#FreeMelania was a phrase one of my best friends tossed out while she and I were talking about Melania Trump’s seeming lack of personality. To our surprise, the hashtag was already trending on social media. The memes started as the Inauguration pictures seemed to capture the inner workings of a loveless marriage of convenience. Or did we all get an up close and personal look at an emotional abuser on the world stage? The hashtag #FreeMelania appeared to have started as a joke but morphed into a telling picture of what the true nature of the Trumps’ marriage may be like behind closed doors.
Lots of people seemed to notice that there looms a sense that something is deeply and disturbingly wrong within the new First Couple’s relationship as people took to social media with snapshots of what appears to be Donald Trump being very short, dismissive, and his downright hateful attitude toward Melania. It made me wonder if her flatness is the result of severe depression and hopelessness.
Some won’t be able to find it in their hearts to feel sorry for the new FLOTUS because they assume she married Donald Trump for a green card and/or his money. But in response to the question “Would you be with Donald Trump if he had no money?”, Melania is said to have replied, “Would he have married me if I weren’t beautiful?” I can not find the quote but it brings up a great point; marriages of convenience are two-way streets and the basis for marriages since the beginning of time. Our feminism and demand for equal rights must reach beyond the divisiveness of politics and no matter her reasons for marrying him it would not justify abuse.
And abuse allegations have followed Donald Trump for decades. Harry Hurt, III wrote about it in his book, The Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, back in the early 90s. Donald Trump was accused of rape by his former wife Ivana Trump, who later revised her claim and stated she felt “violated”. His actions were defended based on the idea that rape couldn’t happen within a marriage. Most recently, near the end of the presidential campaign, a tape surfaced where Trump himself explicitly described how he would sexually assault women; bragging that women “let” him do anything because of his wealth. A rape case against him resurfaced but was dropped right before the election. The plaintiff, referred to as Jane Doe, stated that Donald Trump and Jeffery Epstein raped her when she was a teenager. The case was dropped when the plaintiff’s lawyer reported that the woman had received threats and was too frightened to show up.
It was reported in May of 2016 that 95% of Domestic Violence victims are women, so it is no wonder that during the debates, women were mainly the ones who noticed how Donald Trump seemed to stalk democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. We have to notice and stay aware for survival.
Research supports that abusers tend to have the type of personality that Donald Trump has consistently displayed in his speeches and twitter posts. The larger than life ego with a need for constant validation, the disparaging comments about women in general, a total disregard for the truth, leaning instead on “Alternative Facts” and gaslighting the whole country. Why should we believe he behaves any differently at home?
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep and when we look at the cast of characters Trump is appointing to his administration we find that there is a common theme among them, a history of violence toward women. Recently appointed Chief Strategist, Steven Bannon’s Breitbart has a history of posting revolting, sexist articles slamming women and feminism. Individually, these things are distasteful and frustrating: Trump sexualizing his own daughter, told as a joke, his attacks on Megyn Kelly, and Alicia Machado, Former Miss Universe and first after Trump took over the pageant. When you put it all together it’s a terrifying look at what has infiltrated the most important home in America.
Melania may not realize that she is at her most powerful and most vulnerable moment as First Lady of the United States. Only she can make the move to get help if she indeed needs it.
“If the abusive man is not willing to seek help, then you must take action by protecting yourself and any children involved by leaving”
While her life is under more scrutiny and behind more barriers than ever before, she also has access to the world.
Melania, if you need help, please blink twice.