When it comes to human rights, words can have a lot of power

Should Donald Trump’s comments be written off as “locker room talk”?

Keely Carolan, Staff Reporter
Originally published November 21, 2016

The nation was astounded by the recently leaked tapes featuring Donald Trump making incredibly crude and disrespectful comments about women. Although can anyone really be surprised by him at this point? The business man/reality TV star-turned-politician essentially bragged about sexually assaulting multiple women he’s come into contact with over the years on a tape from back in 2005.

Naturally, this caused a variety of reactions among American voters, swaying the support of many people. He brushed off what he said to be so-called “locker room talk,” giving no hint that he understood how such comments can actually be quite harmful to how women are treated in our society.

Infographic created by Chris HollandQuestion 1: Do you think Donald Trump’s questions about women should be considered “locker room talk”? Question 2: Do you think that this portrayal of his character is a reflection of his legitimacy as a candidate…

Infographic created by Chris Holland

Question 1: Do you think Donald Trump’s questions about women should be considered “locker room talk”?
Question 2: Do you think that this portrayal of his character is a reflection of his legitimacy as a candidate?
Question 3: Are Donald Trump’s comments something you would ordinarily hear in a locker room?

During the last presidential debate, Donald Trump was questioned as to whether or not he understood that he was essentially bragging about sexual assault, to which he initially replied to with denial, followed up with an apology. Then he somehow turned the conversation around to his plans for defeating ISIS.

It’s almost implausible how someone is able to make so sharp a subject change when asked such a direct question, but somehow Trump managed to do it. It is surprising how someone who is so prominent in the public eye is able to speak so freely, and with such disrespect, without consequences.

Later in an interview with CNN, Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, defends her husband’s actions, calling it “boy talk”. She says she was surprised by what he said, but that her husband wasn’t aware that he was being recorded and even going so far as to blame the host of the show, Billy Bush, for egging him on.

It is unclear whether or not Melania really means what she says here. What was intriguing about this interview is how Melania, as a woman, could bring herself to defend someone whose comments contributed to a toxic ideology that ultimately affect her in a negative way.

The Trump couple have both denied that the actions Donald described in the recording were sexual assault, using various excuses and scrambling for answers as interviewers questioned them on the subject. Multiple women have come forward since Access Hollywood released the tapes, accusing Trump of sexually assaulting them.

Cases span over a time period of about thirty years. It is surprising how anyone can deny these allegations considering the offensive comments he made.

This situation perfectly portrays how rape culture has become normalized in our society. While there have been 15 or more women who have come forward about Trump sexually assaulting them, no legal action has been taken to properly deal with a person who has committed such crimes thus far.

But in a world where victims of rape and assault are repeatedly blamed for what’s happened to them, it’s no surprise that these people are the only few whom have come forth with their stories.

The unfortunate truth is that it’s not likely these women will ever see justice for the crimes committed against them. Trump will easily be able to just wave around wads of money and silence the victims, like he does with any sticky situation he gets himself into.

By no means is this a morally right way to go about things, but that’s the way the criminal justice system has come to work nowadays. People are paid to keep quiet, and the facade continues.

Through all of this, voters had to decide for themselves whether or not they believe Trump is fit to run the country. While America boasts of equality, the way this whole situation has been handled shows that we clearly have a long way to go. If the criminal justice system continues to victim blame and deny cases of sexual assault then such an environment will be sustained in our society.

By denying these cases we are saying that it’s ok to treat women without respect, that there are no consequences for sexual misconduct, and that women are valued less in our country. As a nation which prides itself on freedom and justice for all, we need to start taking sexual assault cases much more seriously. And if a man who is now going to be the president of the United States doesn’t see that, then we seriously need to reevaluate our current state of government.

Although Trump’s campaign seemed to be falling apart rapidly in the last few weeks leading up to the election, by some miracle he was able to pull through and win the presidency. Many of the American people lost sight of the fact that a cycle of devaluing human lives has been created in this system, and will only become more deeply rooted during Trump’s term.

Hillary won the popular vote by 202,340 votes, but ultimately it was the electoral college that determined the fate of our country. Nonetheless, it is frightening to see what a vast number of people were, and are, truly in support of such a hateful person. Now Americans stand fearfully on the sidelines, watching and waiting to see what will happen next.