We at The New Hampshire have refrained from endorsing a candidate. Our Code of Ethics states that if the newspaper chooses to back a candidate for an election, (whether it be national or campus oriented), the candidate must be agreed on and voted upon by the editorial board and then the executive editor must approve the endorsement. However, we have made it a clear point that our editorial staff will remain unassociated with the current presidential election, including refraining from mentioning it on our personal blogs and social media, or wearing political merchandise around campus.
We do this because we are open to hearing all student voices. We encourage people with all political viewpoints to share their beliefs in our publication. However, as a group of young journalists who speak and write with the public good in mind, it is hard to keep quiet after the recent release of Donald Trump’s ghastly, recorded comments regarding a woman who he essentially brags about assaulting to the reporter interviewing him, Billy Bush.
If you missed it, these comments start with Trump telling Bush he, “Moved on her like a b—ch,” following a comment about, “Not even waiting” to kiss her. He then continues on saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” He tells Bush to “Grab ‘em by the p—y.” because “you can do anything” to women if you’re famous.
We want to make it clear that the editorial staff of The New Hampshire is not against the Republican Party. We stand by our word when we say we support the opinions of all political parties and views. That being said, we do not tolerate making light of sexual assault or rape. What Trump defines as “locker room banter,” is the type of language completely unacceptable for any individual to perpetuate, but especially for a person attempting to represent and lead our country.
For starters, in Sunday night’s debate, Trump quickly acknowledged that he is “not proud of” his behavior and apologized to the American people and his family, but then quickly turned around, saying that his statements were just “locker room banter,” adding, “nobody has more respect for women than I do.”
Regardless of what “kind” of conversation Trump believes justifies his appalling statements, there is never a time or place when joking about sexual harassment or making sexist comments is okay. Not to mention how Trump uses his fame as a replacement for women giving consent. Consent should always be at the center of any sexual encounter. To make matters worse, Trump continues to defend his actions by stating that what he said was “just words,” which works to further promote rape culture.
The phrase “rape culture” was first coined in 1970 by feminists in the United States. The term is still used today to show the ways in which society excuses and tolerates sexual violence, and Donald Trump citing “locker room banter” as the reason his words are acceptable demonstrates rape culture quite well. What Trump describes in the recordings are instances of sexual assault. And by the way, words, Mr.Trump, are more powerful than you know.
Since these recordings were released, tens of thousands of women have begun tweeting their experiences of sexual assault and rape using the hashtag #notokay. The Twitter world has exploded with activity, and within the matter of a few days, over one million women have come forward as having been sexually assaulted. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in the United States.
Women’s rights and the exposure of rape culture has come so far from where it started, but there is still so much progression that needs to happen. When will the day come that we stop teaching young girls and women that being sexually harassed, assaulted or raped is a side effect of their appearance or gender?
Will the next president of the United States be one who believes that “locker room banter” is an acceptable excuse for sexual assault? How do we stop this? We at The New Hampshire have one piece of advice for you… Go vote.