Skip to main content

The MAGA storming of the Capitol is two years old. The attempted coup is still happening. The reshaping of the Republican Party as an insurrectionary force and the expansion of armed gangs aim to smash democracy. Please help us to inform, to mobilize and to inspire the forces of multi-racial, radical, inclusive democracy to defeat this threat in 2023.

Women Share Rape Stories in Response to Donald Trump's Disgusting Comments

Last week, hours after the disclosure of #TrumpTapes, and the gloating predatory and misogynist language Donald Trump used, New York Times best-selling author, survivor, and Twitter legend Kelly Oxford asked sexual assault survivors to share their stories. The result is nothing short of harrowing. Teen Vogue magazine shared some of the most immediate responses the next day. Today, there are even more allegations of Trump's sexual assualts and the defense by GOP leaders.

Lydia Ortiz // Teen Vogue,.
By Vera Papisova
October 8, 2016
It's only been a few hours since #TrumpTapes, and internet users are rightfully outraged by the predatory and misogynist language Donald Trump used in a recently discovered recording of a conversation that took place in 2005. In the recording, he bragged about sexually assaulting women. What may be even more disturbing than his comments are that some people continueto support him and even deny that rape culture exists. In response, New York Times best-selling author, survivor, and Twitter legend Kelly Oxford asked sexual assault survivors to share their stories. The result is nothing short of harrowing.

The truth is Donald Trump's inexcusable statements are the definition of rape culture, which is a very real thing that does exist. His remarks are not only offensive, but they add to Donald'slegacy of degrading girls and women. His consistent disregard for women actually enables violence against them by perpetuating — you guessed it — rape culture.

Kelly initially responded to the recording with a Tweet saying, "This is rape culture. This is what we hear and live." Predictably, this was met with salty reactions from people like this guywho not only claims that rape culture doesn't exist, but also asserts that "82% of women don't like feminists." Meanwhile, a recent poll shows that 72% of Americans actually believe that men and women should be social, political and economic equals (this is the definition of feminism.)

In true feminist fashion, Kelly continued to prove just how real rape culture is by asking women to share their sexual assault stories using the hashtag #NotOkay.

Shortly after asking survivors to share their experiences, Kelly said "thousands" of stories have already been shared.

This should surprise no one.

Nearly one in four women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime, and the majority of rape survivors are young women and girls. And when we say young, we mean young — 80% of rape survivors are under age 30, 42% of female rape survivors were first raped before age 18, and girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be survivors of rape or attempted rape. About 15% of freshman women reported an attempted or completed rape during their first year on campus — 18.6% when researchers accounted for women who reported more than one event, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

If you're not white, your narrative is missing from much of the discussion surrounding sexual assault, even though women of color experience higher rates of sexual violence over the course of their lifetime. Approximately 40% of black women report coercive sexual contact of some kind by age 18. According to the Department of Justice, Native American women and girls are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than other populations. One in three Native women reports having been raped. This is almost double the rate at which white women are raped: 17.7%.

If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)


The chances of being sexually assaulted are so high for Native girls that the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center has created a guide called “What To Do When You’re Raped.”

In general, members of the LGBTQ community are disproportionately affected by violence as compared with their heteronormative peers. Studies show approximately 1 in 8 lesbian women (13%) and nearly half of bisexual women (46%) have been raped in their lifetime. Nearly half of bisexual men and 4 in10 gay men have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime. A horrifying 64% of transgender people have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime, and a 1 in 10 transgender individuals have been sexually assaulted in a healthcare setting.

The prevalence of sexual assault among various communities is a testament to how many people are affected by it. The sexual assault epidemic affects everybody. It not only affects women, but it affects men and people of all gender identities, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It will continue to be this way until we identify and acknowledge what rape culture is.

Rape culture is promoting the idea that men and boys are incapable of controlling their sexual urges around women and girls, because "boys will be boys," which actually implies that all men are inherently rapists. All men are not rapists, and they should be taught that they are very capable of not sexually assaulting anyone.

Listen here
Another form of rape culture is victim blaming, of which common iterations include saying "they were asking for it" and asking questions like "what were you wearing?" after learning about a sexual assault. If you're really not sure if someone was asking for it or not, don't worry — we checked. We asked survivors of sexual assault what they were wearing when they were raped, and here are the results. If someone is sexually assaulted, it is never their fault, regardless of what they were wearing or how they were acting. It might be uncomfortable to admit that you can't do anything to prevent sexual assault from happening to you. That's OK. We can collectively prevent sexual assault if we all work together to make sure everyone understands what healthy and safe sex is, including what consent looks and sounds like.

By the way, denying sex education to young people also keeps rape culture alive. Young people around the world say they want to learn more about sex, and they should be able to. Everyone should have access to information that will help them not only protect themselves but also respect each other's bodies.

The issue is not that people have sex. The issue is that people have sex without learning how to do so safely and in a way that is comfortable and positive for everyone involved. Sadly, the Guttmacher Institute reports that in the United States, sex education is only required in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and only 13 states require that sex ed is medically accurate. It should surprise no one that Donald Trump doesn't know what consent is, because most people don't know what consent is.

The general lack of understanding around sex is likely one of the reasons why, according to arecent survey, 63% of people think too little is done to educate high school students on sexual assault, and 61% of people said the same about colleges. The vast majority of people, 88%, support teaching students how to ask for consent and even more support teaching how to recognize consent in a sexual partner. Ninety-five percent of people support teaching students how to avoid sexually assaulting someone.

And yet, despite overwhelming public support, many states ban teachers from advocating sex ed in any way. Abstinence-only education ends the conversation about healthy sex before it even starts. There is currently zero evidence supporting abstinence-only sex education, yet in the past 25 years, Congress has spent over $1.5 billion on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. If politicians and lawmakers continue to support these programs, we will continue to live in a world where a 12-year-old girl can be slut shamed by her principal because something she was "distracting boys" by wearing a skirt.

The first step in ending rape culture is admitting that rape culture exists. The next step is making comprehensive, body positive sex education accessible to as many people as possible. But first, register to vote and then vote.

Click here.
By Julianna Baggott
October 8, 2016
Dear Donald Trump,
I will not accept your apology for bragging about sexually assaulting women. In fact, as a woman, I strongly reject it until you stand up and apologize to everyone you need to ask for forgiveness. I'm going to start the list for you here, knowing that it's not even close to the full account of those you've hurt. 
But this is where you can begin:
To everyone you denied housing to with that ugly little code-letter C for Colored;
To the then 15-year-olds Yusef Salaam and Antron McCray, 14-year-olds Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson, and 16-year-old Korey Wise. You took out full-page newspaper ads calling to reinstate the death penalty before their trials. They've all been exonerated based on DNA evidence. I want you to apologize to them for your behavior decades ago but also for your behavior now. As of this week, you're still publicly insisting that they're guilty. Stop it. Apologize. 
To Khizr and Ghazala Khan, father of the Muslim US soldier killed in combat, U.S. Army Captain Humayan Khan, Recipient of a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal;
To all our soldiers and Veterans because when you tore down U.S. Army Captain Humayan Khan, you tore all of them down.
To all of our POWs. How dare you denigrate their enormous sacrifice. You should include a public apology to Senator McCain. 
To all who suffer PTSD. How dare you -- having never seen a moment of combat -- insinuate that they're weak.
To all those who are disabled, their families and loved ones. I've been awed by their toughness. You should be too. 
To Serge Kovaleski, the New York Times reporter who you openly mocked on film and then lied about it, as if a lie is a kind of apology.
To my daughters, my sisters, my mother, and the women I admire and rely on. To all of us in this country. I don't just want your apology for bragging about assaulting them -- you're comments are sickening. I want apologies to all the women you've called dogs and pigs and slobs and Miss Piggy, to all the women you've demeaned and belittled when the mic didn't catch you. 
To Rosie O'Donnell, Megyn Kelly, Elizabeth Warren, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Hillary Clinton - for suggesting to your angry crowds that someone shoot her. Twice.  
To President Obama for years of your racist birther rhetoric and to all of us for lying about those years - on film - of pushing your racist birther rhetoric.
To the women of the future who you want to punish for seeking abortions, to all the women who've had abortions and had to hear your call for punishment
To our rich history - to the immigrants who came to this country and flourished.
To all of the immigrants who make our country stronger every day.
To all the immigrant families that will be torn apart under your plan.
To my fellow Muslim Americans. In fact, I want an apology to Freedom of Religion itself. It's one of the principles this country was founded on.
To all those who have already been affected by the hate-mongering that you incites. To the brokenness we've already suffered because of the hatefulness of your rhetoric.
To the Black Lives Matters Movement
To the entire community of people of color. I want an apology for not condemning David Duke and white supremacists.
To Colin Kaepernick. He doesn't need to go looking for another country to live in - as you said like a third-grader on a playground. Kaepernick is peacefully and patriotically fighting for the best version of this country.   
To the LGBTQ community who need to have their rights protected, not threatened by a president who would strongly consider appointing judges to overthrow marriage equality.
To the transgender community who need to be protected in every state in the country, treated with equal access to everything from bathrooms to employment, fair housing, healthcare, and education.
To all the people you've stiffed, refusing to pay what you owe - carpenters, dishwashers, painters, glass company workers, a plumber, waiters, real estate brokers. I want an apology to your own lawyers.
To all those you've bullied with lawsuits, knowing that the costs wouldn't affect you but would ruin them.
To all those you've ruined.
To your first two wives, both of whom alleged that you were abusive.
To all the people you could have helped if you'd actually donated to all the places you've lied about donating to - including your own foundation.
To all of the good things in our country that would have been made stronger if you'd actually paid your tax bill instead of desperately cashing in loopholes - our schools, our research community searching for cures for cancer, our police and firefighters, our hospitals, our infrastructure, our social programs.
To everyone who actually does pay their taxes fairly - without searching desperately for loopholes. 
To those who pay taxes because it's simply the law and to those who pay them because they believe it's how we keep our country stable, on the most basic level; it's how we thrive and grow; and it's how we care for each other during the toughest of times.  
To all the students who paid for classes in Trump University, not just the ones who are suing the university for being a sham.
To the environment. I want an acknowledgement that you said that global warming is a hoax - it's on tape - and I want you to apologize to lying. Apologize to the environment, our world.   
To all those who've died of gun violence and all their loved ones
I want you to apologize for your terrifying comments on nuclear weapons. I want you to apologize to our allies for your unhinged, off-the-cuff comments on major international issues.
I want you to apologize for your comments on reinstating torture and killing the innocent families of terrorists, which has only strengthened terrorists' claims against us, made it easier to recruit, and made us more of a target.
I want you to apologize to the nation of young people who've had to hear all of your hideous comments and to their parents, many of whom had to explain the ugliness of the world to their children, the ugliness that you have embodied, day after day, insult after insult, vulgarity after vulgarity.  
I want you to apologize to boys who, from watching and listening to you, might have gotten the mistaken impression that bullying and lying and bragging about assaulting women and assaulting women have anything to do with being a good man. 
To all those who have dedicated their lives to journalism, foregoing more lucrative careers, because they wanted to dedicate themselves to giving witness, to digging for the truth.
I want an apology to the Freedom of the Press.
I want an apology to the truth itself.
I want you to sit in a room and watch the tapes of everything you've stated -- many times over knowingly on camera -- that you then lied about having said, also all on camera. I want Americans to be able to watch you watch those tapes, back-to-back, and for you to acknowledge all of the bold-faced lies and apologize to the American people, once and for all.     
And, in honor of the truth, I want you to apologize to all those who have supported you. You've lied to them and incited them to violence and the rest of us won't accept that behavior as it spills out; they're going to find their lives much harder - in their workplace, in society, in their schools, in the legal system. 
I don't expect you to understand my stance. You divide and categorize people, but most of us see ourselves as part a beautifully diverse country. We take care of each other and we stand up for each other.  When you set your sights on one group of Americans, you tear us all down, piece by piece. And when we stand up for each other, we mend those tears and become stronger.  
This is what standing up for others looks like. This is what stronger together looks like.
Julianna Baggott