In the weeks since the 2005 Donald Trump/Bill Bush audio leaked where Trump describes forcing himself on and groping women, you’d be hard-pressed to find a political headline that doesn’t mention sexual assault.
These sentiments from Trump are clear depictions of society’s problems with consent and rape culture, because his defense is that talking about forcefully groping a woman is just locker room talk. That proves that his mindset – and the mindset of many is that women are more objects that people.
The media, politicians and other critics and commentators are spending a lot of time trying to define whether or not Trump was describing sexual assault in that audio and if the recent accusations against him are “actually” of sexual assault.
So let’s define it – sexual assault is ANY sexual behavior or contact that happens without EXPLICIT consent.
Trump is facing accusations of actually doing exactly what was describe in that leaked audio, kissing and grabbing women with no consent. In the audio, he says because he’s famous you can do whatever you want, and viewing a woman and her body as an activity solely for your pleasure is objectification.
Viewing a woman as a sexual object is often done subconsciously, and is reinforced to men in society because of the gender roles and discrepancies that have developed in our culture. So some people probably don’t think comments like that are describing sexually assault because it isn’t the violent, man jumping out of the bushes rape image. But sexual assault and rape comes in many different forms, and when the happening and its effects are denied or invalidated, it invalidates the human experience of that victim.
Rather than just talking politics politics, this media coverage is doing a decent job of defining what this story is actually about; the normalization of sexual assault and objectified views of women and their sexuality. The controversy is still stirring though, and as it unfolds it is important to remember that a feminist perspective on this helps us see the bigger issue in how this candidate and those who describe th behavior a certain way subscribe to the societal objectification of female sexuality.