In a video released last Friday, presidential candidate Donald Trump was heard making lewd comments about grabbing female genitalia and making other moves on women without their consent, laughing about the comments with a friend.
While he dismissed what he said as "locker room talk," what he described is all too real and hit too close to home for many college-aged women and men. One in five women are sexually assaulted during their stay at their university. One in 16 men are likely to face this reality, as well.
College women reacted to his comments that feed into rape culture:
Shannon O'Brien | Penn State | Sophomore | Broadcast Journalism Major
"Going into the election, I thought the best way to decide on a candidate was to separate the person from the policies. It has gotten harder and harder to do that when Trump is slandering women, immigrants and pretty much everyone who is not a straight-white-male. I really wanted the first time I voted to make an educated decision about which party I want to support. I can’t support a person, or party, that desensitizes rape culture and allows it to flourish under someone who will be representing our country. I’m a registered Democrat and I will be voting for Clinton, not as a 'better of the two' but as a candidate that I think has the best interest of the country."
Natalie Day | Columbia College | Freshman | Acting Major
"I'm so incredibly disappointed that Trump is mitigating the issue of rape and sexual assault. This issue is already made light of and rarely is punishable in court. They aren't 'just words.' Discussing sexual assault in the 'locker room talk' way Trump did is absolutely unacceptable. I can't believe this man could potentially be our leader and representative."
Michaela Guzzetti | Smith College | Freshman | Astronomy and Physics Major
"I wish I could say I was surprised by Trump's comments, but honestly I am not. Trump has repeatedly treated oppressed groups terribly and women have been no exception to this. I find it disgusting, disgraceful and disappointing that someone who is running for the most powerful position in the country, the face of our state, could say such vile things about women. What I find more horrifying is that there are people, and other women at that, who could support such a person. As someone who attends a women's college, this is just another reminder of why we need spaces like Smith. This blatant sexism on a national scale which is being supported by millions of Americans is absolutely unacceptable and is an example of why the fight for equality is far from over. I already planned to vote against Trump as a result of his other deplorable acts including his attacks on American POC, but this event just gave me one more reason to vote against him."
Kellie Veltri | University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Freshman | Psychology and English Major
"I've never supported Trump, in fact when he first began his campaign I took it as a joke. However, the comments that he has repeatedly made against women show that he is not only unfit to be the President of the United States, but that he is a dangerous person who perpetuates rape culture and encourages sexual harassment as 'normal guy behavior.' It's immoral and frankly just gross."
Kamrin Baker | University of Nebraska-Omaha | Freshman | Journalism and Media Communications Major
"Trump scares the hell out of me. He knows nothing about women, and even so covers that ignorance up using hateful comments. I have never been interested in voting for him, and at this point, completely reject the concept of Trump as a whole."
Ghada Shehab | University of Utah | Freshman | Political Science Major
"I think the comments he made are completely hideous and inappropriate. It perpetuates rape culture and the fact that his defense was that it being 'locker room' talk only further marginalizes women who face this kind of violence, continuously. For me, personally, my vote would never go to him. I do not identify as either Republican or Democrat - I'm willing to vote for individuals - but my conscience would never let me vote for him. I'm surprised people are still taking his side, that is what I don't understand."
Erica Lim | Fordham University | Freshman | History and Pre-law Major
"Personally I’ve always been a little more liberal, but I respect and understand the ideals of those who are more conservative e.g. I’m pro-choice but I understand the pro-life argument and still don’t advocate or encourage abortion. This being said as a woman in this modern day and age, I can’t stand with Trump or really relate any of his supporters because I feel like I see the appeal that a man like Trump might have; I can’t see any future for American with a president who wants to take steps back in history by trying to take away basic rights (ruling in Roe v. Wade, etc.) and who has zero political experience. So while I’m not the biggest fan of Hillary either, I’m a strong proponent for the belief that any vote not for her, is really a vote for Trump."
Caroline Bucca | Georgetown University | Freshman | Human Science Major
"I think that given his particularly derogatory comments about women, both during debates and outside of it, there is no way that I could consciously vote for him. I want someone in power who will fight for my rights, not try to limit them, and every time I listen to him speak, he makes me more aware of the fact that my rights will be limited."
Brooklyn Brown | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Freshman | English Major
"Our rape culture and gendered society is already bad. I'm just scared that it could get worse, that our boys could grow up with a mindset that these things are okay. This election is definitely different, and I find it disheartening that I have to think more about the couth of each candidate rather than the policies."
Sabrina Sooknanan | Marymount Manhattan College | Sophomore | Philosophy & Religious Studies and Business Major
"Trump disgusts me. He has a daughter and it seems like he wouldn't even care if a man spoke about his daughter like that. He has no respect for women, nor his mother. I think he forgot that a woman is a reason why he is alive. Women should be respected, physically and mentally."
Aida Stevenson | University of South Carolina | Freshman | Marine Science Major
"My thoughts on Trump's recent statements are that he is a misogynistic, awful human being who should not be allowed to run for president. People have gone so far to even start a hashtag that is basically saying to repeal the 19th Amendment so that women are prohibited from not voting for Trump. It's ridiculous that men are so engrossed in his ideas that they want to take away the right to vote for women."
Lead Image Credit: Charlotte Cooper via Flickr Creative Commons