Michelle Obama reminded everyone that taking a stand against sexual assault is not political.
A 2005 video of Donald Trump surfaced last week that depicts the presidential candidate as essentially bragging about sexually assaulting women, using his fame as leverage. In response, he said that the video and his comments amounted to “locker room banter” and that the fact that it’s over a decade old means that it doesn’t reflect his current state of mind.
Though he may have changed since the video was recorded, there is no evidence of this as he has continued to make horrible comments about women in a number of areas and has a strong history of sexual abuse allegations. In fact, one of those allegations is currently being pursued; a federal judge just ordered a child rape case against Trump to move forward this past week.
In the video referenced here, Trump brags about the following:
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”
Since Trump has only gained more power in his run for president, and gotten away with a great deal, this claim is even more alarming. If he was saying this 11 years ago, when he was about to star on a soap opera and the host of a reality tv show, what would he say and do now that he is a powerful figure in America?
Michelle Obama addressed Trump’s comments in a moving speech motivated by his alleged abuse of women on Thursday and was barely able to hold back tears. Her speech harped upon the regression that women are experiencing as respectful and equal figures in America to the old position they used to hold as background figures that needed to take abuses to maintain the status quo.
Her words are inspiring and full of dislike for not only Trump, but his words and the followers that support his “banter.” Without even mentioning his name, she destroys his claim that his speech is meaningless and shouldn’t be looked into.
Read an excerpt from her speech below:
“We have a candidate for president of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning, I simply will not repeat anything here today. Last week we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women. And I can’t believe that I’m saying that. A candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women and I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this….
So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening and come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous for me to move on to the next thing like this was just a bad dream.
This is not something we can ignore. It’s not something we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn’t locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior. And actually bragging about kissing and groping women…. To make matters worse, it now seems clear this isn’t an isolated incident. It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life….
It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body. Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them or forced himself on them, and they’ve said no, but he didn’t listen.
Something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day. It reminds us of stories we’ve heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how back in their day the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office. And even though they worked so hard, jumped over every hurdle to prove themselves, it was never enough. We thought all of that was ancient history, didn’t we?
So many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect but here we are. In 2016 and we’re hearing these exact same things every day of the campaign trail. We are drowning in it. And all of us are doing what women have always done. We’re trying to keep our heads above water. Just trying to get through it, trying to pretend like this doesn’t really bother us. Maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak. Maybe we’re afraid to be that vulnerable. Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet because we’ve seen that people often won’t take our word over his. Or maybe we don’t want to believe that there are still people out there who think so little of us as women. Too many are treating this as just another day’s headline. As if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted. As if this is normal. Just politics as usual….
This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable and it doesn’t matter what party you belong to — Democrat, Republican, Independent — no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserve this kind of abuse.
And I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency…. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say “enough is enough”….
If all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children? What messages are little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings? About their dreams and aspirations? And how is this affecting men and boys in this country because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this and I know that my family is not unusual. And to dismiss this as everyday locker room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere. The men that you and I know don’t treat women this way, they are loving fathers who are sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women. They are husbands and brothers and sons who don’t tolerate women being treated and demeaned and disrespected. And, like us, these men are worried about the impact this election is having on our boys who are looking for role models for what it means to be a man.”
Her emotional speech went on to emphasize the impact having Donald Trump as president would have on kids, and it’s absolutely heart-wrenching. Remember that sexual assault is not about politics, it’s about treating people respectfully and basic human decency, both of which Donald does not do nor have.
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