Why Donald Trump Dismissing Sexual Assault is Dangerous.

“This is locker room talk. … It’s one of those things.” Donald Trump

I felt anxious watching the first few minutes of the debate last night. Donald Trump completely dismissing his vulgar comments and actions against women was sickening. The idea that this boy’s club, “locker room talk” is a valid excuse is beyond infuriating. I have heard many things and watched inappropriate behavior by men of all income/social levels, but this is not because they are males. This is because they are insecure, sexist, chauvinistic jerks who are usually repeat offenders.

“You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals,” Cooper said. “That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”

“No, I didn’t say that at all,” Trump said. “I don’t think you understood what was said. This was locker-room talk.

Donald Trump is known for saying many ignorant, arrogant and uneducated things during his campaign, but this crossed the line for me.

Women have faced the actions of Donald Trump’s words more than they would probably care to admit. Donald Trump should think about how his response to his own words resonates with young men of America. He should also realize many females are probably thinking back to their own moments of being violated. I know I had three very vivid experiences starting as early as high school. So should we tell young women that “one of those things” is like the time I was led away from my friends at a beach party to be aggressively groped by a senior that I had never spoken to? When I woke up to a friend’s boyfriend kneeling beside my bed with his hand between my legs whispering vulgar things? Or perhaps when I was shoved against the refrigerated soda section in a convenience store, by a complete stranger, as he grabbed my “pussy” as Donald Trump likes to phrase it? I won’t even get into all of the events I can list in the years that followed as I am now 34.

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “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,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.

“Grab them by the p — -y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

What is dangerous is that if these types of actions are so quickly excused with some “I am Tarzan” rationale, the escalated actions of sexual harassment, abuse and rape will also begin to be excused more than they already are.

Many survivors of domestic violence understand it starts with words. Emotional abuse, similar to much of the language Donald Trump has used on his platform, can lead to physical abuse within seconds. Watching Donald Trump circle the debate floor and stalk over Hillary was incredibly uncomfortable for many Americans to watch.

As a trained advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, I know abusers use aggression and intimidation in order to show power and control. To see a man, a presidential nominee, behave this way on live television was extraordinary. I have my own story and have spent the last two years helping survivors through an organization I created (www.instinkt.org). I find Donald Trump’s behavior beyond disgusting and offensive, both past and present. He is clearly not the only one, including a giggling Billy Bush, who needs to be educated on the dangers of blurring the lines of sexual assault. He has a very large platform right now and has acted so irresponsibly with it. So many people and organizations have pushed for better education and social responsibility against sexual assault and violence against women. It would be a shame and unacceptable to me to put someone in office who would personally lead Americans backwards.

I hope that women, men and survivors use their power against this behavior by voting in November. I have included an easily digestible chart that clearly states signs of an abuser. I encourage you to share with someone in your life who needs to see it.