Grab­bing the con­cept of sex­ual ha­rass­ment

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE -

Don­ald Trump says he’s been freed of the “shack­les” of his en­e­mies, in­clud­ing those within his own party.

Don­ald Trump says he’s been freed of the “shack­les” of his en­e­mies, in­clud­ing those within his own party.

And here we thought he had sim­ply shed the shack­les of ci­vil­ity.

How else is one to come to grips with the ugly com­ments cap­tured on video from a decade ago when the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent talked openly about grop­ing women and his other sex­ual con­quests.

How best to de­scribe what we all heard on that video, the meat and pota­toes of the new In­ter­net world, but which we still strug­gle to de­liver in the printed news­pa­per?

Crude, vul­gar, of­fen­sive, abom­inable.

And those were just from Repub­li­can lead­ers, mouths agape at what came out of their mouth of their pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

For his part, the real es­tate mogul and re­al­ity TV star of­fered a mid­night apol­ogy via video, say­ing it was not proper and that he re­gret­ted mak­ing the lewd com­ments, in­clud­ing his prac­tice of at times sim­ply “grab­bing” women’s pri­vate parts. Of course he could not re­sists in­sist­ing that oth­ers, in par­tic­u­lar for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, had done much worse.

But by Sun­day night, when he was back in the na­tional spot­light in his sec­ond de­bate against Hil­lary Clin­ton, Trump was back in at­tack mode, ready to pass off his ugly com­ments as lit­tle more than locker room ban­ter. Spare us, Trump. While it’s too late to spare us from this abom­i­na­tion of a campaign, it’s not too late for you to stop de­fend­ing the in­de­fen­si­ble.

What you de­scribed in those vile words is not locker room ban­ter. It’s sex­ual as­sault.

We have no idea if Trump ever ac­tu­ally did any of the things he de­scribed, but we know this: A lot of men have.

If Trump’s sex­ist, misog­y­nis­tic ten­den­cies have done noth­ing else, we will give him credit for this.

His screed has set off a long-over­due dis­cus­sion of the treat­ment of women in this coun­try. They are not some­thing merely to be “grabbed,” in par­tic­u­lar not in the ar­eas of their bod­ies that Trump so de­lighted in re­lat­ing to Billy Bush in that video.

Trump would do well to lis­ten to the na­tional con­ver­sa­tion his words have un­leashed. Women talk­ing about just what Trump de­scribed hap­pen­ing to them.

They have taken to blogs, Twit­ter and Face­book and un­leashed feel­ings pent up some­times for years.

Some of their words should be fa­mil­iar to Trump.

“It all started with a grab of the ….,” wrote Jen­nifer McGraw of Cleve­land, us­ing the same word that Trump so cal­lously dis­pensed. There was no “ban­ter” in her words, how­ever. There was only hurt. And she was not alone, Her words spoke for many.

“This is some­body who could be our pres­i­dent,” McGraw told the As­so­ci­ated Press. “I can’t not talk about it at this point. There’s too much at stake. I feel strong enough at this point in my life to share my story and share my truth.”

Of course, the Don­ald has moved on. He now has de­clared war on House Speaker Paul Ryan and many in his own po­lit­i­cal party.

He’s re­joic­ing in be­ing free of the shack­les he be­lieves have con­strained the way he has han­dled the campaign.

He’s also freed women from the hor­ror of be­ing silent af­ter be­ing sex­u­ally ha­rassed, abused, grabbed, kissed, hugged, groped against their wishes.

Just how wide­spread is this kind of treat­ment of women in this coun­try? A sur­vey by the U.S. Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol found that 44 per­cent of U.S. women have ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual vi­o­lence vic­tim­iza­tion other than rape at some point in their lives. That’s a lit­tle less than half. One in five has been raped.

If you’re look­ing for the bot­tom in this God-aw­ful campaign, Trump may have just de­liv­ered it, both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively.

His com­ments were not locker room ban­ter. Even pro­fes­sional ath­letes have taken pains to re­mind us of that.

They are sim­ply a symp­tom of a so­ci­ety that too of­ten be­lieves it is OK to treat women this way.

It’s not some­thing to be laughed off. It shouldn’t spark gig­gles or snick­ers.

It’s an ugly re­al­ity that too many women still have to deal with ev­ery day.

We sug­gest the coun­try try “grab­bing” that con­cept, as ugly as it may be.

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