Towards the end of the recent presidential election season, a string of women came out publicly to describe their inappropriate encounters with Donald Trump. He all but validated their allegations with his derogatory remarks towards women throughout his presidential campaign, coupled with the leaked tape of him bragging about getting away with sexual assault as a perk to being rich and famous.
None of this seems to faze his core supporters, including the religious right, and I think I know why; maybe not the entire “why,” but at least part of it. This whole issue is exposing one of America’s deepest and darkest societal flaws that have gone unaddressed and unresolved for far too long. It has become socially acceptable for men to use their power and authority to manipulate and take advantage of the most vulnerable among us. This behavior has surfaced in many ways, both subtle and obvious. I personally believe it is the root cause of much of the emotional and social dysfunction that plagues our society.
I am amazed at the number of women I’ve met who have been violated by men in some way. No matter how extreme or mild the incidents, many women have been forced to live in a space where it’s hard for them to trust others out of a fear of being taken advantage of. Some, on one extreme, were raped by the men who were supposed to be their protectors. Some, if not all, are belittled and objectified by men on a daily basis.
As men, we should become aware of the fact that we have failed as defenders, possibly in our over pursuit of being providers. To put it in simpler terms, an unsolicited advance on a woman is tantamount to stealing something from her that has been reserved for a special person at a special time.
“No matter how extreme or mild the incidents, many women have been forced to live in a space where it’s hard for them to trust others out of a fear of being taken advantage of. Some, on one extreme, were raped by the men who were supposed to be their protectors. Some, if not all, are belittled and objectified by men on a daily basis.”
Now that Trump is president, I am even more amazed by the hordes of people who are willing to brush the accusations of him off as unimportant, or insignificant. This is testimony to the fact that many of us have accepted rape culture and misogyny as normal behavior. I believe that those who are attempting to explain this away validate anyone who ever engaged in date rape, sexual assault, or any other disrespectful activity that hides in plain sight disguised as “boys being boys” or “locker room antics.” We all need to identify this deviant behavior as sexually predatory and criminal, and deal with it as we would with any other societal problem.
If nothing else, Donald Trump has brought to the light a deep dark secret of our society that has been overlooked and marginalized since the beginning. Hopefully, this will force us to have open conversations that will lead to healing and change. Or perhaps I’m a bit too optimistic.