A 2005 audio recording from US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, further reveals his attitude towards women. In the 22 second clip (recorded eight months after marrying his current wife Melania) he enthusiastically offers some of his experiences and views on women to Billy Bush, a TV host and relative of Jeb and George Bush.
"I moved on her, and I failed. I'll admit it...I did try and fuck her. She was married...And I moved on her very heavily... I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there. And she was married... Then all of a sudden I see her, she's now got the big phony tits and everything. She's totally changed her look...
"I am automatically attracted to beautiful women. 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."
Some media commentators seem more disturbed at Trump's comments being repeated than they are that he said them in the first place. The headlines from most media outlets describe the recording as an "extremely lewd conversation". Google defines lewd as, "crude and offensive in a sexual way." While this goes some way to describing the recording, we must be clear that Donald Trump is not only being lewd, he is admitting sexually assaulting women. His words are misogynistic and a hate crime towards women. His beliefs of entitlement over women's bodies and sexual autonomy are on display. Billy Bush's complicity exemplifies just how acceptable such hate of women is in our society.
Responding to the Trump tape in a statement, Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader said,
"As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologise directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape."
Alongside Republican politicians, peoples' concern for daughters, sisters and mothers was out in force on Twitter:
In the work to end male violence against women, it has been found it is easier to engage men in the cause if they make the connection between the issues and their daughters. Martin Daubney's launch into mainstream media came as he announced that having a child made him realise that Loaded magazine (which he edited) was selling "boys the debasing view of women as one-dimensional fakes".
Are men so lacking in empathy that women only become worthy of respect if they are intimately acquainted with a particular woman? Can they only care if they are emotionally invested in individual women and girls' lives? What an indictment on men across the world! That women only matter once a man has a direct emotional connection to them. Until then what are women? B*tches and p*ssies to grab?
As the tweets above show, it is women as well as men whose main concern is for their daughters. Most women will likely have found that they are unable to object to being dehumanised and debased. If women do, we are criticised, for being too emotional and are making public statements about another woman all about ourselves. "Only self-centred, selfish women would make a public figure's hateful comments about them!" Therefore, our only recourse to challenging such evil is to defend our daughters, sisters and mothers.
When dogs are found to be mistreated, people don't qualify their horror about animal abuse, "As a dog owner I find that reprehensible". We recognise the nature of evil and call it out. Yet we are unable to do this with hateful comments and proud confessions of sexual assault on women. Instead we qualify it, "as a mother/father/sister I am horrified by Trump's comments". Women are people and unqualified horror at Trump dehumanising half the human race should be a given. Perhaps it's because we are yet to be a society which sees women as people.
James Dobson, Eric Metaxas, Jerry Falwell and other senior evangelical conservatives (mainly white men) have endorsed Trump's presidential campaign. James Dobson has said, "Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit... And, if Christians stay home because he isn't a better candidate, Hillary will run the world for perhaps eight years. The very thought of that haunts my nights and days."
In the US and the UK, many Christians seem willing to excuse Trump's misogyny, racism and many character deficits as irrelevant because he has made shallow promises to protect their religious rights. Yet what religion is God looking for? Another James (the one from the Bible) tells us that, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
God makes clear that the treatment of women and children is close to his heart. In the society James was writing in, women and children really did only have value in relationship to the men who owned them. In that context, God overturned the status quo and insisted that they were human too and that true religion was measured on whether we saw them as such.
We can but hope that this tape signals the end of Trump's campaign. However, this is an opportunity for us all to examine our beliefs and attitudes. Even if we are confident that we are not Trump, how many of us are Billy Bush; complicit with our "banter"? How many men could begin investing in the fate of women, even without an emotional connection to one? And as women, perhaps this can be a wake-up call that being female makes us part of a global sisterhood and standing up for ourselves is necessary in the fight to create a world where women are recognised to be people too.