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An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Dear Donald Trump,

I thought it was about time I wrote to you. You see, this has gone on long enough. At first, your dubious comments seemed farcical, surely noone in their right mind could take what you say seriously?

But this is the problem. To dismiss your comments on The leaked 2005 video about not waiting for consent before kissing women, and saying that you can do whatever you want because you’re a “star” is abominable. This wasn’t just a lewd conversation, this wasn’t just locker room “banter”. This was sexually predatory behaviour. And this was sexually predatory behaviour from a very powerful man.

As I scroll down my newsfeed and glance at the news coverage of your recent “slip-up”, and hear you drawl some god-awful apology, stating that you’re a “changed” man, rather than actually apologise for your sickening behaviour, it becomes clear that this isn’t an isolated incident, nor has the media’s coverage done anything to educate you on consent.

If you become the most powerful man in America in November, what kind of precedent are you setting for boys everywhere? What kind of role model are you going to be? By allowing your comments to go unchecked and unimpeded, what kind of message are you sending to men and women everywhere? What kind of message are we sending to sexual assault survivors?

When I listen to your dismissal of your lewd comments as “locker room talk,” I recognise an all too familiar pattern of denial that perpetuates rape culture. I wish I could say that you’re the exception and not the rule but this is not uncommon. Let me take you back to the not-so-distant past Mr. Trump, when Stanford rapist, Brock Turner was released from jail for “good behaviour” after serving just half of a six-month sentence. His trial showed the worrying reality for women everywhere. His disgusting actions were only punished for three months. There are things that have been in my fridge longer than Brock was in jail, Mr. Trump – what a frightening thought. By shaming his victim, and blaming the drinking culture on campus, Brock’s sexual violence was treated as acceptable.

The thing is Mr. Trump rapists have favourite foods, hobbies and friends. Their families love them and they go to parties. They even watch the news. They watch men like you, Mr. Trump call women “a beautiful piece of ass” in Esquire Magazine. They hear you say that no one would vote for Carly Fiorina “because of her face”, they can even recall how you called all women gold diggers in your memoir.

You see, your off-hand words have a much, much more sinister effect than you realise. By trying to legitimise predatory behaviour you reinforce and strengthen a culture that breeds violence towards women. Your words, which demand possession of our bodies, which disrespect our ambitions and intellect, which crush our right to say no, say that you can do anything you want to a woman.

This is  frightening and it’s scary. Words have never been my enemy, but your words Donald Trump are becoming my worst nightmare.

So I’m calling you out Mr. Trump. I see your sexism and your bigotry and your racism. And women everywhere see right through you.

Strong men don’t need to belittle women, nor do they feel the need to question consent, or demand possession over our bodies.

Your shameful comments about our bodies will no longer be tolerated and we will not be silenced by your power.

And just a quick history lesson for you Mr. Trump, women got the vote.

And we will vote.

See you on November 8th, Mr. Trump.

 

Ilka Kemp - Hall is Features Editor of HC Bristol. Currently studying English Literature at the University of Bristol.
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