I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to do another damn story about the Trump tapes. But I just couldn’t let it pass, not when friends and strangers were posting stories about their sexual assaults for the first time after hearing him. I’ve shared mine before, so that’s not what I’m writing about.
I’m sure almost any woman reading this has experienced something similar. Considering the frequency with which it happens, I don’t think I’m generalizing. You’ve read a zillion stories by now about Donald Trump bragging to former “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush about kissing women without their consent and grabbing them by their genitalia.
You’ve also probably read a bunch of responses defending Trump, dismissing it as locker room talk and no big deal. For someone who frequently writes about dragons and people with superpowers, believe me, this is the far more fantastical statement.
Or is it? I couldn’t believe what I was watching this weekend at the debate. A man who thinks he’s qualified to run the country said talking about women that way — in a professional setting, no less — and joking that sexual assault was no big deal.
I have read comment after comment about how we should just “deal with it,” because that’s what men are like. I refuse to believe that, despite my past and the pasts of many women in the world. We should strive to be better than our baser natures.
You know what? I love chocolate. I love salt. I think chocolate-covered pretzels are the perfect food. I want to eat them all day long.But you know what? I don’t get to, because there are consequences. I don’t get to punch the hell out of that guy who I just saw cut in front of an old lady in line. I don’t get to. I can talk to him, but I don’t get to punch him, as satisfying as that would be. Sure, I have freedom of action and speech, but there are consequences to both of those things. Or there should be.
You know why? We tell kids that they can do or be anything. We hold up becoming president one day as the example of the highest goal they can achieve. Our kids look up to the president. When I was a kid, I was excited to hear about President Reagan. I knew nothing about his politics and completely disagree with them as an adult, but as a kid, I looked up to him.
If Trump gets elected, there are going to be kids who look up to him, too. This behavior of his? Bragging about sexually assaulting women, blatantly lying about things that are right there on Twitter or recorded by cameras? These things become acceptable. As someone who has spent years dealing with nightmares about my assault, like almost every woman I know, I beg you to see reason. This is no longer about politics. This is about the future. This is not a role model. This is a monster.