Donald Trump is directly contributing to rape culture

The remarks in the audio recording cannot be dismissed as ‘locker room banter’ - they were deliberately misogynistic

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The Independent Online

"Donald Trump confesses to sexual assault on tape. Congrats to [house speaker Paul Ryan] and [Republican chairman Reince Priebus] you are the party of rape."

These are the words of Michele Dauber, the Stanford law professor who is leading the recall effort against the judge who sentenced Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to just six months behind bars for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

In the hours after a leaked audio recording exposed the married Trump talking about hitting on and sexually assaulting women, people reacted with anger and dismay. In a statement, he said he apologised "if" anyone was offended.

"I did try to f*** her," he says to Billy Bush in the 2005 video. "I moved on her like a bitch."

Even his conservative cronies won't like it. The woman in question was married.

The exposed audio recording, reported by the Washington Post, is the strongest example of predatory language we have ever seen from a presidential candidate. What other audio recordings have yet to be leaked that span the last 50 years?

In Trump’s world of “stars”, women are objects to be hunted. They are to be bragged about and dismissed. They are objects to be assaulted.

His world, however, is the one that is increasingly being reflected across the country: women are being assaulted at parties, on college campuses, at work and at home.

His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said in 2013 that rape wouldn’t exist if women were as physically strong as men and could push them away. One can imagine her sitting in Trump Tower now, her head in her hands.

Maybe sexual assault would not exist to the same extent if high-profile figures, including politicians and businessmen, did not brag about groping women who, according to Trump, "let [them] do it" because the men can do "whatever [they] want".

How to defend the indefensible?

Trump urges terminally ill to get out and vote

Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski tried. 

"We’re electing a leader, not a Sunday school teacher," he said on CNN. Mr Lewandowski had been arrested and charged with battery of a female reporter. He denies the charges and the Palm Beach county state attorney ordered the charges to be dropped.

His former boss - 59 when the recording was made, now 70 - is running for president. His supporters say he cannot be blamed for comments made a decade ago. Yet the idea that he has developed respect for women as equal human beings in the past decade is extremely unlikely.

As sad and degrading as the remarks are, they are not surprising. 

We have seen him repeatedly talk over his wife, Melania Trump, during a 2005 interview with Larry King, focusing on his own financial contributions to her lifestyle rather than admitting she had her own modeling career.

We have heard him call women "dogs", "slobs" and "pigs". 

We have witnessed him make repeated, vicious and singular attacks against his perceived enemies like Rosie O’Donnell and Megyn Kelly, even during the first presidential debate.

He hired Roger Ailes as a debate coach, a man who left Fox News - with a multi-million dollar payout - after being repeatedly sued for sexual harassment. He denies wrongdoing and reached a settlement of $20 million with former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. Anchor Andrea Tantaros has refused to settle.

Trump also hired Steve Bannon, a man who was accused of domestic violence in the 1990s in a police report. Mr Bannon pleaded not guilty and said he was never interviewed by the police, and had a great relationship with his ex-wife.

Now we have heard Trump talking about making advances on women as if he was a huntsman. 

Republican National Committee chairman Mr Priebus issued a statement, saying: "No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever."

The timing is horribly embarrassing for Republicans. Just four hours before the leak, house speaker Paul Ryan was tweeting his support for the new Survivors' Bill of Rights Act.

"Victims of sexual assault deserve full protection under the law," he tweeted. "And now, they will have it."

How can women and men possibly expect the future president to protect women from sexual assault when Trump is apparently so comfortable talking about predatory behaviour himself?