There has recently been a lot of news coverage on Trump’s remarks made during a taped conversation that took place back in 2005. In this conversation, Trump crudely stated that he grabbed women by the genitals without their consent. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2014), sexual violence is defined as a sexual act that is committed or attempted by another person without freely given consent of the victim or against someone who is unable to consent or refuse. So by definition, Trump committed a sexual assault. An article by NPR stated that Trump’s remarks from the tape are being used as a textbook case study example of sexual assault. Trump defended himself by stating that this kind of language was just “locker-room talk” and that men speak like this all the time.
Do men really say things like this all the time? Is it a normal thing? This is an empirical question and one that we do not know the answer to yet. Many men – including some famous athletes — have publicly stated that this is not how they behave in locker rooms. Regardless, speaking like this – and more importantly behaving like this – should not be normalized.
‘Rape culture’ refers to the normalization of patriarchal social norms that objectify and demean women. ATSA (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers) released a statement saying that the normalization of sexual assault can affect future generations, with children growing up thinking that it is okay to to commit sexually violent acts against women. Young girls won’t think that it is wrong for others to touch them without their consent, as they too will grow up in a culture that normalizes sexual assault. They will also be less likely to report any abuse that they are subjected to and may even blame themselves for these incidents.
Whether it is normal or not, this type of behavior is not acceptable. Children ought to be raised in a society where everyone understands that it is not okay to touch others without their consent. If something good does come out of this scandal it will be that sexual violence against women is being discussed on a national level.