In the now infamous video, Donald Trump seems to admit his celebrity permits a certain pattern and practice of handling women. One thought entered my head the first time I watched it (sexual assault). But I didn’t say it aloud. Rather, within an hour my Facebook friends’ shock filled my feed, and endless female cable news pundits cited ways to apply legal definitions to his crude remarks. Then, prominent Republican politicians released statements disavowing their presidential nominee.
The consensus was building, affirming my view that Donald Trump had not only bragged about his perceived sexual prowess, but believed he could sexually assault any woman because he was none other than the great Donald Trump.
The Hot Mic Moment That Turned Trump’s Presidential Chances Upside Down
This all stemmed from Friday’s dump of some “B” roll captured during the filming of a 2005 segment for Access Hollywood, where co-host Billy Bush and Trump arrived to the NBC Studios grounds on a large tour bus. They either didn’t know their mics were live, or they assumed any conversations would be scrapped as unrelated. Speaking about Bush’s co-host on the show, Nancy O’Dell, Donald Trump said he ‘did try to f*ck her’. What about the fact that Trump had only months before married third wife Melania Trump, or that O’Dell was married? Irrelevant, apparently. The only thing that mattered was that Trump tried hard and was frustrated she wouldn’t have sex with him. Get ready for some slut shaming:
“I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said.. ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’ (laugh) I moved on her like a b*tch. I couldn’t get there. Then all-of-a-sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”
From Words to Action
As the bus rolled up to the building entrance, Billy Bush spotted the woman who was to give Donald Trump a tour of the Days Of Our Lives soap opera set. Trump:
“I better use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women. 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 ’em by the p*ssy. You can do anything.”
I thought about his daughter Ivanka Trump on camera just months ago, saying her father is not a groper and treats women with absolute dignity and respect. That was after a different woman claimed Mr. Trump tried to kiss her and groped her, before she ran fast out of his office. I can’t imagine the psychological damage Ivanka is dealing with, as a result of this.
Not The First Lewd Trump Comments Caught on Tape
Access Hollywood claims they have hundreds of hours of taped interviews with Donald Trump, many containing unaired crude moments like this. Several former contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ recently went public about Trump’s misogynistic behavior during filming, including while an assigned project was being completed. The reality TV participants said he referenced the behind of a woman on the team and asked the team’s two men if they’d like to ‘f**k that a**’.
The men said they were embarrassed for their teammate and for Mr. Trump, for whom they had great respect up until that point. They reportedly asked the show’s production company to release video of that particular occurrence and any other similar clips, a request that has been duplicated by many news organizations. Requests have gone unanswered.
Trump on Women’s Bodies: “You Can Do Anything”
While I don’t have a criminal justice or law degree, I have a brain and a heart. To use your position of power as permit to force yourself on anyone is sexual assault in my mind.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens thought so, too. In a statement about the 2005 Trump video, she said:
“What Trump described in these tapes amounts to sexual assault. Trump’s behavior is disgusting and unacceptable in any context, and it is disqualifying for a man who is running for president of this country.”
Bart Rossi, a political psychologist, told Policy.Mic that, “Trump has now demonstrated in public…that he is seriously disturbed. His own personality has destroyed him.”
[Warning: the next part of this article is troubling. If you have any history of sexual abuse or know someone who does, this could act as a trigger and you may want to stop reading here.]
A Canadian author named Kelly Oxford encouraged women to tweet their first sexual assault, to show Trump’s words weren’t simply hyperbolic ‘locker room banter’, as he claimed in initial responses to the video being leaked. As a result, Oxford shared her story to start.
“Old man on city bus grabs my ‘p*ssy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.”
Women Share How Sexual Assault Stayed With Them
Consequently, within minutes #grabbedbythepussy was trending on Twitter, which gave way to a very disturbing and very active #NotOkay. You can search them on Twitter and now, Instagram and Facebook.
“my bosses thought I “liked” it and didn’t step in…I had no idea how to handle that at the time. 15 & confused. #notokay”
Susan Elise @mittenzWhy
“in Italy with my family at an outdoor, crowded flea market. All of a sudden felt a hand go inside me. He was 60+, I was 17.”
One in particular struck me.
Angela Marie @Amdschaefer
“at 22 I finally told my mom I was assaulted. She said ‘I’m sorry, that’s what it means to be a woman’ #notokay”
I hope no one in Trump’s family has ever had to make that assertion.