The Repercussions of Locker Room Talk

Hannah Scaparo, Photographer/Website Editor

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“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…”


The recent release of unaired footage from 2005 revealing Donald Trump making a number of misogynist and offensive comments about women has led to more discussion not only about the candidate’s sexist views, but also about rape culture in the United States. Instead of taking responsibility for his actions and words, Trump pushed off his comments as “locker room talk,” claiming that all men talk this way when women aren’t around.  


Trump’s so called “locker room talk” suggests that men can – and do – talk in an objectifying and derogatory way about women when they’re not around. Under no circumstances should bragging about sexual assault be presented as acceptable in any society; however, by dismissing his statements so simply  Trump has done exactly this.


            Trump’s rhetoric involving sexual assault also further perpetuates rape culture. It allows for the continuation of a dangerous cycle in which men are allowed, and in some cases even encouraged, to deny allegations of sexual assault even after proof has been presented, effectively silencing the victim’s voice. After this footage was released, several women came forward, stating that Trump sexually assaulted them. Despite the fact that Trump has essentially admitted on camera to committing sexual assault, many people have chosen to believe Trump’s claims that the women are lying.


According to RAINN, the National Network for Rape, Incest, and Abuse, only about 334 out of every 1000 cases of sexual assault or rape are reported to the police to begin with, and even then as few as 6 out of every 1000 cases will end up with the rapist being incarcerated. Trump serves as an example of someone who has not only gotten away with having committed sexual assault, but whose word had been trusted against that of his victims, and who has been granted political influence despite his actions. Allowing Trump to continue to possess this power and trust promotes the existence of a culture where people who come forward to report acts of sexual assault are systematically ignored or simply not believed. This perpetual mistrust of sexual assault victims will only end up increasing the number of unreported rape cases every year.


            Not only has Donald Trump been accused of committing multiple acts of sexual violence, he has made a number of derogatory and highly inappropriate comments involving women. His reputation as a womanizer is well known, yet despite this he has never apologized or taken responsibility for his actions. By allowing him to get off practically scot free, we permit the existence of a system where people are given immediate forgiveness for committing acts of violence against others. Other people, such as Brock Turner and Bill Cosby, who both gained public attention after being accused of rape but who received little punishment, show that this crime isn’t taken seriously, and the feelings and experiences of the victims are often overlooked.  


            In the end, we will continue to see these horrific statistics involving sexual assault, unless we band together and take a stand against those who chose to engage in sexist conversations and actions – and we can start by making sure those we elect to office are socially responsible and aware, and,of course, are capable of giving basic respect to women.

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The Repercussions of Locker Room Talk