Sexual assault and politics are intertwined


Savanna Briscoe, Staff Columnist

For reasons unknown, as a society we continue to ignore the major red flags that arise when it comes to politicians and their prior history with sexual assault. Many politicians have been convicted or accused of sexual violence throughout their career, especially in recent years. Both Democratic and Republican politicians have been exposed for their prior disturbing actions, and most of the time, Americans still ignore their past by putting on rose-colored glasses.

 As an American citizen, I have never understood why our society pretends to be unaware that politicians and sexual assault do, in fact, co-exist. It is my understanding that, as a society, we want to see these men in power as leaders or someone who can change America for the greater good. When we ignore the red flags and major signs that some of these politicians have kept hidden in the dark for years, we are not only causing hurt for our nation, but we are also hurting the victims of sexual violence who are now afraid to speak up against these powerful men.

  While there are many politicians with a previous history of sexual violence, there are also many politicians who have never committed such crimes yet are still being accused of things they never acted on. It is important that, as a nation, we are able to recognize which politicians are true sexual predators and which politicians are simply being falsely accused. When we elect these politicians for either president, the House or the Senate, it’s important that, as citizens of the United States, we thoroughly investigate each political candidate.

 Many politicians and candidates running for the position of president are hiding behind a mask – a mask that carries their deepest, dirtiest secrets that they are too ashamed to reveal. For instance, the current president of the United States, Donald Trump, has a history of sexual violence accusations. Many women have spoken up before and during his presidency regarding their unwanted sexual encounters with him. Of course, he denied every accusation that was raised to his attention because, again, he is one of the most powerful men in our country and anything he says goes.

On June 24th, 2019, CNN published an article written by Max Blau and Maegan Vazquez that shared the stories of the many women who claim to be the victims of sexual assault and harassment by Donald Trump. According to the article, “At the second presidential debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper posed a pointed question to Donald Trump in regards to the leaked 2005 “Access Hollywood” video that caught him saying of women that he felt entitled to “Grab them by the genitals.” Trump, downplaying his remarks as “locker room talk,” denied he had ever kissed or groped women without consent.” Some of the women who have accused Trump of sexual violence are Jessica Leeds (1980), Mindy McGillivray (2003), Rachel Crooks (2006), Natasha Stoynoff (2005), Temple Taggart (1997), Kristin Anderson (1990), Summer Zervos (2007), Cathy Heller (1997), Jill Harth (1992), Jessica Drake (2006), Karena Virginia (1998), Ninni Laaksonen (2006), Alva Johnson (August, 2016), E. Jean Carroll (1995), etc. The numerous women who have spoken up instead of remaining silent raises alarming red flags that we have yet to further investigate.

 With that being said, it becomes even more difficult to accuse any politician of sexual assault or violence, either due to lack of evidence or our country’s policy of “innocent until proven guilty.” In order to end sexual violence in the political realm and in general, we must work harder to provide the evidence needed to expose these guilty politicians. The countless women who have fallen victims to politicians’ sexual violence and assault aren’t being heard and are automatically labeled as “attention-seekers.”

Not only is this disturbing, it’s also heartbreaking to know that these women who are victims of sexual violence and assault have either been forced to remain silent or have chosen to stay silent because they know no one will believe them over the powerful man who took away their innocence. It’s sickening that we live in a world that is catered to men and their desires.  

I stand with all the women who are too afraid to speak up in fear of being silenced or ignored. When it comes to sexual violence and politics, or sexual violence in general, we must stop ignoring the women who are crying out for help. We must give them a voice and allow them to be heard, because their stories are real most of the time. They are raw and gut-wrenching. Their stories come from pain they once experienced. Just because a politician appears to have it all and seems to have the ability to make our country great again, that isn’t an excuse to ignore what is right in front of us: the raw truth.