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viewpoint

‘Locker room talk’

| Wednesday, October 12, 2016

As a student, I am excited for next semester when I will be interning and taking classes in Washington, D.C. As a political science major, I am fascinated by the current political environment and presidential race. As a woman, I am frustrated with the popularity of the Republic nominee. As someone who has experienced sexual assault, I am outright terrified.

On Sunday night, I turned on the debate and immediately felt nauseous. When Donald Trump stood in front of the nation and attempted to explain away his recently-released comments regarding sexual assault from 2005 as “locker room talk” and just “one of those things,” he was actively perpetuating rape culture. Sexism has been an issue for the entirety of our nation’s history, so how do we expect to continue our progress under the leadership of someone that is so blind to the needs of sexual assault and rape victims? Adding to my disappointment are the responses that include phrases like “as a husband” or “if it were my daughter,” because these imply that women are only important as they relate to men. Women are humans, as are all victims of sexual violence. That should be enough to make this a compelling case of disregard for human dignity.

So why should one comment from more than 10 years ago not be dismissed with a half-hearted apology? Why does this matter? The high school I attended committed a grave injustice by failing to teach their students about consent. I didn’t know my assault was an illegal criminal act until months after, and when I learned more, I still did not report for fear of backlash from my peers and the school administration. Look now at the rhetoric that has been used for generations to minimize experiences of sexual violence and create a conspiracy of silence regarding the severity of these issues. This is the very same rhetoric employed by Trump not only on Sunday, but throughout his life. When Trump refused to acknowledge that his comments are consistent with the definition of sexual assault, he sent the message that it is not an issue worth paying attention to, let alone fixing.

Even if you have not been personally affected by sexual violence, I ask that you look at your friends, classmates, family members and humans. Approximately 23 percent and 5.5 percent of undergraduate females and males, respectively, have experienced sexual assault, and over 60 percent of rapes and sexual assaults are never reported. A painfully high number of lives have been and will continue to be affected by acts of sexual violence. I am tired of saying and seeing this, and I know many of you are as well, but until these figures change, it is our moral obligation to our communities to continue speaking out.

This article is not meant to be about the presidential race in a political lens as much as it is about encouraging discussion regarding why and how we have allowed an individual with such ignorant, misogynistic rhetoric to reach perhaps the highest platform with the widest reach. We must identify our society’s flaws in order to fix them. Nobody will have all the solutions, but if there is no discussion, none will ever be formed.

With that, I don’t ask for your political allegiance or your vote. When I was watching the debate and feeling the knots in my stomach tighten, I knew I was not the only one. There are thousands of people that felt the same way and are not in a position to speak out. For that reason, I write this article to ask instead for your empathy and critical discussion on behalf of every individual affected by sexual violence that is equally as terrified as me.

Annabelle Goese

junior

Oct. 10

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • Annabelle, So sorry for your experience, especially the fact about you being silenced in your high school – sadly, as you write, this is not uncommon. Such actions by anyone – teacher/counselor, priest, police, etc. – or any entity – school, church, law enforcement – are, in a way, the graver sin, one of extreme and conscious commission as well as omission.

    There are no excuses, no rationales for denigration.

  • Herman Goodfellow

    Ted Bundy just endorsed Donald Trump. This will solidify his supporters.

  • Herman Goodfellow

    Knute Rockne said “win one for the gipper”
    Donald Trump said “win one for the GROPPER”

  • @herman_goodfellow:disqus You may think your comments are “witty”, and you may in fact be suggesting that one candidate running for the presidency is unfit to do so based on past actions, but your “witty” comments to such a serious, heart-felt letter from a young person who still experiences trauma from an event so recent in her life are dismissive of that person’s experience, which is exactly Annabelle’s purpose in writing – her having been “dismissed” as to what happened to her.

    A public apology to Annabelle on your behalf is in order.

  • warmupthediesel

    If your article wasn’t meant to be about the presidential race, you should have also mentioned Hillary’s being complicit with her husband’s assaults/rapes etc. She’s even more dangerous than Trump. Trump said things. Hillary/Bill have done things.

    • RandallPoopenmeyer

      NO PROOF of those incidents. But there is proof, audio and video, of trumps assaults.

      • warmupthediesel

        Monica Lewinski’s dress…tangible/physical proof of one of Bill’s escapades that he lied about to the entire nation. Do you have any proof like that on Trump?

        “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”
        – Hillary Clinton
        Funny how she actively smeared Bill’s accusers…including Monica. Oops…

        Here’s how Hillary Clinton likes to joke about child-rape: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2f13f2awK4&t=1s

        • RandallPoopenmeyer

          I meant his rape and assault accusations

          • warmupthediesel

            Okay. Link me to a video of Trump assaulting/raping somebody. You claimed to have video evidence so time to show your cards.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            He admitted that he assaults people. Either his accusers are telling the truth, or he lied to Billy Bush

          • Punta Venyage

            He didn’t admit to anything. Bragging about how many status-chasing women would let him do anything ≠ admitting that he “assaults” people

      • Punta Venyage

        I thought colleges were stressing not to “blame the victim”. Guess it doesn’t matter when it doesn’t fit the liberal narrative, the hypocrisy is sickening. Bill had to pay his accusers off to drop the charges. My guess is you haven’t even looked at their testimonies, because the fact is you don’t even care about the truth, you just want to promote your own agenda and selective focus your outrage.

  • Punta Venyage

    *Trigger Warning*

    Trump was talking about certain types of women’s receptivity to powerful, handsome, rich, and famous men —– this does NOT apply to all women, but to “groupies”, or women who are attracted to fame and power and enjoy the attention

    There is no reason his comments should offend you as they are not referring to you or victims of unwanted sexual assault; you are just projecting and overgeneralizing a statement to apply it to situation where it doesn’t. Trump’s banter 11 years ago is simply a braggadocios take on how many groupies are so receptive to the power and fame and enjoy direct sexual advances. A little crude, sure, but not the hysteria the establishment is trying to make it out to be.

    People this election cycle are constantly committing a fallacy (unintentionally amongst the common person but intentionally by the establishment), where you take an attribute of a subset an apply it to a whole.

    i.e. case in point
    1) Trump says that a subset of illegal immigrants (which are a subset of Mexicans) are criminals and rapists.

    The media and political establishment twists this as “Trump says All Mexicans are rapists”

    An attribute of a subset does not equal an attribute of the whole, but the liars in charge will use these rhetorical tactics anyway

    ^these audio tapes are the same exact thing, but even worse, as this is one man trash talking privately to another man (which btw, 99% of eople have said something privately they would be embarrassed, so let’s stop acting like we are in some Victorian-esque society)

    ——
    Some more points;
    * How can you ignore someone who has used ACTIONS in sexually assaulting women vs someone who is exchanging words with another man?!?!

    * What do you think about the leak of Obama in 2008 that came out today where he was showing off his woody to reporters on the plane?? This was much worse than Trump’s private jokes but unfortunately it won’t get news coverage because it doesn’t fit the agenda.

    * BTW, fun fact, where do you think this Trump leak came from? HINT: Billy Bush is the cousin of Jeb(!) Bush . I wonder what the motives are…. wake up and see the games right in front of you!

    * Isn’t this US Weekly, People magazine tabloid-type of conversation really beneath us anyway when there are serious macroeconomic issues to deal with – ISIS, open borders, massive debt, warmongering in the middleeast, tensions with Russia…? How are the Wikileaks not more of a concern, when these are things that would directly impact the future of America?