It was just five weeks ago that we were talking about rape culture and Brock Turner’s pitiful two month sentence after a felony conviction. As disrespectful and entitled as I already believed Mr. Trump to be, I never thought we would be revisiting this issue again because of a Presidential nominee. Then again, I never thought I would see the day where newscasters were freely using the word “pussy” as a direct quote, either.
“It was just locker room talk.” That is the phrase, the excuse, the “talking point,” that Donald Trump continues to repeat.
Is that word itself, “pussy,” “locker room talk?” For frat boys, maybe. In bedroom chatter between two consenting adults, it’s used often. People who think what people are reacting to is the use of that word itself are missing the point entirely.
The truth is Mr. Trump’s bragging of sexually predatory behavior tells both victims and women that our bodies belong to the bold men who will use them as they please.
The visceral reaction we are having is because we recognize the sexual violation he brags to have performed.
In fact, you can hear him basically coaching (grooming) Bush on how to prey on women. Trump then ends it with an entitlement of “catch me if you can” attitude. It’s sickening.
There is a REAL and VALID concern about what these messages do to men and women who have already been victims, as well as, the future victims and perpetrators of rape and sexual assault. To not react, or worse to defend, the actions of Mr. Trump is to tell the women in your life that you are okay with this. And tell the men in your life, its okay for them to objectify women for their purposes.
But this attitude is also what keeps women silent on the incredibly common lesser offenses and possibly what is making women and men alike, defend Trump’s abhorrent behaviors expressed in his hot mic recording.
Think this is an old issue for him?
How about last week’s Twitter storm about one particular woman or his constant attacks upon his opponents’ looks, or, even more sickening, the things he’s said about his own daughters’ sex appeal and breasts. (And let’s just keep that alleged rape of a 13 year old, and the December court appearance to ourselves, shall we?)
This is personal for me. And it is personal for so many women.
I rarely meet a woman who hasn’t dealt with some form of sexual impropriety from men in the past. It’s our society’s dirty little secret and it’s time to start talking. If we are willing to overlook this problem by just chalking it up to men being men, then young girls and women are ill-prepared to deal with such sexual advances.
I know because that young girl was me.
The “boys will be boys” attitude is precisely what kept women like me silent. I finally shared some of my story in this article.
When I was 14, I was at a church event and my Sunday school teacher, a man in his 40’s, came up behind me and slipped his hands under my shirt. He cupped my breasts while pressing his erection into my back (although I was too naïve to know what an erection was then) and whispered in my ear “If you tell your parents, I will shame you in front of the entire church…Remember I’m a deacon and you’re a silly girl.” I believed him and I stayed quiet.
This wasn’t the only experience. A year or so later, there was a boy my age who grabbed my hand and put it in his pants. We weren’t dating, we weren’t touching at any point, yet he thought I would want to touch his penis. There was also my daddy’s brother who was just 7—8 years older than me, drunk one night who forcefully pulled me into his lap and tried to kiss me.
Let’s not forget about the modern dating trend of men sending dick pics to women, too. Without consent, an unsolicited picture of that nature is sexual harassment, not to mention a disturbing misunderstanding in how women operate and relate. But it’s still blurry for far too many.
Think all of these experiences are just “boys will be boys?”
Is this okay for your mothers, daughters or wives to experience?
Or your sons or brothers?
Back then, we didn’t openly talk about consent the way we do now.
Because of that, I didn’t even know how to respond, what to do next or that it (sexual assault/harassment) had a name.
Not until I was raped at 19 did I know I was definitely assaulted, but I still remained silent. The man who raped me was the son of a cop….he may not have had much power on his own but his father did and I knew my chances of a charge were zero.
Good and honorable men of the world…stand with us! Let other men know this may be how boys act sometimes, but this is not how MEN act. Be a shining light of hope and remind us how many of you would shout “This is #NotOkay!”
Women…stand together with other women! We must speak up for real change to happen because its #notokay. Support women by demanding better of the men who believe that simply because we are attractive to them, they can do what they want to us. They are not entitled to my body or yours. Let’s lock arms and hearts as only women can.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/File