Dear Donald, I Assure You That Sexual Assault Is Not 'Just Words'
I find it difficult to be surprised anymore by the things you say during your campaign, as I have come to expect vulgar and spontaneous comments. However, something you said during the presidential debate on Oct. 9 left an indelible mark on my memory:
“It’s just words, folks. It’s just words.”
The above quote was part of your remarks in response to the lewd Access Hollywood video that surfaced last week. In the video, you said things including:
“I moved on her actually. You know she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f**k her, she was married.”
“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”
Although I can imagine that this most recent “mistake” caused a major headache for your campaign team, this is no longer a political issue. Sexual assault is not a piece of legislation up for debate. One in every five women and one in every sixteen men are sexually assaulted in college alone, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. And that’s only the ones that are reported. The same report states that 63 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.
Definitions differ from state to state but, in general, sexual assault includes “any unwanted sexual contact, including fondling and molestation,” according the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico.
I assure you that sexual assault is not “just words.”
It is men like you that I live in fear of on a daily basis. The reason why I walk with pepper spray and keys in hand, why I am always overcautious if I am the only woman in a room. The fact that you minimized your remarks by stating they were “just words” and “locker room banter” not only downplays the severity of sexual violence, but also tells young men across the country that these words ― and the actions associated with them ― are acceptable.
I disagree with many of your policies, but policies can be worked on. What cannot be worked on is the misogynistic and sexist behavior that you have put on display not only throughout this campaign but throughout your career as a public figure. These remarks are not only inappropriate for a candidate for public office, but inappropriate for a decent human being.
So if, as you say, your words are “just words” and can’t (or shouldn’t) be taken seriously, then why should you as a presidential candidate be taken seriously?
A Strong and Proud Female College Student
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