The 2005 video, the section of the presidential debate in which they discuss it, and Trump’s “apology” video can be found at the bottom of the post.
Trigger warning: brief descriptions of sexual assault.
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When most people yell at the TV, they’re yelling at their sports team. When I yell at the TV, I’m yelling at presidential candidates. I had plenty to yell about, but let’s focus on the part that’s most relevant to this blog. You know which part I’m referring to.
Frankly, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I saw the 2005 video of Trump admitting to sexually assaulting women. I mean, this is a guy who’s already been accused of rape more than once (including his ex-wife, a business associate and a 13 year old girl).
In response to the video, he releases an “apology” video in which he apologizes only for what he said, not what he did. He also says “This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today.” Then, he spends more time talking about issues other than the 2005 video itself, trying to change the focus. What I hear is that he thinks that sexual assault is not an important issue and that the consequences of his actions do not matter. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it would be for his victims to hear. Imagine how it would feel for them to hear him not acknowledge what he’s done and the pain he’s caused. Imagine how it would feel to see that he’s not truly sorry, does not think he did anything wrong (I’ll discuss this more later) and to hear him bragging about what he did to them.
Before the debate, he held a press conference with the people who have accused Bill Clinton of rape. I don’t think he held that press conference because he cared about what happened to them. I think he’s trying to take the spotlight off of himself and attack Hillary Clinton (which is strange… because she is not her husband). I am appalled that he would use these survivors to benefit himself. In addition, back when the survivors first came forward, he was filmed saying “I don’t necessarily agree with his victims, his victims are terrible. He is really a victim himself.” Finally, on the day of the debate, he tried to have the survivors sit with his family so that Bill Clinton would need to shake hands with them afterward. If he really cared about the survivors, he would never put them in close contact with their abuser.
At the debate, this question came up within the first half hour:
Anderson Cooper: “Thank You Mr. Trump. The question from Patrice was about are you both modeling positive and appropriate behaviors for today’s youth. We received a lot of questions online Mr. Trump about the tape that was released on Friday, as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent and grabbing the genitals. That is sexual assault. You brag that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”
First off, kudos to Cooper for calling Trump’s behavior what it is: sexual assault.
Trump starts out his reply by first denying that he said those things at all… even though we have a video of it. Cooper then asks Trump repeatedly whether he sexually assaulted women even though Trump tried to steer them off subject a total of seven times. Eventually, Trump denied it despite proof of him confessing to the crime (and now two people have come forward, further contradicting him).
Then, he calls it “locker room banter” (which it’s not). As a survivor, it scares me that he tries to normalize his behavior. That’s a textbook example of rape culture.
He also used the word “embarrassed” to describe it. If he felt any remorse whatsoever for what he did, “embarrassed” wouldn’t be the word he used. He would say “ashamed.” What makes me extra sure that he doesn’t regret his actions is that two of the seven people who sexually assaulted me were truly sorry for what they did. I know what it looks like when someone does and doesn’t recognize that what they did was wrong.
If he felt any remorse, he would take full responsibility and actually apologize directly to the people he’s sexually assaulted (which he hasn’t done). He would do whatever it takes to make it right. He wouldn’t try to change the subject. He wouldn’t insist that he respects women (If someone sexually assaults women, brags about it, condones it and then denies it, they do not respect women). He especially wouldn’t say there are “much more important things and much bigger things.”
The scariest perpetrators are the ones who are confronted with their wrongdoing and then try to deny that they did anything wrong. They are the ones who are fully capable of doing it again and again.
As a survivor, it is heart wrenching to hear a man running for the most powerful position in the country admitting to sexual assault. And my heart breaks for his victims who are constantly hearing him deny what he did to them, show no remorse, and say that his words are not a big deal.
The 2005 video (trigger warning for descriptions of sexual assault):
Trump’s “apology” video:
Trump and Clinton discussing the above video at the second presidential debate:
Thank you for reading this article. My full backstory can be found here.