opinion by Rep. Greta Johnson
35The recording and transcript of Trump and Bush and “unidentified” others is haunting in many ways. The crass language didn’t bother me nearly as much as the five words…”they let you do it.”

I’ve no real interest in rehashing how this is the 900th reason Trump is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief and it’s no secret I’ve been with Hillary from the beginning. But, this moment is ripe for discussion about the way we talk about sexual assault. Because make no mistake, that IS what Trump was talking about.

You don’t get to kiss, touch, grab anyone without their consent. And, if you think someone is just “letting you do it” there is a problem.

Sexual activity requires consent. Anything else is assault.

I spent over ten years prosecuting sex crimes. Everything from sexual imposition to rape. I never once agreed to a polygraph of the accused because so often, the mindset of the offender was that she (because the overwhelming majority were hers) “let me do it.”

The defendants actually believed that because she didn’t fight hard or scream and kick, that because she was passed out drunk so she couldn’t say no, that it was ok. She “let me do it.” Therefore, it’s not a sexual assault. I’m innocent. See what happens there? Men think that if they don’t get slapped, punched or immediately reported to the police, it’s ok.

Women, on the other hand have accumulated dozens of ways to try to get out of these victimizing situations with as little damage as possible. Because, the odds are against women. Outweighed, overpowered, unable to fight because the outcome could always get worse. “Let it happen” so I don’t: get fired, get trapped here, get hit, get killed.

Let it happen so I don’t die. Let it happen so it doesn’t happen to my daughter. My sister. My mother.

The way we talk about sexual assault matters. This was not locker room banter. (What is that, anyway? Some excuse for demeaning women in a *less offensive* way?) This is prevalent rape culture discussion between two, or more, adult men. Let’s call it what it is. Sexual assault. Misogyny. Violence.

That’s what Trump was talking about.

Don’t let the word pussy distract you from the horrifying words “they let you do it.” That’s where the power lies. And lies. And lies.

Greta Johnson, a Democrat, is a former assistant prosecutor for Summit County and the current representative of the 35th district of the Ohio House of Representatives.

3 Responses

  1. Anne Rosemark

    Thank you, Greta for your input. When I went to BGSU orientation as a freshman in 1969 before laws were put in place to protect women and students with disabilities, we had a session with campus security about staying safe on campus especially at night. They had set up escorts in case of emergencies. They also warned us that if there was a student who was raped that the victim became another victim in court. They went through some of the experiences of the ones who actually reported it. I remember that advice today even though some things have gotten better. Based on recent news, if you are potential swim award winner it does not count. There is a huge difference between consensual and assault. Thank you.

  2. MikeZB

    ” Men think that if they don’t get slapped, punched or immediately reported to the police, it’s ok.”
    In writing that in such an unqualified way, you’re doing the same thing Trump was — saying there’S nothing out of the ordinary in his heinous behavior.
    His actions and words are not typical,

    • Admin

      Hey Mike,

      It’s an op-ed for that reason, but as the publisher and a male, I don’t think his behavior *should* be typical but that the mindset Rep. Johnson describes is common enough that adding a qualifier to that statement could make it seem like the problem is confined to a small, perhaps insignificant number. Generally, I’m a fan of qualifiers for obvious reasons, but one problem I think we’re having right now — whether discussing sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. — is that it’s too easy for us to dismiss the role we play as we dismiss those who aren’t the extreme sexists/racists/bigots. A few years ago, I wrote a series of stories about human trafficking, particularly through illicit massage parlors around my hometown of Macon, Ga. The prevailing response for a long time — in person, in media, from men, from women — was some variation on “boys will be boys” so even the people who themselves would never willingly or knowingly violate a victim of human trafficking, or even frequent one of these establishments, became part of the issue because they excused the behavior that traffickers were exploiting. So I don’t entirely disagree with your point that this behavior isn’t reflected in ALL men, but I do believe it’s evident in enough — whether directly or indirectly — to be worth confronting this way. Just my two cents. Thanks! – Chris


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