Inside Higher Ed
10.11.16 | Jake New
Advocates for victims say leaked video of Republican not only points to troubling attitudes but highlights a key difference in the campaign platforms of the candidates.
On Friday, video obtained by The Washington Post showed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump boasting about how he has groped and kissed women without their permission. In the 2005 video, Trump can be heard saying that his fame allows him to “do anything” to women, including grabbing them “by the pussy.” At the start of Sunday’s presidential debate, co-moderator Anderson Cooper asked Trump about the comments.
“You called what you said ‘locker-room banter,’” Cooper said. “You described kissing women without their consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”
Trump replied that it was Cooper who didn’t “understand what was said," and that the comments were “locker-room talk” and not to be taken literally.
Cooper was correct in describing what Trump boasted of as sexual assault, and the Obama administration has pushed colleges to treat any sexual activity without explicit consent as assault. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Education has issued detailed guidance on how colleges should handle reports of sexual violence, investigated nearly 200 institutions and created a star-studded awareness campaign.
In the days since Trump's comments went public, many experts and advocates have noted how it draws attention to the important issue of consent on college campuses. Trump's response has also brought into sharper focus the difference between how Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, might tackle campus sexual assault.