What really constitutes as “locker room talk?”

Kaitlyn Mellom, Social Work BA

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I am sure at this point we have all heard the infamous audio recording in which Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, boasts his ability to do whatever he wants to women he lusts after simply because he is a celebrity. This recording was quick to be dismissed by Trump supporters as everyday “locker room” talk and something that all men are familiar with. But is it really just that? The statements Trump made in this recording are certainly cringe worthy, however they are also dangerous. Trump is in the running to become one of the most powerful people in this country, and making comments such as these further perpetuates the rape culture in not only our society but on college campuses such as ours.

Believing that such language is simply “how it is” is why rape culture is so prevalent today. A number of individuals, many professional athletes, have publicly argued Trump’s defense by saying that that is not how their locker room talk goes. While it is incredibly commendable for them to do so, the amount of people defending his words shows just how troubling this rape culture has become. In this recording, Donald Trump is talking about sexually assaulting women just because he can. It cannot be excused as anything else but sexual assault. The problem with statements such as what was found in this recording is that it normalizes this idea that a man can do whatever he wants to a woman simply because he wants her. This allows for individuals to take the next step and actually go through with the things they say they want to do, consent completely forgotten.

The aftermath of this thinking is more dangerous on college campuses than perhaps most other settings. It has been found that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted by the time she graduates from college. As college students, we witness the dismissal of rape culture and the acceptance of its results (i.e. the numerous sexual assaults on this campus in the past two months alone) regularly. This has resulted in a feeling of a lack of safety and support for those who may have been or could be attacked. Sexual assault victims are often blamed for their attacks, but I believe that we need to look at the world we are in and the type of culture we have created.

The only way we can hope to begin to end the perpetuation of rape culture, and ultimately the sexual assault that occurs, is to stop making excuses for behavior such as this. It is not okay to speak of or treat people in this way and it will continue to happen the longer we stay silent. I encourage you to take a stand against the rape culture of our world and fight back against those who attempt to dismiss it. Remember, just because something was accepted any number of years ago does not mean that it is destined to be so for forever.