“Groping”…..Girls it’s “Not a Big Deal”

By Felicia Simpson

Val O’Connell, a Trump supporter and mother from Bozeman, Montana, was being interviewed by NBC News political reporter Ali Vitali when she made the following statement:

“Groping a woman? At 18?….. I mean how many guys do you know who thinks that’s no big deal” – Val O’Connell

In the news clip, O’Connell said these appalling words to the reporter, the first red flag. She also included her teenage daughters into the conversation to validate her statement.  Sadly, her daughters nodded in agreement with her statements, the second red flag. Although the news clip was short, O’Connell dismissing groping as “not a big deal” is another reason why our responsibilities as citizens in this country should be  to ensure sexual assault allegations are taken seriously regardless of a person’s race, religious beliefs, gender, or economic status. This highly profiled sexual assault allegations case between Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has erupted over the country and is the exact reason why groping is a big deal.   

As a mother of three children, I am outraged that O’Connell who is also a mother, can articulate words not only to the reporter but to her daughters as she solicits their support behind her statement.  Any unwanted actions of boys who start out “groping” girls will eventually turn into men that become rapists or feel entitled to touch women in non-consenting ways. That’s the problem in our country today.  If Kavanaugh is voted in as Supreme Court Justice, a lifetime position, without a full investigation of these sexual assault accusations, it will be a slap in the face of every woman, man and child who’s ever been sexually assaulted.  

I cannot imagine telling my daughter who is also a teenager, my nieces, or anyone for that matter to overlook any unwanted touches from a boy because it’s no big deal and that the actions of that boys’ unwanted touches doesn’t affect his character.  Groping is a form of sexual assault. Sexual assault is defined by the United States Department of Justice as, “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs with the explicit consent of the recipient.” Groping and any other sexual contacts that are not of consent is a big deal.  

I refuse to raise my two sons to become heinous men who feel that the thoughts and opinions of a woman need to be “credible” in order for them to take part in her injustice.  I refuse to raise my sons to inappropriately touch another human being and tell them their wrongful/criminal actions or behaviors does not affect their character. It is Trump supporters and Kavanaugh supporters, such as O’Connell, that is leading this country into a divided demise, if we don’t unite and do something about it.

This is another oppression of women no matter their race or economic status.  President Trump recently stated that Ford is a “credible” woman. Does that mean  if the average citizen with no credentials, came forth with sexual allegations that she would not be “credible”?  We live in a harsh world where our laws are created and governed by the very men, and sometimes women, who violate them.  This is why it is imperative that we get out and vote to get rid of the “boys club” that continues to run our country and who in turn, protects the criminals that become our elite officials. Touching someone without their consent is indeed a big deal.  It is a big deal when African American boys and men lives have been taken due to unlawful accusations of crimes of sexual assault or have hate crimes committed against them. It is a big deal; it will continue to be a big deal until the men and women who lead our country, understands that no, means NO!


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