The Trump administration’s unacceptable dismissal of sexual assault allegations



Throughout his campaign, now-president Donald Trump had been outspoken. His outlandish and controversial comments ranged from the infamous “Mexicans are rapists” to his slandering remarks made on Fox News about 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado, brutishly broadcasting that the now well-known Latina “gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”

  As the 2016 election season drew to a close, Trump had consistently added to his repertoire of insulting comments about females. It was an interesting strategy to undertake for a man who seeked to become President of the United States of America.

  Trump’s comments about women garnered an unprecedented amount of attention from mainstream media, prominent politicians, and feminists, men and women alike.

  On October 7, 2016, a tape from 2005 was released in which Trump can be heard speaking with Billy Bush, now a co-host of NBC’s “Today” show, while on the Access Hollywood bus, bragging about kissing, groping, and seducing women, reasoning that “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”

  “Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything,” the businessman proclaimed proudly.

  Fast forward to a little more than a year later. Numerous celebrities and politicians, such as Kevin Spacey, Mark Halperin, Roy Moore, Louis C.K., Al Franken, and, perhaps the most shocking and extensive, Harvey Weinstein, have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Following the allegations, these influential men have suffered severe consequences. Weinstein was fired from his company of the same name and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Spacey was suspended from “House of Cards” and fired from other projects; Louis C.K.’s movie release and comedy show were canceled.

This, however, begs the question: If A and B-list celebrities are forced to face the ramifications of their actions, why doesn’t the president, the supposed “moral” leader of the free world, have to?

Trump, too, was accused of sexual assault by 16 women. Yet his allegations are the ones that seem concurrently deep-rooted and lightly overlooked. And while some could argue that the #MeToo campaign would have never begun if not for Trump’s accusers coming forward, it is discouraging that other, more recent accusations are having more of an impact than those that are both high in number and expectation.

Despite the number of allegations against him, Trump is entirely unfazed. Although he and his campaign had unofficially condemned his accusers in interviews, in a press conference last month, Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that it is the White House’s position that all of the women are lying. And the most horrific aspect of it all is that Trump has continued to evade investigation of his sexual assault charges and dodged all discussion about them – and no one begins to question it.

  The fact of the matter is that the leader of the free world lacks a moral conscience. Trump’s presidency should not be allowing him to get away with the allegations – it should be all the more reason for a stricter investigation. And his administration’s making light of the situation is not just disappointing, it’s dangerous. It sends a message to the American public and to other countries that society condones the president’s sexual misconduct.

Misogyny, objectification, and rape culture are rising epidemics on college and high school campuses as an estimated 68% of sexual assault victims are women under the age of 30. Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of it all is that more than half of those victims don’t report their attacks, fearing that no one will believe them. There is a lot to be said about a Trump society which encourages assault survivors to sweep their experiences under the rug. There is also a lot to be said about a Trump administration that perpetuates rape culture by blantantly dismissing women who had spoken out against the president as “liars”.

Considering the Trump campaign did not recognize rape culture as a legitimate issue and continues to ignore it in the White House, it’s not surprising that many of Trump’s supporters, primarily males, share similar viewpoints. It’s also not surprising that none of Trump’s female advocates are outspoken feminists against sexual assault. In fact, the campaign’s manager, Kellyanne Conway, once said that “rape would not exist if women were as strong as men”, suggesting that sexual offenders are not at fault, but rather their victims are – the definition of rape culture itself.

Now, with Trump as president, it is more important than ever to realize that serious sexual assault cases are being brushed aside as insignificant by him and his administration. Although Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K.’s cases are pressing, Trump’s cases are equally, if not more, pressing. We must hold our president accountable for his actions. We must advocate for a society in which every sexual assault case is treated with extreme gravity. It seems that as more cases of misconduct arise, the less Trump seems to care. And that cannot be condoned. Not in the free world.