As Maya Angelo said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Regardless of what one thinks of Donald Trump, his character has been consistent since day one. And, once again, he’s given the media something else to use to detract voters from the main issues that impact our country.
If Donald Trump is even worth the least amount of attention, it is purely because he serves as an anecdotal example of white privilege and rape culture. Using the excuses of “locker room behavior” and “it happened decades ago,” didn’t ultimately let Bill Cosby off the hook. Does Donald Trump get a pass because he’s white? I suspect that will be the case.
While the media focuses on Trump’s latest sexist behavior, interviewing defenders and detractors to stir up controversy and keep viewers tuning in, no one is actually talking about why it’s generally acceptable to talk, or think about women like that in the first place. As a father of two daughters, one of whom is about to enter college, I’m more disturbed by the fact a man like Trump has so many supporters who think so little of women.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says one in five women will be raped within their lifetimes. One in ten has been raped by an intimate partner within her lifetime. A whopping 43.3 percent of heterosexual women have reported sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes. The same holds true for 46.4 percent of lesbians and 74.9 percent of bisexual women.
When I told my editor how disturbed I was to learn that 51% of men said they would rape a woman if they could get away with it, in a recent article I wrote, she told me she was not surprised. Her lack of alarm left me feeling sick to my stomach. Are women so used to seeing, hearing, and experiencing sexual abuse expressed toward them that it is expected?
Researcher Sarah Edwards, et al, noted that while most men agreed that rape was wrong, they didn’t see coercing someone into unwanted sexual activity as rape, or necessarily wrong. Donald Trump’s admission to forcing himself on someone, by trying to kiss her, or “grabbing their p***y,” he, and apparently Billy Bush, doesn’t think of this as the same as raping someone. It is just the privilege they get for being stars, or so Trump said.
While we talk about equal pay for women, family leave, and gender equality, some people haven’t gotten past seeing women as property, or objects for some man’s personal amusement. Basic human recognition hasn’t been achieved in certain parts of the country, let alone human dignity.
There are two issues here: one is education, and the other is addressing the unnerving fear some men feel about losing control of their power. Most of the negative feelings we have for others who are not like us are based on ignorance and fear. We make assumptions about people groups because we don’t know any better. The beliefs we’ve been taught are often handed down to us. Even in light of strong evidence to the contrary, we tend to react by how we feel.
Gender equality doesn’t make men any less men than marriage equality makes heterosexual married couples any less married. It simply levels the playing field giving women equal rights, equal pay, and equal respect.
Writer Josephine Yurcaba said, “Many men often equate feminism with misandry, which is an ingrained prejudice against men. Feminism, on the other hand, is a movement that seeks to achieve gender equality. Sure, many feminists become frustrated with men who insist on telling women that feminism is unnecessary, but I’d say most feminists don’t harbor a deep, hell-fiery hate of all men or laugh maniacally while sitting alone at home reading The Second Sex.”
Trump, and his excuse-giving ilk, wants to set the country back by decades. In a recent response to his offensive words, some of his supporters are calling for a repeal of the 19th amendment, in which women were given the right to vote. If they can’t get them to do what they want – in or out of the bedroom – they must be silenced, oppressed, and dismissed liked children. Trump and his ideologies aren’t the problem, as they see it, it’s women.
The issue isn’t about making Donald Trump apologize or explain his behavior. He has proven he is incapable of apologies and his explanations are mere excuses. Like smacking a dog with a newspaper for getting into the garbage, the dog may feign regret, but he’ll do it again as soon as he’s home alone and has access to garbage. Trump has shown us who he is. There is no point in calling him out, or dwelling on the psychotically impulsive behavior he has proven he simply can’t control.
America, with all its wealth and technology, doesn’t seem much further along than third-world countries when it comes to how women are viewed. The fact that someone like Donald Trump has gotten as far as he has, spurred on by millions of militant, mindless followers, leaves a rather bleak view of women’s rights and their future status. We should all be concerned.
Originally Published on Huffington Post