In deep-Red, heavily Evangelical Alabama, coming forward to accuse Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault took unimaginable courage. That courage paid off this time for the eight women who broke their silence about Moore’s predatory behavior.
“It’s a great feeling to know that we were vindicated . . . I thought the people of Alabama would not have enough sense to do the right thing. Maybe there’s hope for us yet,” said Tina Johnson, one of Moore’s accusers, who had never voted until this election.
She described to The L.A. Times how the experience of sharing her experience of Moore squeezing her buttocks when she was 28 transformed her political outlook:
I live in Alabama, so I can say about Alabamians, they’re really ignorant about certain things. That’s the truth. These people following Roy Moore are more of a cult than a Republican Party . . . Don’t be my age and vote for the first time. I never voted, because I didn’t think it would make a difference. I was part of the problem.
Johnson also elaborated on how she conquered her fear of coming forward in the face of a suppressive local culture:
I just went with the flow. I tried to put a wall up. I was scared. … Now I can say ‘Hey look, I don’t have to worry no more.’ Speaking out does help and it is worth it in the end . . . I’m just a small woman from Alabama, really, that no one’s ever heard of, but it doesn’t matter. We have a voice.
She is taking that new found voice and using it to start her own movement, called #StandUp, to compliment #MeToo by encouraging men to stand up on women’s behalves.
Meanwhile, Beverly Young Nelson, who accused Moore of grabbing her by the neck and forcing her face to his crotch in a car outside of the restaurant where she waitressed when she was 16, said of the pro-slavery, anti-women’s suffrage, theocratic Alabama Republican’s loss:
“I believe I was believed . . . I feel like I don’t have to hide anymore . . . I believe that Alabama is really on its way to making some major changes that the state has needed for years.”
If brave women coming forward to speak their truth can change Alabama, they can change the world. It’s up to all of us to stand up for and with them to make that change universal.