Op-ed | “They let you do it…”

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.