If ever there was a question about the existence of misogyny in the world in which we live, look no further than Donald Trump and his defenders. He is the epitome of the word, and when you add in sexist and racist, you have a perfect candidate, not for president, but head asshole in charge.
There are a lot of things that sicken me about this man, and I go back and forth as to the subject matter that does so the most. Right now, however, the fact that he and his supporters are questioning the reason why his accusers of sexual misconduct didn’t speak up sooner, definitely takes the cake. His dismissal and subsequent narrative of being the victim in all of this just proves how small of a man he truly is. Furthermore, it proves how unfit he is for the presidency.
A slew of women have come out to say, “Yes Donald Trump sexually assaulted me” in some form or fashion. Now, he wants people to feel sorry for him. He wants to know why these women didn’t stop him then and why now, all of a sudden, do they want to speak up about it? Only a man who calls his own daughter a “piece of ass” is this disgusting and callous.
I cannot list all of the reasons a woman would forgo saying anything about being sexually assaulted. For us, there are so many variables with potentially damaging outcomes to consider. This is a man’s world and as we maneuver our way through it in business and other dealings, the cards are already stacked against us. The men in positions of power who can negatively affect our quality of life understand that and thus their horrendous actions, too often, go unchallenged. According to a 2014 report by the Justice Department, “Eighty percent of rapes and sexual assaults against college women aren’t reported to police.” That is a staggering number. Instead of asking, “why” women don’t speak up, have enough human decency to understand all the things at stake if we do.
Recently, as more women have come forth about their unfortunate experiences with Trump, scores of women have taken to Twitter to share the reasons they didn’t say anything when faced with sexual abuse via the hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport. The comments ranged from, “Because I was a new 24-y-o reporter w/$30k in college debt and he was the publisher,” to “It was their relative, it was their boss, it was their friend, it was their teacher, it was unlikely they would be believed.” The reasons are real and they are valid.
You don’t get to ask why. You don’t get to judge women who have lost their dignity and a piece of who they are to the actions of filthy men. Nobody can shame these women for not saying anything all those years ago because they have lived with the memories of what happened to them. You don’t get to dismiss their feelings as opportunism or propaganda or a conspiracy to bring down Donald Trump’s campaign. He’s doing that all by himself. Sexual assault of any kind is damaging and no man accused of doing it or who is as open as Trump is about it, deserves to run this country. Period.
What this all comes back to and will always come back to is rape culture. In fact, rape culture is the very reason why women don’t report. Women are the ones placed in the hot seat and not the perpetrator of the violation. How did we ever get to this? How did this become the protocol for dealing with this issue? I will tell you how. Because men like Trump, with the power and the money to defend themselves against allegations that reveal who they really are, have total disregard for a woman’s right to say “no.” Their entitlement doesn’t afford them the proper sense of reality and thus, they act in really fucked up ways. The truly sad part is that victim blaming is not unique to America, as we have seen it happen all around the world.
In the face of dealing with sexual misconduct, the worst thing you can tell a victim is “deal with it.” But yet that is exactly what women are told to do in our society, especially when the motives behind their saying something are questioned. This kind of reaction almost instills in us, from a young age, that keeping quiet and suffering in silence is the best response to sexual misconduct.
The truth is, it is easy to say in these kinds of situations what one might do. But until an individual is faced with it, no one can say for sure what his or her response would be. So how can you tell a woman what hers should have been?
History has shown us several examples of what happens to women who accuse rich, prominent men of sexual abuse. For the most part, it has not turned out in their favor. But just because our system is step up to fail women, doesn’t mean it has to.