Donald Trump bragged that he can grab the genitalia of women and get away with it because he’s a star. Weeks before the election women came forward with their accounts of being assaulted by Trump. On November 8th, 2016 he became heir to the throne. We’ve had sexual misconduct by men who would become president before. The difference with Trump is he bragged about it on camera and was still elected.
What does the election of a man who seems to be very proud of his misconduct to the most powerful office in the land mean for women domestically and worldwide? As a man I can listen to the fears and concerns of women but I cannot know how it feels in their hearts. The election of Trump amplifies a pattern that runs throughout human history. What’s to come from this depends on our response.
I wrote an opinion piece directly before the election asking what it would take for voters to abstain from the circus of our national presidential election. In it I made the following argument:
Some will argue that among our choice of candidates, that if one particular individual ascends to the throne over the other that suffering will increase upon the most vulnerable in our society and so we must do our part to make sure that doesn’t happen. If we really cared about the most vulnerable we would be doing something other than voting – or whatever we’re currently doing – to truly and realistically address their needs. Please don’t cloak our inaction by claiming our vote is really an act of justice.
Those of us who like to believe that we fight and stand for justice are now faced with the stark reality that we may have to actually act. Women have been living in a rape culture since the beginning of human history. Donald Trump places this fact directly in our faces and sets it at our feet. Now it seems some of us have fully awakened. So how have we initially responded? We are blaming those who abstained, voted third-party or voted for Trump himself. We ignore the thousands of years prior to this election cycle when we did nothing. Now all of the sudden we are concerned? Those of us who consider ourselves radical and pointing out the root of our problems are some of the worst offenders. We’re experts in rhetoric but when it comes to putting our feet on the ground and sacrificing our own safety … well, crickets.
I’m as guilty as anyone.
I speak and write about all kinds of issues (L), including patriarchy and misogyny. So what? Yes, these issues need to be discussed and brought up in public forums but they also need physical action. What would it look like? Good question. There have been been no mass movements (by the millions) in all of human history by men in support of women. Not one.
So here we are entering 2017 on the cusp of a presidency of an admitted sexual predator and still we are clueless. We remain clueless because in our heart of hearts we still don’t know or understand how enormous our actions (or lack thereof) are for women. We who have never assaulted a woman are as big as a problem as those who have. We have let them get away with it. We are as complicit as they are.
Our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, nieces, daughters, spouses and friends have suffered and continue to do so because we have either been the monsters in their lives or did nothing to stop those monsters. Until we put a stop to it we are simply perpetuating the biggest crime ever committed on humanity. Can we live with that? At this point I think our answer is crystal clear.
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