What Sen. Sessions as Attorney General Could Mean for Women
Let’s talk for a minute about what the Attorney General does. According to their website they are the head of the Department of Justice* and chief law enforcement officer** of the Federal Government. It also says, the Attorney General represents the United States in legal matters generally and gives advice and opinions to the President and to the heads of the executive departments of the Government when so requested.
*They decide what the DOJ prioritizes & spends money on
**They set the tone for Law Enforcement
As President Elect, Donald Trump now gets to choose the next AG. As the entire world now knows he was recorded in 2005 with Billy Bush having the following conversation*…
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want
Trump: Grab em by the pussy. You can do anything
*I read the whole transcript of this to make sure I didn’t take anything out of context. I do not suggest you do the same but if you feel so inclined click here. Excuse me while I go wash my eyeballs
Bottom line, I don’t think any of us were particularly expecting Trump to choose a candidate that’s forward thinking about sexual assault.
After the Presidential debate that followed the release of the tape many surrogates were asked in the spin room to give their opinion on Trump’s comments. One of those surrogates was Senator Jeff Sessions who Trump has nominated as Attorney General. This is what he said according to The Weekly Standard
SESSIONS: This was very improper language, and he’s acknowledged that.
TWS: But beyond the language, would you characterize the behavior described in that [video] as sexual assault if that behavior actually took place?
SESSIONS: I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch. I don’t know what he meant —
TWS: So if you grab a woman by the genitals, that’s not sexual assault?
SESSIONS: I don’t know. It’s not clear that he — how that would occur.
For reference, womenshealth.gov defines sexual assault as “any type of forced or coerced sexual contact or behavior that happens without consent. Sexual assault includes rape and attempted rape, child molestation, and sexual harassment or threats.” So yes, what Donald Trump is discussing is unequivocally sexual assault.
You can read their whole article about it by clicking here. In fairness* to all involved I looked into if Sen. Sessions ever issued a statement following this story and he did…
“The Weekly Standard’s characterization of comments I made following Sunday’s Presidential debate is completely inaccurate. My hesitation was based solely on confusion of the contents of the 2005 tape and the hypothetical posed by the reporter, which was asked in a chaotic post-debate environment. I regret that it resulted in an inaccurate article that misrepresented my views. Of course it is crystal clear that assault is unacceptable. I would never intentionally suggest otherwise.”
Firstly, anyone in that spin room was prepped for this topic. Sen. Sessions has been in government for a very long time and I have a hard time believing some questions from a reporter could throw him into a tailspin.
Secondly, In his statement clarifying his stance, Sen. Sessions never says that what Donald Trump was talking about IS sexual assault. He simply said that assault is unacceptable. He doesn’t even acknowledge that the discussion was about sexual assault.
*fairness is weighing both sides of an argument before making a decision. It is not the same as “giving Trump a chance” which has become a popular phrase amongst people with little fear of being negatively affected by his policies.
I really wish I could take a poll of every woman in the world who was grossly disrespected, threatened, or assaulted by a man while another person was present and did nothing. Because the result sure as hell wouldn’t be no one. Rape culture persists in a nearly unabated way precisely because people like Sen. Sessions refuse to acknowledge it and refuse to condemn those who commit it.
We already live in a world where women are too afraid of retribution and judgement to come forward with allegations of sexual assault. According to womenshealth.gov, in the United States, nearly one in five women has been raped and almost half of women have experienced another type of sexual assault. The least* the government could do for them is appoint someone to the highest law enforcement position in the land, who acknowledges what sexual assault is and takes a firm stance against it.
*I mean that literally. It is the absolute least they could do
A fun fact to end on after the horrifying realization that our next AG is going to be a sexual assault and rape culture denier
Our third Attorney General was named Charles Lee but a quick internet search didn’t show any familial connection to Charles Lee, the commander in the American Revolution who is also a character in Hamilton. In the show he gets shot in a duel with John Laurens* for talking shit. So the answer to the question you may be asking yourself is yes, I have listened to the Hamilton soundtrack several hundred times and I have too much time on my hands with which to google things.
*That also happened in real life, not just in Hamilton
I’m sorry if you didn’t think that fact was fun. Go watch Hamilton. It’s making the world a better place.