”You bragged that you’ve sexually assaulted women, do you understand that?” Anderson Cooper asked Donald Trump just a few minutes into Sunday night’s presidential debate.
“Yes I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it,” Trump responded. “But it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things, I will knock the hell out of ISIS… We should get on to much more important things, and much bigger things.”
Cooper, along with co-moderator Martha Raddatz, continued to push the GOP candidate regarding recently leaked comments about women from a 2005 recording in which Trump can be heard saying he “grabs them by the pussy” and “just kisses” women without waiting for their consent.
After admitting he was “embarrassed” by his comments, Trump hustled through a bizarre and downright offensive topic shift to terrorism and ISIS.
“This is locker room talk,” Trump repeated on his way to a completely unrelated subject, adding: “When we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads and frankly drowning people in steel cages. When you have wars and horrible, horrible sites all over. Where you have so many bad things happening, this is like medieval times. We haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the world.”
He then plugged his campaign slogan, but with a new twist: “We’re gonna make America safe again,” he said. “We’re gonna make America great again.”
Yet with this tasteless transition, what Trump and his advisors failed to consider is that brushing off lewd, misogynistic and abusive comments about women as “locker room talk,” is ― full stop ― making America less safe.
American women are unsafe as long as ISIS and men like Donald Trump (who perpetuate rape culture with “locker room talk”) exist in the world. Lest Trump forgot, rape is a weapon of war used by many around the world ― including ISIS. Sexual objectification of women is not a distraction from global violence, it’s a tool of global violence.
Trumps words are not keeping me or any other woman in this country safe by saying he “can do anything” to us without our consent. He is not “making America safe again” by negating sexual assault under the guise that he wants to discuss “more important” and “bigger things” such as ISIS and terrorism abroad.
Preventing sexual assault in this country is no less important than preventing terrorism or stopping ISIS.
When Trump flippantly excuses his misogynistic comments as “locker room talk,” he is reminding every survivor of sexual assault that their voices don’t matter; he insists that their stories and their bodies and their lives don’t matter.
Trump moving on to “bigger things” recalls the same deep disregard for women as a a judge telling a survivor they don’t want to ruin her rapist’s “promising” or “successful” future. Trump using ISIS as a “more important” issue than rape, is another reminder to survivors to not come forward with their stories because no one will care, much less believe them.
Trump’s comments are blatant proof that women and our bodies are thought of as second-class citizens.
To “make America safe again,” Mr. Trump, you must include all of her population, half of whom are women.