Women who experienced sexual assault react to Donald Trump
‘Trump’s comments make me fear for my safety again’
Earlier this month, Donald Trump was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. “Grab them by the pussy,” he said on a video recorded in 2005, now seen and heard around the world.
He has tried to dismiss it as “locker room talk,” but Trump’s comments have really hit home among women who have experienced sexual assault and had it brushed off with the line: “Boys will be boys.”
So today, college women are speaking out about their experiences in response to Trump’s hot mic comments.
Gigi, University of Maryland
Personally, Trump’s comments made me look at him as an insecure, fucked-up individual with no morals or respect for humanity, because after all, women are humans too. I feel angry knowing some men, no matter how successful and powerful have these thoughts. When a person of authority who might be our president says these things, some guys might idolize it or see it as a casual joke. This just enforces men looking down on women.
Trump’s comment weren’t the worst part for me, it was the fact that I saw so many people agreeing with him, supporting him, and saying things like, “that’s how men talk!” and I feel like as long as there is support for those kinds of words, women will continue to live in fear of being assaulted. It makes me question the values of this country, and I really don’t want someone like that as president. Honestly, it made me feel like I’m not worth as much and I’m weak. I felt weak when I was assaulted and I feel weak now. I feel like some men see me as an object they can “grab” whenever, because they want to.
Maggie, Bucknell University
My biggest fear is that sexual assault will become normalized on college campuses. As someone who had a brief experience with it last year, Trump’s comments are utterly terrifying. My biggest concern is for young, impressionable boys growing up, hearing these types of comments and thinking they’re OK to act on once they get into college, the business world, etc. Along the same lines, I think young women need not hear comments like these, as it plays into the idea many women already struggle with, that is that women are just objects for men’s pleasure and disposal.
Taylor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Donald Trump’s comments filled my heart with fear, not only for myself, but more importantly for my children. I already live in a world where I have been targeted as a sexual object, because of my femininity, it is something I have unfortunately gotten used to, but I have higher hopes for my children. I hope my daughter never has to face her attacker on the streets, the way I have, and feel this resurgence of fear. I hope my son never thinks it’s OK to talk this way about women, because “boys will be boys.”
It’s overwhelming to think in a few years instead of moving forward with equality, we could be moving backwards, because this rape culture rhetoric is not only accepted but embodied by a presidential candidate. It makes me feel so small, and my feelings so unworthy of consideration, because people are defending this man who is defending one of the most horrible things that has happened to me, sexual assault. This kind of rhetoric is what keeps me from trusting men, and reminds me that because of my womanness I can never be safe from demeaning, sexualized comments about my body.
Mara, University of Dayton
Trump’s comments, and those who choose to continue supporting him in spite of his comments and actions, have made me feel, as a survivor: terrified, panicked, intensely depressed, angry, devalued, and small. I am so disgusted and disheartened that someone who could potentially be the leader of our country would think, feel, and believe that sexual assault is OK. It’s not something to be laughed at, brushed under the rug, taken lightly, or ignored. I am a trained peer educator for my university’s sexual assault prevention organization, and I know what a perpetrator looks like and sounds like.
Donald Trump is a perpetrator: he speaks like one, he behaves like one, he excuses his actions like one, and he “apologizes” like one. Someone like him is not fit to have a platform where his hate can spread far, quickly, and easily. Trump is a disgraceful excuse for a human, and I am so fearful of what other heinous ideas his rhetoric has and will inspire and perpetuate. My story, and the stories of countless of other men and women, are not unimportant. They are not false. They are not insignificant. They matter, and they need to be heard.
Shannon, University of Wisconsin-Madison
What upsets me the most about his comments is that he says it’s common, it’s just “locker room talk.” One of my obstacles after being assaulted was feeling comfortable around men again, even if they never gave me a reason to be scared. Trump’s comments make me fear for my safety again, and it’s terrifying to think that this could be the next four years of my life. His words and actions are propelling the idea that rape and sexual assault are OK. Being a white man of power, one who exhibits all of these negative attitudes towards women, will only encourage others that his actions are OK, that women are here to be objectified and touched.