Sexual harassment allegations against Trump highlight, normalize rape culture

Johnson+said+that+the+incident+occurred+on+Aug.+24%2C+2016+in+an+interview+with+the+Washington+Post.
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Sexual harassment allegations against Trump highlight, normalize rape culture

Johnson said that the incident occurred on Aug. 24, 2016 in an interview with the Washington Post.

Johnson said that the incident occurred on Aug. 24, 2016 in an interview with the Washington Post.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Johnson said that the incident occurred on Aug. 24, 2016 in an interview with the Washington Post.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Johnson said that the incident occurred on Aug. 24, 2016 in an interview with the Washington Post.

Tyler Hotz, Copyeditor

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The Washington Post published a shocking story on Feb. 25 claiming President Trump kissed former campaign staffer Alva Johnson without her consent in 2016, leading to a lawsuit against the president.

Johnson said Trump grabbed her hand, leaned in and planted a kiss on the side of her mouth as she turned her head. She told several people within days after it happened but was forced to not speak against the president due to a non-disclosure agreement.

The allegations quickly dominated social media and sparked concerns about what to do next in regards to the president. Some said it had to be true, others expressed their doubts; skeptics said if it was true, it meant that a lot would have to change.

This isn’t the first time Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct. His infamous statement, “Grab them by the p***y,” was one of the most controversial topics of the 2016 election. He’s also been accused of sexually harassing 23 different women dating back several decades.

Whether they’re true or not, the allegations against Trump are alarming. Not only are these actions against everything the president should stand for, but it also leads to the normalization of sexual assault and contributes to the rape culture in this country.

In general, sexual assault is not taken seriously in the United States, as proven recently in the case of Jacob Anderson, the ex-Baylor fraternity president who received no jail time for allegedly raping a woman at a party.

The criminal justice system places an overwhelming emphasis on physical proof and timeliness of the report, basically ensuring those who waited to report or don’t have injuries will not see their offender receive any punishment.

Even with physical evidence, many defendant’s cases rest on the idea that the sex was consensual, they or their accuser were under the influence or somehow the survivor was “asking for it.” The lack of consistency creates an unreliable narrative surrounding these types of cases.

By failing to hold Trump accountable, the government is causing irreparable damage. The millions of sexual assault survivors across the country are continuously stifled by many oppressive laws that fail to guarantee them justice. Now, the corruption goes all the way up to the president. When you’re going against the most powerful man in America, how can you win?

Not only is the absence of justice triggering, but it also adds to the lack of trust and over partisan ideals in our current political climate. It’s no secret that electing Trump has divided politics. As of Feb. 10, the president has only a 44 percent approval rating according to Gallup, leaving the country almost completely in half.

With this new information, it’s likely we won’t be seeing bipartisanship anytime soon, whether he gets punished or not. Despite that, it’s important to hold Trump responsible for his actions. Failing to do so would increase the already-existing precedent that offenders are untouchable without hard proof and take it to new levels. This isn’t the mindset our country should be in.

President Trump has denied the allegations repeatedly, and press secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement saying Johnson’s accusation is “absurd on its face.” Whatever the truth is, it’s time to hold powerful people accountable for acting unacceptably. By doing this, we can start dismantling the rape culture that has been ingrained in our society through socialization, legal precedents and popular attitudes.