I will admit, I haven’t had much experience of locker rooms. They just gross me out. And because of that, any time I have been to the gym or PE at school (neither of which I will also admit has happened in a while), I always spent as little time in the locker room as I could. Germs are not something I enjoy much of and locker rooms, for me at least, provide way too many options for spreading them.
In a nutshell, they just give me the heebs.
Now maybe it’s because Britishness (and by this I mean the ingrained sense of being nude for as little time as possible) dictates no one make eye contact with another person in a locker room, let alone speaking to them, that makes me think that Donald Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comment is not just “locker room talk” but is actually a steaming pile of horse shit. It is entirely possible. How would I know?
Let me think. How would I know that bragging about making sexual advances to a (married) woman who (shock!) didn’t want to sleep with Donald Trump is disgusting? How would I know that moving on a woman “very heavily” is in its most basic terms, assault? How would I know?
I’m not stupid, that’s how. And I don’t need to be in a men’s locker room to know that Donald Trump hates women. He sees them as nothing. We are nothing but holes for him to fill with his pathetically fragile masculinity. To him, our so called “pussies” make us weak because they bleed (his obsession with menstruation is beyond my comprehension. I don’t even want to understand it). They make us weak because they are the source of his pleasure. No, friend, they make YOU weak because you can’t seem to think about anything else. I wonder what he sees when he looks at women – daughter, Ivanka, included? Probably giant pussies.
His comments, dating back to 2005, are just the latest evidence of how deeply ingrained his predatory and hateful obsession with women is. He accused Megyn Kelly of making him look bad at the beginning of his campaign (referencing her menstrual cycle as though it was some sort of character flaw that rendered her incapable of doing her job), he was open about wanting to introduce laws that would actively punish women who got abortions, has accused former Miss Universe, Alicia Michado, of being bitter towards him after she was treated abhorrently because he perceived that she had “put on weight” and was in a sex tape. And we’re not even getting to the many public discussions he has had regarding Ivanka’s looks and how many times he has alluded to wanting to have sex with her. His own daughter. (The fact that he says “if she wasn’t my daughter” is neither here nor there, he has clearly thought about sex with his own child).
And this barely scratches the surface of just how deplorable this man’s views of women are. However which way you try to spin this, kissing a woman who does not want to be kissed and grabbing her by her genitals is assault. It is a sexual assault. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Trump believes that women are such nothings that it is his right to touch them without invitation. It isn’t. His fame apparently gives him this right. It doesn’t. Why else would he have had this “locker room” banter with Billy Bush where he thought he couldn’t be heard? (Why creepy idiot Billy Bush continues to have a job, I don’t even know. It’s not like the Trump conversation was in any way out of character for him).
I think I’ve talked about this before on here but I was assaulted aged 19. I’ll tell you why I’m bringing it up now. It was the first time I had ever been to Notting Hill Carnival and on our way back to the tube station, we reached a junction. The police were desperately trying to manage the huge crowd that had gathered there but it was almost impossible. There were people everywhere and you could hardly breathe, let alone move. There was pushing, shoving and a kind of crushing pressure that seemed to be building the further forward you ventured.
At some point I realised there was someone pushing himself into me from behind. I immediately felt uncomfortable by his proximity but thought that the crowd was so out of control that really he had no choice and was probably as uncomfortable as I was. There was no space to move with all of the people around me but I tried anyway. When the woman in front of me moved an inch forward, I tried to go with her. I could see the Warrior and my sister just in front of her, if I could get to them it would be fine.
And then I felt it, a hand grabbing me between my legs and forcing me back. I felt everything in that moment, abject terror, shock, confusion and the fucking erect penis of the man behind me. The more the crowd continued to close around me, the tighter he held me against him and the more he used his strength to forcibly drag me back away from my family.
In that moment, I wasn’t theirs. I wasn’t a daughter – a first born child. I wasn’t a big sister. I wasn’t a student. I wasn’t me. And I certainly no longer had any control of what happened to my body in that moment. The “pussy” he held wasn’t mine. It was his. I couldn’t move an inch, the more I squirmed and tried to get away, the tighter he held me. I wanted him to stop, I couldn’t tell him to stop, the noise around us was deafening, so I waited. I waited for this man to finish, to just take what he wanted from me and give me back my body when he was fucking ready.
It seemed to last forever, that crushing weight of people all around me but also feeling completely alone, the foreign hand on the part of my body that is supposed to be mine and the hot, weighty breath on the back of my neck. It felt like forever. And then he jerked me back one last time and I felt it, that final humiliation of his semen running down my leg. It hadn’t been enough for him to violently grab and hold me where I didn’t want him to, it hadn’t been enough for him to even do it in public, no, he had to make sure he stained me in his violent act. He had to make sure that I knew what he had done to me, so I couldn’t explain it away as just my imagination. He wanted me to wear it home with me.
When he finally let go I walked through the crowd, still unable to get out from the seemingly endless sea of people I was amongst. I was entirely alone and too scared to look at my leg. My heart was racing, my head felt like it had been stuffed full of cotton, there was something crawling down my leg I was trying to ignore and between my legs I still felt like there was something there touching me. When I finally fought my way through I could still barely draw air into my lungs. I interrupted the Warrior when she asked me where I had gone, I just wanted her to look at my leg. She did and cleaned me up with a tissue, it had already soaked through my tights anyway so I could still feel the wetness on my skin, tights or not. She told me what it was. She didn’t have to, I already knew. When she asked me what happened I told her and we went straight home. I refused to talk about it with her at all after that. In fact, I rarely think of that day. Why would I? Why would I give any more of my time to a man who thought so little of me as a person that he could do that to me? Why would I think of the way someone grabbed my genitals and used it to assault me? I wouldn’t.
But when the Republican candidate for President of the most powerful country in the world says bragging about grabbing a woman by her pussy and forcing himself on her is just “locker room talk” it makes my blood boil. Because it isn’t. It’s advocating the sexual assault of women and their degradation into nothing but a thing that exists for a man’s pleasure. It incites violence against women. Trump’s statement tries to explain away the unexplainable as just banter between two guys. It isn’t.
I was terrified, horrified and, at 26 years old, I am fucking furious about what that man did to me. He never saw my face and I never saw his. I was nothing but a pussy for him to grab that day. And I am much more than that. I am much more than him, Donald Trump and all of the men who think so little of women that assaulting them is 100% fine to them. You don’t have to have a wife, a daughter, a mother, a sister, a grandmother to see that this kind of rhetoric is dangerous, demeaning and inexcusable. You don’t have to be the survivor of sexual assaults/abuse to know that this kind of violence is damaging. You don’t have to be Hispanic or Black to know that he perpetuates racism. You don’t have to be a man to know that all men, including the potential President of the United States, have no right to any part of any woman’s body.
You just have to be human.