As everyone following the 2016 US election knows by now, Donald Trump is in damage control after a damning video was released by the Washington Post.
The video exacerbates the billionaire’s reputation for sexism and misogyny. In a 2005 conversation, Trump is heard talking in vulgar terms about kissing and groping women and using his celebrity and stature to get sex.
The most damning moment was his boast that he could: “Grab them by the pussy” adding that, “when you’re a star, they let you do it … You can do anything.”
Trump’s chances of winning the election were already slim and took a hammer blow in the aftermath of the comments. Senior Republicans have withdrawn their support including 2008 presidential nominee John McCain and Bush secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. There are even calls for Trump to be replaced as the GOP nominee, a move that would virtually assure they lose the White House but may preserve control of Congress.
While Trump has (sort of) apologised for the comments he also gave a very lame excuse. He claimed the comments were merely “locker room banter“.
As a general rule, I have very little time for men’s rights activists and the #NotAllMen crown. On this occasion, however, I did actually feel very insulted as a man. For women, hearing Trump’s explanation, the male locker room is probably a mysterious place where anything might happen.
I can only speak anecdotally here but for what it is worth, I have played a variety of sports right through school and my adult life, I’ve been to a bunch of buck’s nights, and dozens of lads’ night out. In all my experience, neither I, nor any of my male friends have ever made jokes about sexually assaulting women.
Sexual assault is not funny. It is a national tragedy and one of the most damaging yet under-reported crimes. In response to Trump’s comments, many women have taken to Twitter to express what it’s like when men feel entitled to “grab them by the pussy”.
It’s shocking to me in a way other things weren’t bc I’ve been harassed and even assaulted by men who speak that way. A lot of women have.
— Olivia Messer (@OliviaMesser) October 7, 2016
Trump has been desperate to present his comments as the sort of things all men say. It isn’t. It really honestly isn’t.
If you’re like “that’s just men being men” after listening to the #TrumpTapes it’s seriously time you get some new male friends.
— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) October 9, 2016
A producer from Trump’s reality show The Apprentice has claimed these comments are the tip of the iceberg and that there is far worse.
— Bill Pruitt (@billpruitt) October 8, 2016
Whatever happens, Trump must take ownership of his disgusting comments. It is simply not good enough to pretend that is the way all men speak about women in private. Women have every right to be offended and appalled but decent men everywhere should also stand up and say, that is not the way I talk, and it is not the way I want the President to talk.