In light of the accusations made against Donald Trump, society is once again buzzing about sexual assault and the stigma that surrounds it. It seems that every so often, a sexual assault case gets brought into the spotlight and people talk about it, but nothing ever changes. Rich white men are still getting away with these terrible acts and women who speak out are shamed and left without closure or support. Why is this happening? When will there finally be justice?
Trump on Trial
No, Trump isn’t on trial. But he should be.
Recently, a tape was exposed where we could clearly hear Trump speaking with Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women. He said that he wanted to force a kiss on the celebrity they were about to meet and that since he was famous, he can “grab them by the pussy”. “Them” being anybody that he wanted.
Since then, people have been talking about the other allegations against Trump in terms of his inappropriate acts against women. He has been accused of rape, groping women, kissing women without their permission and making sexist comments towards women. There are now lists of women that Trump has allegedly harassed.
And yet, Trump just participated in his third presidential debate. Trump is fighting to be the President of the United States, when he should be fighting in a courtroom to not be in jail. This situation is at the heart of the problem with sexual assault in our country and sadly, there are countless other similar situations that deserve to be discussed.
The Other Clinton
Trump has been debating against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President. However, her husband, Bill Clinton, also has a shady past that isn’t that unlike Trump’s. Hillary’s campaign should not be affected by her husband’s actions, but his actions can contribute to our list of white men who are getting away with terrible things.
Many women accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault years ago, and they are now reemerging as the spotlight is once again on the Clinton family. There is also the famous case of Monica Lewinsky, which was a consensual relationship, but still one of infidelity. These accusations of Bill Clinton were somehow covered up and brushed under the rug when he was President. Why? Because he was the President. He was the most powerful man in the world. Of course a few women who had the potential to ruin his career were somehow kept quiet.
Donald Trump and Bill Clinton both set an example to men and women in this country. To men, they are an example that sexual assault is okay and that you’ll probably get away with it. To women, they say that there is no use in speaking up and reporting sexual assault since nothing will happen anyway.
That’s Not All, Folks
The most recent case of sexual assault that went viral and didn’t include a celebrity was the Stanford rape case. Brock Turner was accused of raping a girl at Stanford University and found guilty on three charges of rape. His sentence should have been years. He got out of jail in three months. In an attempt to shorten his sentence, his father wrote a letter to the judge saying that “his life will never be the one that he dreamed about … That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action”.
And the Turner family is … you guessed it, rich and white.
20 minutes of action? What if, instead, we called it 20 minutes of traumatic violence that the victim will replay over and over for years to come? 20 minutes that have reduced her to an object and made her question her worth as a human being? 20 minutes of white male privilege?
Brock Turner, along with thousands of rich white men across the country, got away with sexually assaulting a woman. It’s time to stop this cycle. Any man who commits an act of sexual assault should be punished. Whether it be Donald Trump or a freshman in college. Sexual assault needs to be seen as a crime. People need to start understanding the shame, hurt and pain that women experience as a sexual assault victim.
Coming forward as a victim is hard, especially in a society that likes to victim shame. It’s even harder when you know that you might have to sit through a trial and then see your attacker walk away with a slap on the wrist. We live in a society of white male entitlement and it’s time for that culture to end. It’s hard to see that happening in the near future, but if we keep talking about it and fighting for what is right, maybe we can eventually get there. Maybe we can live in a world where Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Brock Turner all share a jail cell.
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