues. She has to relocate.

Suddenly, she’s toxic.

In America, rape isn’t a crime.

Allowing yourself to get raped, or making up a rape story, that’s what people are worried about.

This happens all the time.

Matt Gaetz isn’t a surprise.

He’s a republican.

If there’s one thing you can always count on republicans for, it’s a sustained assault on women’s rights.

The last president was a republican who openly bragged about using his celebrity status as a license to grope women. In this mind, letting a wealthy and powerful man grab them counted as consent. He’s been accused of sexual assault by 26 different women, with zero consequences. His daughter ran a sham organization that pretended to promote women entrepreneurs, but it was really just a giant publicity stunt.

He was pals with Jeffrey Epstein, a man who almost got away with running an actual underage prostitution ring.

Republicans have rejected legislation designed to pay women fair salaries or provide them with mandatory maternity leave. They’ve managed to shadow ban abortion in virtual every red state. Most recently, they voted against a bill meant to protect women against violence, literally in the midst of headline stories about violence against women.

They don’t care about women’s rights, just how they can use women as props to sell merchandise and spread fake news.

Even women in the republican party don’t care about women. They care about the power and prestige they get from throwing everyone else under the bus. They pretend to represent progress, when they only represent their own selfish, short-sighted interests.

So that’s how things go with republicans. Honestly, it would be surprising if one of them did care.

This happens all the time.

Women have learned to expect half of the men they meet to be something along the lines of Matt Gaetz. If given the opportunity, they’ll seduce 17-year-old girls (or traffic them) and then brag about it.

They’ll boast about their sexual conquests, even when they use power and money to coerce younger women into sleeping with them. They’ll interrupt women’s daily lives in order to hit on them. They’ll act like paying women unsolicited compliments is a favor.

They’ll pay women lower salaries and wages because they truly think women do inferior work. They’ll defend stalkers and rapists, and put women on trial for telling the truth, simply because it challenges the established order. They’ll scrutinize women’s achievements.

They’ll use their status as husbands and fathers to defend themselves, and it makes the rest of us shudder to think about what it must be like to live under their daily oppression.

No, not all men act like this. But half of them do.


The most important thing you need to know about Matt Gaetz is that he’s not a scandal, not even close.


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