Trump pussy tape

When Donald Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” remarks were made public on Friday, it shocked the nation. But for women, femmes and girls who’ve been grabbed and groped at one time or another — that’s most of them, by the way — it was a gut punch. When we heard him say it, we could feel that unwanted grab as though it were physically happening in the moment.

Soon after the tape came out, Kelly Oxford asked women on Twitter to tell their stories of their first assaults. The response was overwhelming. More than 1 million women described violations using the hashtag #notokay. Oxford herself was 12 the first time she was grabbed in the way Trump described, and she was far from the only one who experienced sexual violence as a child.

Many women and femmes have kept such stories secret, for a couple of reasons. For one, we’re rarely believed when we share them. For another, people often respond by saying, “that’s just how guys are” — Trump himself dismissed the comments Friday as “locker room banter.” Both of these responses add to the shame that women, femmes and girls feel when they’re assaulted, and that shame further encourages them to stay silent.

It’s only when major Twitter campaigns go around — like #Yesallwomen after the 2014 Isla Vista killings, or earlier this year when comedian Jen Kirkman asked folks to share their stories of street harassment — that women and femmes en masse have been able to tell their stories and reveal the overwhelming amount of harassment, misogyny and violence we’ve experienced.

Trump’s misogyny and disgusting views toward women are no surprise. He sexualized a 12-year-old Paris Hilton, as well as his own daughter, Ivanka. He’s accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. He made death threats against Hillary Clinton. The list goes on and on. So when Trump’s comments came out, many of us held our breath, waiting to see what would happen. Would Republicans and Trump supporters sweep his “pussy” remark under the rug, as they’ve done with most of the other horrific, misogynistic things that have come out of his mouth?

While it’s common for females’ reports of assaults and lewd comments to be dismissed, and it’s common for males to brag about their ability to exert sexual power, it’s rare that those comments are brought out of the locker rooms, private jets and other places where men speak among themselves. It’s rare that they are made public. So we wondered what his supporters would do: would they side with women, or with the incompressible jizztrumpet?

Fortunately, for many Republicans, Trump’s comments were the last straw. So far, at least two dozen have pulled their support for him. Many have demanded that he step down from his candidacy. Even former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was famously accused of groping women, said this weekend that he won’t vote for Trump.

The Republican National Convention told its vendors to stop production on any mailers related to the Trump campaign, saying it will let vendors know when it’s OK to proceed. Trump has said he won’t step down, but he’s also been laying low since Friday. He can’t stay out of the spotlight for long; he’s scheduled to debate Clinton tonight.

I dare say that, for the many of us who’ve been groped, harassed and assaulted by someone like Trump — someone who has more power and privilege than us, someone whose lies and charm have been believed over our experiences — seeing his campaign finally collapse is more than a little cathartic. For once, he might not get away with it.

We might wish that the country had recognized him for what he is sooner, so that Clinton could have had a fair fight against a competitor who is intelligent, hard-working and devoted to the issues facing America. On the other hand, the fact that this is happening now, just as absentee ballots are being mailed out and it’s realistically too late for the Republican party to pull itself out of its nosedive, almost guarantees that we will see our first woman president elected in November.

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