Yesterday, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced his pending resignation after a seventh woman has come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and dozens of Senate Democrats have called on him to step down. This morning, on Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski stood up for Franken by identifying his first accuser, Leeann Tweeden, as a Playboy model and a Republican, and asking if maybe “I believe women” doesn’t have to apply to all women. Y’know, like women who are accusing a man you like.
TIME magazine has announced their Person of the Year, and it’s actually People: the silence breakers who have come forward about the sexual harassment and assault they’ve experienced — as TIME calls them, “the voices that launched a movement.”
Supporters desperate to defend Roy Moore against accusations of child molestation and predation — and justify their decision to vote for him despite said accusations — love to try to discredit his accusers by asking why they didn’t come forward 40 years ago, when the offenses allegedly occurred. Well, why didn’t they? For the same reasons thousands of women suffer their victimization in silence.
[Content note: sexual assault and domestic violence]
In her efforts to decide what to do with the Obama administration’s guidelines for addressing sexual assault on college campuses, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will be sitting down for a talk with people affected by on-campus sexual violence. Groups like victims of sexual assault and victims of false accusations, victims’ rights organizations, and men’s rights organizations including the National Coalition for Men, SAVE, and FACE, which are essentially based around the idea that women are lying skanks and only get hit because they started it. You know, balanced viewpoints.
[Content note for sexual assault]
This Thursday marks the sixth monthiversary of the Trump administration, which, by all appearances, exists for no other reason than to undo everything that Barack Obama ever did ever. This time, the target is Obama’s efforts to investigate and improve the way colleges address on-campus sexual violence. Enter Candice E. Jackson, head of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, who says that most of the OCR’s 496 open sexual assault cases aren’t even, like, for-real rape.
New from the “Fox to Hold Town Halls About Henhouse Security” Department: Bill Cosby, recent recipient of a mistrial in the sexual assault case against him (prosecutors intend to retry), plans to host a series of town halls about not committing sexual assault. Hahaha, no, the town halls will be about sexual assault and the legal system, or specifically not being the victim of lying bitches accusing you of sexual assault.
It’s not uncommon for rape victims to suffer at the hands of the justice system for reporting the crime committed against them. They’re interrogated about their clothing and behavior when they were raped, they’re accused of lying, and frequently they have to watch as the authorities half-ass the investigation and then throw up their hands and dismiss it as he-said, she-said. The courts in New Orleans go even further, though, as rape victims, and other victims of violent crime, can be — and have been — jailed for refusing to testify against their rapist in court. And too many people are okay with that.
A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.
That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “real” Trump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.
Since the release of a video featuring Donald Trump unwittingly speaking into a hot mic about how great it is that his celebrity allows him to nonconsensually grab women’s genitals without consequence, Trump has thrice dismissed the celebration of sexual assault as “locker room banter” or “locker room talk.” Pro athletes across the U.S. have united to say that, in fact, such banter is not acceptable in any of the locker rooms they frequent. (You can take that with as many grains of salt as you choose.) But it raises the question: If that banter isn’t happening in the locker rooms of the Dodgers or the Falcons or the Clippers, in which locker rooms is it taking place?
There is still one more chilling but less-discussed aspect of the Trump video. Yes, his language is vulgar, and yes, his casual discussion of sexual assault is horrifying. But two reporters, in separate pieces, point out that there’s something even more disturbing about the video: the way they talked about actress Arianne Zucker, Trump’s costar-to-be, as she waited, unsuspecting, at the end of their bus trip.
[Content note for sexual assault]
On Friday, the Washington Post published a heretofore unseen video from 2005 in which Donald Trump, in the Access Hollywood bus on the way to a cameo on “Days of Our Lives,” gives us a good look at how much he really respects women. Talking with Billy Bush, into a mic that he didn’t know was hot (Donald, are you sure that a malfunctioning microphone isn’t the best thing for you at this point?), he makes it clear that no, women aren’t more than objects to be evaluated, disparaged, and abused at his whim.