This was originally published at Missing Filter by Basic Pitch on October 17, 2016.
Well, this election season now has more in common with an episode of Flava Flav’s reality show than it does The West Wing.
According to audio released over a week ago, Donald Trump believes that because he is rich and famous he is justified in sexually assaulting women he finds attractive. In his words, women will allow him to just ‘grab them by the pussy’ because he is rich and he is famous. When people were rightfully aghast upon hearing the depraved audio, he brushed it off as “locker room talk”.
There are two undeniable truths revealed by this story that chills me to my very core. First, rape culture is alive and, based on the reaction of his supporters and surrogates, thriving. Second, because rape culture is not dying the death it deserves, he’s right. He and those who think like him can and will continue to grope women without consent without much fear of repercussion.
If you need proof of this, you don’t have to look far. His surrogates immediately took to the news stations to tell us it isn’t a big deal, it’s just how men are. We were told, as we have been since the beginning of time, that ALL men think this way and behave this way. “It’s just how guys are!”, they tell us as they chide us for being too sensitive. There is plenty of evidence that all guys aren’t this way but there is overwhelming evidence that enough of them are. It was those men, kicking back in their recliners as Rudy Giuliani, Curt Schilling, and plenty of elected Republicans made the rounds on the cable news shows, who now feel justified in every catcall, every inappropriate advance they make, every time they push themselves on a woman who is not giving enthusiastic consent.
They’ll continue to grope and paw at women too ashamed of what’s being done to them, too aghast to respond, and feel justified. To them, it’s why we exist. We are nothing but ornamental pets created for their sexual gratification and should feel fortunate that they noticed us. Our opinions will remain “cute” or bothersome, but never important and always unnecessary. The essential right to maintain autonomy over our own bodies will forever remain in question. They will continue to “give” us rights, as if they’re being generous, forgetting that they should have never been withheld. They will continue to require us to justify our right to our existence, our voices, our bodies, and our happiness.
We have to stop them. We have to stand up for ourselves because no one else is. We have to find our voices and use them. They can’t get away with it. Find allies, and surround yourself with people who see your worth. Speak out when you see or feel injustice. If you aren’t strong enough to speak out, surround yourself with those who are. We cannot continue to allow this.