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America has failed to recognize one perpetrator of sexual harassment: its President


By: Audrey Bernstein ’20

In October, Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault. He was fired from his position at The Weinstein Co. In November, Comedian Louis C.K. was accused of misconduct. Media companies distanced themselves. Television host Charlie Rose was fired from CBS in the wake of harassment allegations. Notice a pattern?

Since the 1980s, however, President Donald Trump has been accused by at least 16 women of sexual harassment. And yet, this man remains our leader.

The apparent outlier in this data is what concerns me. Because, as sexual assault garners attention from every vein of the United States, the face of our nation remains protected despite his actions.

After Weinstein’s position was terminated, it seemed as if a floodgate had opened. Women around the nation identified themselves as sexual assault survivors with #metoo. According to CBS, 223 women in the national security field signed a letter on Nov. 28, revealing their own encounters with harassment.

When I heard of the women who voiced their experiences, I applauded our nation. Since October, we have adhered to our founding values of equality. Many of the perpetrators faced consequences, and these brave women were finally given a podium.

However, my thinking was quickly rerouted when I heard a statement from Trump in defense of Republican Roy Moore, who was accused of child molestation. Trump immediately denounced the claims, stating that Moore denies them, so they must be false.

According to the President, a man’s denial is enough to silence a woman’s claims for good. Because he said so, the nation should become blind to this injustice.

Similarly, when accused himself of harassment, Trump was quick to turn down the allegations. In response to statements that he harassed a woman during an interview, Trump countered the argument and suggested that she was not attractive enough for him to assault. “Look at her,” he said.

I have grown up in a community where my voice is encouraged, and I never felt as though my gender suppressed my purpose. These are characteristics of my life that I always viewed as commonplace. Because of this, it was completely jarring to see women’s voices so carelessly and unanimously brushed aside.

I never realized how lucky I was to have grown up feeling heard and acknowledged.

In recent days, I have become more attuned to the words of my classmates. I have heard students laugh and make light of harassment scandals. I have heard students complain about what fills the news. This is Trump’s America. We must stop sensationalizing these issues and recognize that perhaps the true perpetrator is the man at the head of it all.


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