Over the past weeks, the public has heard audio of Trump saying some of his most disgusting comments about women. He brags about kissing women without permission, and how he likes to walk up to them and “grab them by the p—y”, how he can “do anything” to them because he is famous. In Trump’s sick world women are nothing but objects, things that only have value based on how physically attractive he thinks they are.
Trump’s comments have been called “locker room talk,” just “boys being boys,” but there is no justification for these sorts of views. And in reality, Trump’s disgusting and offensive views of women are not unique at all, but reflect the violent rape culture that is far too normal in this society.
The reality is that sexual violence in this country happens all the time. Most often it occurs as domestic violence, as murders and beatings of women by their male partners. The leading cause of death for pregnant women in the U.S. is being murdered by their partners. More than 1,000 women are killed per year by their male partners.
But even more often, women survive the violence, battered and beaten with the scars lasting a lifetime. The number one cause of injury to women in the U.S. is being brutalized by men. Every nine seconds a woman is beaten in this country, and every six minutes a woman is raped. One in five women are raped in their lifetime. And in 31 states, rapists who impregnate their victims still have rights as parents.
Many women never even report the violence that is perpetrated against them because far too often nothing is done about it. Often the police don’t follow up with an investigation. The courts often don’t do anything or issue slaps on the wrists. Recently a Stanford student was sentenced to only three months for raping an unconscious female student. Cases like this are far too common.
It is clear that we live in a male-dominated society that values the lives of men more than the lives of women, a society that accepts and even encourages violence against women. The main images we see of women in this society are as sexual objects, as things for men’s pleasure. On billboards, in magazines, in commercials, in TV shows and movies – women’s mostly naked bodies are used to sell everything. Advertising companies, fashion companies, and more use women’s bodies for profit similar to how a pimp uses a woman to sell sex. And it is not surprising that men believe these messages they get daily from our society, and view women in this way.
At the same time, women face additional discrimination in many areas. Women earn only 83 percent of what men earn. Women do the vast majority of the childcare, elderly care and housework, almost all of which is unpaid.
And the more that men believe they’re superior to women, the more that they look at women as objects for their pleasure – the more likely it is they will continue brutalizing women.
But even though men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of this violence, the reasons behind this epidemic go far beyond the individual acts of men. We live in a society where it is normal and expected not to value human life, where all workers are forced to sell their labor to corporations just to earn a living. This is a society where corporations use workers up and then throw us away when we are no longer useful to them. And the big bosses who run this society have always used any sort of discrimination to divide us in order to maintain their control – whether it’s based on gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. And one way to keep men and women divided is to maintain the completely false view that men are superior to women.
The fight to end the violence to women, the fight for women’s equality is ultimately a fight to build a different kind society, one where all people, men and women, have control over our own bodies, our own lives, and are able to collectively run society in our own interests.