The second presidential debate started off with Donald Trump repeatedly masking his desire to "grab women by the p*ssy" as "locker room talk." Then, as expected, he pivoted to his usual spew of fear-mongering talking points on ISIS. Perhaps he really thought that he could distract audiences from the disgraceful issue at hand by reminding voters that ISIS is chopping off people's heads. But the Republican nominee's instant switch from condoning what amounts to sexual assault to "discussing the larger issues," as he described them, has a clear, direct thread: Trump's "locker room talk" encourages global violence against women.
This rhetoric that makes it "acceptable" for Trump to talk openly about "grabbing" women is the same rhetoric that allows for women to be tortured by the terrorist groups he is so fond of mentioning. Trump, apparently, has forgotten that women are frequently the victims of ISIS' torture. To be more specific, women and young girls are often systematically kidnapped, raped, and sexually enslaved by ISIS, a 2014 report from Amnesty International found.
While some may consider it a jump to move from "locker room talk" to sexual enslavement, they are at their core one in the same. Both see women as objects and as a means to an end. Whether "grabbed by the p*ssy" by the Republican presidential nominee or sexually assaulted by ISIS, each action has the same outcome: the dehumanization of women.
Trump, however, doesn't see it that way. When asked about the tape, and whether it was an appropriate model of behavior for today's youth, the Republican nominee launched into a tirade:
This was locker room talk. I'm not proud of it. I apologize to my family. To the American people. Certainly I'm not proud of it. But this is locker room talk. When we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have frankly drowning people in steel cages, wars and horrible, horrible sights all over, so many bad things happening.
He then told moderator Anderson Cooper that they should "get on to much more important things and much bigger things" than his tape.
To Trump, there's no correlation between the repeated comments he's made against women and the violence they experience both in the United States and abroad. Normalizing this kind of sexist talk doesn't lead to violent action, he incorrectly thinks.
But as the Republican candidate for leader of the free world, Trump should understand that his "locker room talk" has worldwide consequences. It isn't confined to his personal bubble, and indeed never has been.