Op-Ed: Trump can grab my pussy, too?

Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 3:07pm

You already know what he said. But in case you need a summary: According to Trump in 2005, Trump can do anything to a woman because he’s famous, including grab her pussy. If you’re struggling to understand if grabbing a woman by the pussy equates to anything harmful (it does) and whether footage from 11 years ago matters (it does, too), I have a story for you. 

Last summer, I was at a goodbye party for a good friend of mine moving to Chicago. We started with a late dinner and slowly made our way to Ann Arbor’s favorite dance spot, Necto Nightclub. There were a lot of us — six men and two women, including myself.

It was a busy night. Both the upstairs and downstairs dance floors were flooded with people dancing, drinking, doing what one does at a nightclub on a Friday night. I was upstairs, dancing with the seven other people I came with. Someone grabbed me from behind. A friend, I thought at first, but no: a stranger. A guy. One with immaculate strength that prevented me from breaking free from his grasp. My friends were looking in the other direction, and to the other strangers on the floor, it could’ve looked like a consensual “dance.” During my fight to escape from his arms, his hands quickly and firmly gripped my vagina. I quickly elbowed him in the side and he finally released his grasp.

Initially, I didn’t want to label this event as sexual assault. I stayed in the club, but attached myself at the hip of a friend for the rest of the evening. Days following, I couldn’t go a night without having traumatic flashbacks or vivid nightmares. Pussy-grabber was in my head and didn’t want to get out. At some point, it became apparent I needed to talk about what happened and accept the fact that I was sexually assaulted. Because I was. This man aggressively handled my genitalia without my consent.

I don’t particularly care if you feel bad for me. I mean, you should have sympathy for victims of sexual assault. You probably do. But that’s not why I’m writing this. I’m writing this to prove to you — especially you, Trump supporters — that words have impact. They structure our behavior, our approach to situations. When we tell ourselves we can do something, we want to believe it. We tell ourselves we can get an A on an exam to psych ourselves up, we reassure ourselves that it will be OK in times of distress. Trump told himself and his friend Billy Bush that he can grab my pussy and, if you have one, yours. And by doing this, he told my pussy-grabber that his actions were justified.

Trump’s words endorse sexual assault. When he was asked about his words at the town hall presidential debate, he dismissed them as “locker room talk.” Aside from that excuse being as full of garbage as a dumpster, endorsing sexual assault in a confined space like a locker room is the problem. If men get a free pass to say they can grab women by the pussy with a private group of other men, the type of sexual assault I experienced (and many others experience) will only continue. Why should we expect people affirming other people in private spaces to produce any other result?

The president is the face of American politics. If Donald Trump wins the presidential race after declaring his ability to sexually assault women due to his fame — and blowing it off as “locker room talk” — pussy-grabbing and rape culture will become more acceptable. If you want that to be the face of our country for the next four years, I think you know your candidate.

Rennie Pasquinelli is an LSA junior.