I have spent many hours thinking about the words I will use here. If this post offends you, it should. It is offensive that this even has to be written, but it does.
We have all had to suffer through a long and tormented election process, but this is nothing compared to the suffering of women who have suffered a sexual assault. In perhaps the most stunning moment of his campaign, Mr. Trump was outed for the misogynist he is. Despite the lewd and vulgar comments he made to Billy Bush on a "hot" mic discussion, and on many other occasions, people still support him. Worse, WOMEN still support him.
Let me be clear here: Real women with any sense of self, any sense of sisterhood, would never support this sexual predator as the next president.
1. The statistics on sexual harassment and/or assault are staggering. Two of every three females in the United States will have suffered some from of sexual abuse or assault by the age of 18. Even if you are in the lucky 33.3% of females who hasn't been victimized (I am not), you know many women who have been. From the shame of being groped by strange men or boys, to blatantly having ones breasts stared it, to hearing sexist comments about our bodies, to being raped, many of us don't talk about it because we are ashamed we didn't stand up for ourselves. We have tried to put it behind us. If many of us are just starting to talk about it, it is because it is now part of a national discussion.
2. It is NOT just locker room banter. The kind of talk on the tape released by the Washington Post is not just lewd, it is competitive, and the gist is that the more powerful and important you see yourself as a man, the more you can get and the easier it is with regard to females. As a woman, you have to be aware that every time you step outside of your own home, you, your looks, your body, everything about you is up for free evaluation, for judging, shaming, or being used. Your mind, your thoughts, your education, and accomplishments mean nothing to some of the men you will encounter. You are nothing more than an object to admire or ridicule. Men who engage in locker room banter often try to act upon it, and see what they can get away with because it is a challenge. You and your body are his challenge.
3. If you think you have never been hurt by words like these, think again. Of course you have been hurt by words like these! Words like these are why you can't stand up for yourself without being called a bitch. Words like these are why any emotional outburst is met with "must be on the rag" instead of taken seriously. It why even an overweight female physician will critique your weight in the exam room. It is also why you are paid 73 cents for every dollar a man makes. It is why you are discredited at every turn, and treated like a second class citizen. It is why you work all day, come home and work the second shift of housework and childcare with little if any help from your spouse, if you have one. This is so pervasive in American society, I'm not surprised you can't see it. If you are dismissing this as "boys will be boys" you are perpetuating your own status as less than a man, and you are blind to the truth.
4. Yes, the orange buffoon offered an apology. It was conditional, highly conditional, at best. He said "if" anyone was hurt or offended. That "if" makes it conditional. If I were to punch you in the nose and break it, and I said "sorry 'if' I hurt you" would that be an apology? Of course I f--ing hurt you! I broke your nose, and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it; I inflicted pain. A true apology is a heartfelt acknowledgement of wrong doing. Even when an apology is appropriate, it doesn't fix anything. Whatever was broken is still broken. A public, unipygic apology doesn't take away from the pain of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault. Those of us who have suffered these highly distressing events know that no apology is going to make up for our suffering.
5. Diminishing what was said on the aforementioned tape is, in fact, diminishing yourself as a human being, as a woman, as an American citizen. It is stating that you don't mind being viewed as an object. It is acknowledging that you do not value your education, your experience, your accomplishments, or even your very own worth. You not only see yourself as having no value, you don't see value in other women either. You are devaluing the experience of your sisters, girlfriends, aunts, mothers and perhaps even your daughters who have suffered at the hands of a sexual deviant. Shame on you. They need your support, the same way you would need their support if it happened to you.
It has to be said that not all men partake in this kind of lascivious, crude discussion. Many of them, no doubt, had a mother who would have washed their mouths out with soap if they had, or received the switch from fathers who know that real men don't act like this. Real men are respectful, decent human beings who would not denigrate women with such crass talk. Men, bless them, by and large will not be able to relate to anything I have said here because they are men, but a great many of them will speak up on the behalf of women and withdraw their support for the republican candidate because they care more about women than many women care about other women, or themselves, for that matter.
I care about a great many things, including racism, bigotry, hate talk, hate crimes, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, the right to a safe, legal abortion even though I personally consider it murder. I care about equal pay for women and minorities, fair housing for everyone, medical care for everyone, enough food for everyone. I think a lot of things are important, and I am not trying to diminish any of these things with some heavy feminist wording, but sexual crimes of power and entitlement reach across all lines, no matter one's religion, race, or socioeconomic standing. Being against this kind of talk and action should be a unifying force for all of us, men and women. So, what's your excuse for supporting it?