I’m not bothered by the fact that Donald Trump was found to have made lewd comments about a woman on the set of an interview. I’m not bothered by the fact that he even went so far as to suggest that he could and would sexually assault that woman. I’m bothered by the fact that the story did not surprise me in any way. I’m bothered by the fact that I read it and found it completely in character with everything we’ve seen from the man thus far. But I’m even more bothered by the idea that many will still support him, even defend him. After his apology in which he stated that these comments are completely okay and normal conversation for men, he’ll still carry the vote of those card carrying Republicans who’ve stood by him thus far.They’ll make comments referring to Bill Clinton (as Trump already did) and they’ll consider this to wave it all away. They’ll “stand by their man” regardless of his words. They’ll serve as an example to wives and daughters that they consider this completely acceptable behavior from a man, and that it’s forgivable, at least if the person behaving this way is a white male Republican.
And that’s the deeper issue that concerns me. Worst case scenario, we’re stuck with Trump for 8 years if he wins the presidency. But this attitude, which seems more pervasive than I’d initially like to believe, will last for generations more if there isn’t a concerted effort to stamp it out. The ideas of treating women as objects, that if you’re rich and powerful enough you can get away with anything, and that sexual advances should be made without invitation or preamble all lead to a rape culture that leaves us with a significant portion of the women in our society having been raped, and an even larger portion who have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. The statistics on this are terrifying and heart breaking, but the personal stories of women I’ve met hit home all the more. No one should have to carry the pain and fear of these experiences for the rest of their lives, and no one should have to feel shame for the actions that a man like this has taken. And yet, shame seems to be a predominate result. The victim is far too often left blaming themselves, and when they tell others, their friends and family will blame them as well. All while excuses are made for the person who perpetrated this action, they’re encouraged to go on with their lives. At most, they remember the experience as a point of bragging, talking about the trophy they took rather than the well deserved shame of the sin they committed.
I remain steadfastly committed to the Kingdom of God, a worldview that demands that both men and women are treated as made in the image of their Creator and deserving of respect and dignity. That neither gender should be able to rule over the other, but both are expected to work together to build a better world serving as caretakers and stewards of the garden we have been planted in. Donald Trump will die one day, but the current stream of sin that he is an outgrowth of will live on, and that is what we must combat. We have a responsibility to raise our sons to respect their fellow human being, and we must raise our daughters to reject this kind of treatment, reject shame, and speak out for their proper place in society as trusted and respected equals.