DISCLAIMER: All of the views expressed in this article are solely my own, and do not represent the entirety of the staff at VocaLady Magazine.
I am not the first to write about your recently unearthed comments from 2005. I am sure I will not be the last. But that’s not what this letter is about. On Sunday night, I watched Anderson Cooper ask you if you knew what those words meant. He asked if you understood sexual assault. If you understood your own dialogue, the kind you call “locker room talk” that most women in this country have heard whispered around corners, and yelled across bars and clubs. I watched Anderson Cooper ask if you knew what those words meant.
Then you started talking about ISIS. You talked about Hillary’s husband and his torrid affairs. You told the world, with all its watching eyes, that you would be the best president we had ever seen. I’m sure you’ll understand my disbelief, and my immediate reaction of launching kettle corn at my TV screen.
Mr. Trump, I could look up “Donald Trump’s comments about women”, and while the forefront of the search would show the same headlines, I could find lists upon lists of your abhorrent views of women over the years: that women featured on your reality show, The Apprentice, only succeeded due to sex appeal; that you would sexually assault your daughter, if only you had not been her father; that sexual assault’s prevalence in the military is a necessary evil when allowing men and women to serve together. I could pull quotes out of your own mouth until we both got red in the face. But tonight, I watched you tell Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz that you have nothing but respect for women.
One out of every six women in America have been victims of rape or sexual assault. That means one out of every six women who watched you tonight have lived through the attacks that you use as punchlines to highlight your competency to hold the highest office in the land. And as much as I’d like to debate your credentials, that’s not the point of this letter. The point is that one in six women were forced to relive their trauma when you used it as a sound bite to repeat over and over. Tonight, you talked about women as if we only exist in a theoretical sense, as if one of them was not standing on that stage with you on equal ground.
Mr. Trump, I wonder if you know what rape culture means. I would like to know if you understand the context that your words are surrounded in, in this day and age. I am aware that most of your controversial comments were made in a world where they weren’t as contested. But they were still said in at least one year when 190,000 women were raped. That was the same year when you said that you can grab a woman by her genitals because your name is on buildings. And you knew you could get away with it, but honestly, it was not for the reasons that you think. It wasn’t because of your fame, or even your fortune. Most sex offenders don’t have those credentials, but they commit their crimes all the same.
You got away with it all those years ago because we lived in a culture that allowed rape and sexual assault to go unreported. We lived in a culture that allowed women to take a lower rank than men in most situations, like the classroom or the debate stage. In case it hadn’t already been proven by reports and real life, you have shown it to me time and time again by speaking over Hillary Clinton when she dares to defy you. You got away with it because we lived in a culture that told women they could be objectified at men’s own will. And I may not have quotes from 2005 on the subject, but it seems awfully similar to your comments when you call women “animals” and rate them on their appearances for personal gain. You got away with it because we lived in a culture that told women we must be attractive and desirable to matter. This was a trend that you latched onto, and several different articles and videos show me that you like demeaning women by telling them they owe their jobs to their biology.
Mr. Trump, you like rape culture. You thrive in a society that agrees with your views of women, and it used to work for you when you were nothing more than the caricature of a businessman who represented decadence in modern America. But sir, you are becoming increasingly outdated. And, you are unfortunately mistaken. The destructive culture that wracked American women’s early fight for feminism is in its downward spiral. You are speaking to a world of women with wounds to show you about what your attitudes really mean for the realities we face. You thought you could fix the problem by inviting women assaulted by Bill Clinton after his presidency. Mr. Trump, you assumed we would link Hillary’s husband’s actions to her—which was a mistake on your part. But worse, you seem to ironically think that those women will protect you. They only highlight your shortcomings with about half of the country’s population. You are so detached from the plight of women in America, I find it almost comical to believe that you would continue my fight for gender equality in the White House. I find it funny that you believe all of these things constitute respect for women.
Mr. Trump, this election is the most significant battle for women’s rights activists in history. This November, we will either elect the first female president in American history—and surely not the last—or we will elect a man who has confessed to sexually assaulting women. We will elect a man who not only condones rape and sexual assault, but encourages it in society as a natural part of life. We will elect a man who represents everything that I am fighting against. I will be voting in my first presidential election this November. And I can assure you, Mr. Trump, that you will not have my vote. I’m sure I could justify that with a long discussion of your political views, but all I need to know is that you will never view me as a voter. You will only ever view me, an American woman, as another conquest for you to recap later in the locker room. And that is not someone who will ever deserve a place in the White House.
Photo Credit: Cover.