Trump Tapes Trample Progress in Sexual Assault Awareness


Cara Zambrano , Staff Writer

While Donald Trump has been trying to portray himself as the true victim in the wake of the release of the lewd “Access Hollywood” tapes, he has actually reopened a fresh wound in American consciousness. By trivializing his sexual comments, Trump is forgetting that sexual assault is a real problem and he is only aggravating the true issue at hand.

Most of the women who have accused Trump of sexual assault in the aftermath of this tape were young at the time of the alleged assaults. This only reinforces the research showing that young women — and in particular, college-aged women, as some of them were — are more vulnerable to these disgusting acts of sexual violation. Despite the sobering statistic that one in every five women will be sexually assaulted during their undergraduate years, roughly 90 percent of these occurrences will not be reported. This is often due to the fact that the victims can get scared of the report’s consequences on their personal and professional lives. Campus assault is also a serious issue. Not only is it incredibly underreported, but the few allegations that are brought to light can often be dismissed or trivialized by university officials out of fear  that they could damage the school’s image.

However, most universities are implementing stricter sexual assault policies — like an insistence on the importance and meaning of consent — and some, like NYU, even offer mandatory sexual misconduct courses for students, which are a well-intentioned attempt to decrease the occurrences of sexual assault on campus. However, it is somewhat ironic that as college students are being encouraged not to be bystanders of sexual assault, Trump is championing the belief that women’s accusations should not be taken seriously. He is not only undermining the consequences of sexual assault by trying to defend himself, but he is also diminishing the efforts of raising awareness of a problem that haunts women of all
ages everywhere.

Sexual assault — including campus sexual assault — is finally a mainstream topic of conversation, and it should continue as such, as it will never be enough to just underline how wrong it is in practice and how harsh its consequences are for the victim. The “Access Hollywood” tapes confirmed that the megalomaniac and misogynistic character of Donald Trump will never understand the fear that accompanies a woman when she walks home alone, on campus and off. He will probably never even understand the whirlwind of emotions that he has imposed on his victims. In a society in which young people are becoming increasingly aware and vocal about such violations, this kind of backwards thinking cannot be accepted. Sexual assault is not “locker-room talk” — it never will be — and it must not be treated as such.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, October 24th print edition. Email Cara Zambrano at [email protected]