In his "apology" for bragging about his ability to freely grope women in 2005, which recently came to light after they were obtained by the Washington Post, Donald Trump dismissed the whole debacle as a "distraction" from the real issues at hand. But for millions of women everywhere, sexual assault is definitely more than something that's taking away from a political campaign. On Friday, after the statements came to light and Trump apologized, Canadian writer Kelly Oxford called for women to share their experiences with sexual assault, because it is definitely more than just a "distraction."
Trump's apology was problematic for a few reasons, namely because he didn't actually apologize to anyone, especially women, who he basically said he could treat however he wants because he's famous. He said that he could "grab them by the p---y" and that he automatically started kissing pretty women without consent. All of that, by definition, is sexual assault. At the very least, Trump should apologize for perpetuating rape culture and glorifying sexual assault, but of course he's not human enough to do that.
He didn't even address the issue of sexual assault. Luckily, Oxford stepped in and asked women to share their stories and experiences with sexual assault on Twitter, and the results were harrowing.
Oxford said that the responses poured in at an astonishing two stories per second. "I was 11. An older boy walked me home, turned around w/ his dick out. I just realized: I have no memory of what happened next," wrote Emily Lindin. "Took me a while to remember which one of the numerous assaults I’ve experienced was my first, too. This was just 1st physical," wrote photographer Hexica Zollman.
The stories are heartbreaking and horrific. They range from women who were very young and women who were well into their adulthood. The stories ranged in their scope and severity, but they all shared one very common element: They weren't OK. None of the things that happened to these women were in any way acceptable, and it certainly wasn't OK that a man running for president of the United States would perpetuate it.
It's not clear if Trump apologizing directly to women would have given much comfort to women, but Oxford's impromptu campaign at least seems to provide some catharsis and awareness.