It is Not “Locker Room Talk”: Expect Our Leaders to Lead to Prevent Sexual Violence


The release of recording of Donald Trump last week has ignited conversations about sexual assault throughout the country. His words included the following:

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Many people are condemning these comments and many have withdrawn their endorsement of Trump. At last night’s Presidential Debate, Trump continued to describe his comments as merely “locker room talk.” The banter between Donald Trump and Billy Bush exemplify what is rape culture – attitudes and beliefs that justify and support sexual violence. I am disturbed hearing a presidential candidate cavalierly boast about behavior that is sexual assault.

Instead of perpetrating rape culture, I want our leaders in this country to work to challenge such behaviors. I want to hear how people who seek to be our leaders will challenge male entitlement, seek to support policies to prevent sexual violence, and serve as role models for respectful and healthy behaviors.

It is encouraging to hear some male athletes challenge such language as acceptable “locker room talk.” Now it is time for our politicians to take action against rape culture.

David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project Prevention Connection, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 29 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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