It’s not okay, Donald Trump

This is a post reply from a woman on Facebook, who I don’t know. The original post, which I also replied to, was written by a friend. To summarize, my friend’s post was about her disappointment in Donald Trump’s recorded remarks about women and how she feels that, when it comes to rape culture, words are just as powerful as actions. I can no longer remain silent on this issue so I’d like to thank the smart and kind woman for her post reply. Your logical and polite comment has inspired me to do the exact opposite of what you did, which was to generalize all men and speak your mind while simultaneously telling others to “just stop.”

You see the difference between you and I is that I welcome dialogue and comments from people who disagree with me. I believe in Freedom of Speech. I believe everyone has the right to voice their own opinion.

This isn’t about who you should vote for in November. This is about something bigger than that. This is about the difference between locker room banter and words of sexual assault. This is about a society that continues to believe it’s okay to allow words of sexual assault to seep into the minds of men who grope other women and think that’s okay. It’s not okay. It never has been and it never will be.

As an American man, I can tell you that we all don’t talk like Donald Trump and most of us don’t even come close to saying the things he said. I agree that some of what Donald Trump said can be classified as man talk, but certainly not all of it.

I’m a 36-year-old man. I’ve been around guys in locker rooms, dorms, bars, and every other social setting you can imagine. I’ve never heard another man talk about his privileged free pass to “grab ’em by the pussy” or “do anything” to women. Let’s be clear about the difference between locker room banter and words of sexual assault. Locker room banter is commenting on a woman’s body and saying what you would do with her. Locker room banter is saying a woman is “hot” and that you’d “hit that.” I’m guilty of this and I think most men are too. When you put a few guys in a locker room or a few women on a patio, the opposite sex is bound to come up and sexual comments will be made. But here’s the difference. For most people, it ends there.

Saying that women let you touch them because you’re a star or that you have the power to grope them is not locker room banter. Those are words of sexual assault. Getting the urge to kiss women and then acting on that urge without their consent is also not locker room banter. That’s what a man does when he sexually assaults a woman. I’m not accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault. I don’t know what he has or hasn’t done. But I do know his words have dangerously crossed the line of respect for women and their bodies. And that’s not okay.

We need to stop blurring the line between a comment about a woman’s legs and words that suggest unwanted sexual contact. We need to stop condoning words that go beyond fantasy and promote the actions of a sexual assailant. Yes, there is a line and when a majority of women are offended and threatened, guess what? You’ve crossed the line.

For the first and probably only time, I’d like to publicly thank Donald Trump. Thank you for speaking your mind about women and your privileges as a star. Thank you for the dialogue you’ve started around the world and the renewed attention in social media on rape. And thank you for inspiring me to take a stand on this important issue.

Millions of brave women have already come forward to publicly share their experiences with sexual assault and tell the world, it’s #notokay. And I hope millions of men will join me and finally say those three words we all need to hear. It’s not okay.