If you have not heard about the Trump Tapes from last Friday, surely you’ve been living under a rock. The obscenity of his language limits how I can summarize this for you. Let’s see here. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, described, in great detail, his attraction to women — even when that attraction may not be mutual. He described forcing himself upon women, groping them even without express permission. What he described can be considered nothing short of sexual assault.
In a class the following Monday, a female student, who had long-expressed her eager support of Donald Trump, told the class that her support was not fazed by the Trump Tapes. Essentially, she conceded that they were disgusting comments, but that in high school she heard male students using language just as bad, so Trump should be cut some slack. She was resorting to the same argument her candidate had used in the debate the night before: this can all be chalked up to “locker room talk.’
Now, I was once a high school boy. I’ve been in my fair share of male locker rooms, I’ve witnessed countless conversations between boys about topics that have turned towards being sexual explicit and crass. I can unequivocally tell you the “locker room talk” I’ve heard has never ventured into Trump territory. Regardless, we should all be holding a man like Trump to a higher standard because he knows better (or should know better). There is a big difference between the chattering of a group of 17-year old boys and a 59-year old man like Trump admitting, or at least condoning, sexually assaulting women. I do not use the term “sexual assault” lightly — no one ever should. Yet, what Trump described in that tape was by definition sexual assault. Trump described using his star power to force himself upon women, kissing and groping them without their express consent. That is sexual assault. Period.
I think my biggest problem with this “locker room” talk logic is the acceptance of the problem. No woman should ever be so disrespected by any man — immature classmate or major party presidential nominee. Moreover, they should not feel like they have to brush off sexual harassment or put up with unwanted sexual advances. Just because other men engage in the same crude behavior as Mr. Trump does not in any way, shape, or form make it any better. Trump should not get off the hook for this one.
Sexual assault is a problem on college campuses and within the ranks of the military; it is a stigma that millions of women are forced to live with each day. We need a president that understands that there is a zero tolerance for this sort of disgusting behavior; not one who condones it and later refuses to acknowledge that he understands the magnitude of just how far he had gone. It does not matter if you are a man or a woman, if you are Republican or Democrat; you need to at least recognize that this is not okay and that something has to change. When I walk into that ballot booth in a few weeks, I’ll be keeping Trump’s words and behavior in mind when I’m voting — I truly hope you all think about the country we want to be and do the same.