In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal involving accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and a pervasive culture of silence, more and more women are stepping forward with stories that they've kept quiet for too long.
Because public images don't always match the real person behind the scenes, sometimes these accusations can come as quite a shock.
Actress Heather Lind has come forward with her #MeToo story ... and she's accusing none other than former US President, George H.W. Bush.
41st President George H.W. Bush is mostly remembered for his one-term Presidency, for his Vice President's spelling gaffe, and for his infamous "read my lips" line that, like so many political promises, was nothing but empty words.
Oh, and for fathering George W. Bush, who would go on to be a President so infamous that it took the election of an orange menace to overshadow the possibly irreparable harm that he did to the US and its global image.
These days, H.W. Bush is in a wheelchair, and time and contrast have softened his image considerably, so that even those who were once his fiercest political critics don't have many issues with him anymore.
But actress Heather Lind, known for her portrayal of Anna Strong in the AMC series, Turn: Washington's Spies, has come forward with an accusation, sharing her lengthy #MeToo story on Instagram.
And what she has to say is not political, but deeply personal.
Her lengthy post begins:
"I was disturbed today by a photo I saw of President Barack Obama shaking hands with George H. W. Bush in a gathering of ex-presidents organizing aid to states and territories damaged by recent hurricanes."
That, in and of itself, is not disturbing. It's a great cause, actually.
"I found it disturbing because I recognize the respect ex-presidents are given for having served. And I feel pride and reverence toward many of the men in the photo."
That's more than a lot could say. (Personally, I could say that about one of them without reservation)
"When I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo."
Oh gosh. We can see why the photo hit home for her.
"He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side."
She's not clear about how he allegedly touched her, and ... it really shouldn't matter whether he grabbed her butt or did something more invasive.
Sexual assault is wrong.
"He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again."
Awful. But politeness kept her from responding, it seems.
She wasn't, she says, the only one who noticed.
"Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say 'not again.'"
Well, none of us can speak to what Barbara Bush was really thinking at the time. But if that really was her noticing and just feeling exhasperation instead of horror ... that is alarming on a number of levels.
"His security guard told me I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo. We were instructed to call him Mr. President."
One, that's awful.
Two, that makes us wonder if George H.W. Bush is experiencing some form of dementia that is eroding his impulse-control.
Three, it would not be unheard of for wheelchair-bound old men to grope and harass pretty young women and get away with it just because they're old and in wheelchairs. Especially when that man is powerful.
Heather Lind reflects upon that terrible experience.
"It seems to me a President’s power is in his or her capacity to enact positive change, actually help people, and serve as a symbol of our democracy."
True. There's so much more to being President than being Commander in Chief.
"He relinquished that power when he used it against me and, judging from the comments of those around him, countless other women before me. What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a President really."
That's one way of looking at it.
"I can enact positive change. I can actually help people. I can be a symbol of my democracy. I can refuse to call him President, and call out other abuses of power when I see them."
Those are good things to do, right?
"I can vote for a President, in part, by the nature of his or her character, knowing that his or her political decisions must necessarily stem from that character."
We can all do that.
"My fellow cast-mates and producers helped me that day and continue to support me."
It's good that she has a support network.
"I am grateful for the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences."
Remember, folks -- strength in numbers. Just like Evan Rachel Wood says.
"And I thank President Barack Obama for the gesture of respect he made toward George H. W. Bush for the sake of our country, but I do not respect him. #metoo."
To be clear, that second "him" means George H.W. Bush. Pronouns can be kind of vague.
That is heavy stuff.
While Heather Lind's story evoked an outpouring of support, it seems that some people bristled over a former President being accused.
Because Heather Lind's Instagram has been bombarded with hate.
So much so that Heather has deleted the original post. Unfortunately, even pictures of her holding her baby are getting the nastiest messages in the comments that you can imagine.
Sexual assault should not be a political issue, folks. There should not be two sides to this issue.
Have we learned nothing from the #MeToo movement?
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