Culture of Sexual Assault, Victim Blaming, and Inequality

Another problem that has plagued our society is that of sexual assault and harassment. This issue has gained an enormous amount of media attention due to a leaked recording of Donald Trump in which he bragged about committing assault. This tape became the evidence several women needed in order to open up about their assault at his hands.

Rather than be outraged that a man, who may become our president, admitted to sexual assault, many media outlets and individuals are claiming that his accusers are making false claims. This concept of victim blaming is far from new and in fact is part of the reason women are so reluctant to come forward after being attacked.

In 1976, Jackie Flannery sued Chief McNally for discrimination and harassment. After doing so, she expressed that she thought policemen were ordered to write letters against her when she was trying to become a lieutenant. She had 6 pages of grievances but all that was initially done was to order chief McNally to stop after he made comments about her over the police radio.  In a recent interview Trump said that if his daughter, Ivanka, was sexually harassed he would hope she would find a new company to work for. The consequences for sexual harassment seem to all fall on victim rather than holding the person responsible responsible.

Jackie suspected this mistreatment would occur after coming forward but did so anyway because she knew it was still the right thing. She also commented that she only did so because she knew that rape counselors were available. The local women of NOW also supported her by gathering as many members as were available to go to her hearing.

Jackie was fortunate to have this support network but she shouldn’t have been in the position to need it in the first place. And 40 years later we should have made some progress. However, that cannot happen when prominent figures like Trump say that it is okay for him to grope women without their promotion because he is a star. Even when he received backlash for his comments, he proved the problem once again by saying that it was ‘locker room talk’ and therefore not a problem.

“I like Trump because Trump is not a politician. He talks like a guy. And ladies out there, this is what guys talk about when you’re not around, so if you’re offended by it, grow up. Okay, and by the way, this is what you guys talk about over white wine when you have your brunches. So take it easy with the phony outrage. This is the way the world works. It’s not a big thing.” -Scott Baio

Society needs to realize that the problem begins with this language and the boys will be boys culture our society has created. Society only makes the problem worse when they make excuses because in reality the only person at vault is the one who decided to commit the act. It is time to follow the example of NOW and stand with the victims instead of making excuses for the perpetrators.

Posted by Holly Sefton at 7:30 PM

Sunday, October 16, 2016