Trump’s ‘Locker Room Talk’ Reminds Many Women of Abuse
These women know better about "locker room talk" than Trump does.
Friday night's release of a recording on GOP candidate Donald Trump's "locker room" banter about forcing himself on women might have been the mole that turned into a mountain to him, but for women on social media it became the fuel they needed to set their cry against sexual assault and harassment ablaze.
In an effort to wash everything over, Trump and his campaign have insisted the leaked audio was nothing more than "locker room talk" amongst men, something blown out of proportion and over only sensitized because of his verbal language. "Completely normal". But women online are setting him straight.
On Friday night, Kelly Oxford is an author, screenwriter and social media blogger who took to Twitter to write about her outrage over the tapes.
Her post asking women to share their stories of their first sexual assaults quickly gained traction despite Oxford only expecting a few women to reply. "It was such a personal question," Oxford said in an interview. "I thought, ‘No one is going to share anything on Twitter.'"
But by Saturday morning, Oxford had been receiving as many as 50 responses every minute and discovered that a hashtag had taken her post and formed a new life of its own. The hashtag: "#notokay." saw nearly 27 million people respond and visit Ms. Oxford's Twitter page.
Women responded to Oxford with stories that we have all heard too many times: reports of being molested by older men, "friends of the family", being groped while riding public transportation, being molested by their own doctors. Almost as quickly as Trump's tape gained attention, Oxford's attempt to reach out to women morphed into a battle cry for women who had survived misogyny and sexual harassment in all of its forms and refuse to see them as commonplace.
The painful recollections of assault quickly expanded beyond the realms of Twitter as well. Actress Amber Tamblyn [took to Instagram to write about an encounter with an ex-boyfriend](https://www.instagram.com/p/BLWMkrSDopR/ who grabbed her by the hair and used his other hand to lift her off of the ground by her vagina and "carried me, like something he owned, like a piece of trash, out of the club."
Oxford's Twitter trend isn't the first protest movement to find life in a joined outrage against sexual assault and violence against women. The 1970s sparked the Take Back the Night candlelight marches and it was a recent comment by a Toronto police officer who told college students that women should avoid dressing like "sluts" to avoid rape that gave way to groups staging SlutWalks.
What's more, if there's one thing Trump got "right" in his response to the tape, it's that it also isn't the first time a political figure has been caught for displaying sexual behavior. Who knows if men like John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton would have ever been elected had their track record of sexual misconduct had been something voters back then had known were problems. Nevertheless, this time, it's Trump's words that have seemed to truly unnerved so many people. For many victims of sexual assault, it's not even Trump's use of the word "pussy" or his reference to sexual assault. It's his lax nature of describing it. They don't really care about his use of the word "pussy," but the odious way in which he used it to describe his own pleasure in sexually assaulting and disrespecting women-- something too many of women have all had to brave.
As swiftly as the release of a recording of Donald J. Trump engaging in banter about forcing himself on women had dealt a potentially fatal blow to his presidential campaign, it also had become a rallying cry for survivors of sexual assault, harassment and other forms of abuse who refuse to see Trump's threatening words as commonplace.
Perhaps Trump, whose penchant for 3 am Twitter rants are well known, will put his antics to good use and start to follow Oxford too.