Trump’s vile comments came during a campaign full of insults and invective aimed at pretty much everyone: Muslims, Mexicans, Latinos, women, Jews and African-Americans. Trump’s so-called “locker room talk” could very well destroy his bid for the presidency. But what Trump has unleashed is much bigger than one leaked tape. If we’re honest with ourselves, this moment may be a cultural watershed: Trump stands for millions of people — male and female — who think it’s normal to treat women like “a piece of a–,” which is what Trump told radio host Howard Stern was OK to call Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. What’s worse: He meant it as a compliment.
More than a dozen women have now come forward accusing Trump of “inappropriate touching.” But he is hardly alone in perpetrating these everyday, casual attacks on women. With his behavior in the public spotlight, many more women have cause to talk about our experiences with other equally presumptuous, aggressive and invasive men. It is finally possible for us to fully recognize, as a nation, just how much sexual assault is a normalized behavior in our culture.