Saturday, October 8, 2016

Readers Write: "It's Not About His 'Lewd' Language. It's About His Sexually Assaulting Women and Boasting About It"

In response to my posting yesterday that sought to capture how Twitter lit up following the release of the tape containing the filthy remarks of the Republican candidate for the White House about his sexual assaults on women, readers made some very sharp, valuable comments about how this discussion should be accurately framed:

It's not about his "lewd" language. It's about his sexually assaulting women and boasting about it. Lewd, Gross, and Sexist are all true but not the important part. The important part is the casual discussion of his habit of sexually assaulting women. His comments remind me of the rape ring recently busted here. To them, giving women an opportunity to consent is seen as a tactical mistake.

And then Alan added

It's not about his "lewd" language. It's about his sexually assaulting women and boasting about it.

I agree. Here are excerpts from some good commentary I've read in the past evening and morning making this same point:

Some media are already calling out Trump's self-described actions as descriptions of sexual assault. In covering Trump’s remarks, networks must go beyond a simple characterization of the comments as “lewd” or “vulgar,” and focus on the fact that Trump appears to be talking about imposing himself physically on women without consent.

In Trump's world, women are objects ― objects that only hold a value based on how physically attractive he personally finds them to be. And if women are objects, rather than whole human beings, it follows that Trump must deserve them. Women are things. And when he wants them, he wants them.  
As he says to Bush: "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." 
This is what rape culture looks like. 

Trump boasted of kissing women and touching their genitals without their consent. In much of the country, including those states in which Trump lives and works, that is sexual assault. And if he was telling the truth on tape, he could have been prosecuted and imprisoned for a considerable amount of time. That should be the story we discuss this weekend—not the acceptability of his "locker room banter."

In an election in which no individual outrage seems to matter, it’s possible that this one might. It’s not just that we have further evidence of what sort of person Trump is. Trump’s words sounded an awful lot like cavalier boasts about sexual assault. They’re particularly disturbing when you consider that Jill Harth, the makeup artist who accused Trump of attempted rape in a 1997 lawsuit, said that Trump grabbed her sexually. Ivanka Trump defended her father by insisting that the man she knows is 'not a groper.' Now we know that Trump himself says otherwise. It is thus not just legitimate but imperative that journalists ask Trump what he meant by "Grab them by the pussy." Luckily, there is a debate on Sunday.

This is a good moment to remember: long before the 2016 election cycle got under way one woman, his estranged wife, had accused Trump under oath of raping her and another had accused him, again under oath, of sexual assault and attempted rape.

But no principled, Christian conservative can justify backing a thrice married, serial philander who essentially confessed to sex crimes. However, this race was never about principle. It was never about Republican themes like small government, personal responsibility or family values. From the start, Trump's campaign has been predicated on sexism (and ethno-nationalistic racism). It is and always has been about white male resentment and anguish. Trump bottled that antipathy—for women and minorities— and put it on a chartered flight to Iowa.

I would apologize for the coarse language, but it's not my language. The man being put forward by one of our two major political parties is the man from whose mouth it has issued — and, all things considered, why shouldn't we hear the unvarnished words as we consider him for that office and listen to white Christian leaders assure us that God has anointed him to lead us?

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