My first sexual experience was assault – forgive me if I didn't laugh when Nigel Farage joked about Trump touching Theresa May

My first sexual experience was quite literally being 'grabbed by the pussy', by a man two decades my senior on a school night when I was a teenager

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The Independent Online

In an interview with TalkRadio this week, Nigel Farage envisaged a situation where the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, meets our Prime Minister, Theresa May. Farage then imagined that his advice to Trump would be: “Don’t touch her, for goodness’ sake.” This statement was followed by a hearty chortle on the part of Farage and his interviewer (while the majority of the populace laugh, rich, rude, white men invariably chortle).

This was supposedly a reference to Trump’s highly publicised statement with regards to women, that you can “grab ‘em by the pussy” and “do anything you like to them” if you’re famous. Seemingly under the impression that he was above such “locker-room” chat, Farage claimed that he would act the diplomat in the hypothetical meeting between Trump and May, saying: “I could be there in the responsible adult role, to make sure everything’s OK.”

Now, on the surface, this might seem like Farage calling Trump juvenile or predatory. But, in reality, the way in which the Ukip leader described our Prime Minister meeting up with the new President of the United States was nothing short of abhorrent and misogynistic.

For one thing, Nigel Farage should not be discussing sexual assault with anything like the levity he showed in this interview. To reduce Donald Trump’s multiple accusations of sexual assault and offensive statements about women to the laughing instruction “Don’t touch her, for goodness’ sake” is downright dangerous.

Nigel Farage jokes about Donald Trump groping Theresa May

As it happens, my first sexual experience was quite literally being “grabbed by the pussy”. As a teenager, on a school night, I had a man around two decades my senior who I had only just met put his hand up my skirt, right up to my knickers. I tried to stumble out of his reach, but was slowed by the number of shots he’d given me to drink. This was before I had ever even experienced a consensual kiss: it was my first glimpse into the dynamics of sexual politics.

I am therefore, obviously, pretty resistant to the idea of laughing off Trump’s words about women as nothing more than a loveable character foible.

But on a less personal and less obvious level, Farage’s comment is implying far more than a tacit acceptance of Donald Trump’s derogatory comments and behaviour. To suggest that, he, Farage, would need to act effectively as chaperone to Theresa May, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, is to imply that she does not have the power or authority to deal with the incident herself and is in need of a male protector.

Were Farage to have phrased the whole thing differently, and expressed a serious fear about Trump being in a room with any women on the basis of his dubious character, I would have thought he had a point. It would have been a seminal instance of Nigel Farage saying something that didn’t totally turn my stomach.

But instead of finding it terrifying that he could imagine Donald Trump sexually assaulting our Prime Minister, Farage saw it as amusing – a comic opportunity through which he could imply his own political competency. But rather than coming across as a knight in shining armour, in his promise to act as May’s protector Farage simply looked like a paternalistic moron. The idea of him ever being the “responsible adult” in any room is simply mind-boggling.

When people discuss the western world in 2016 as though it were a haven of gender equality, we should direct them to this exchange. We have found ourselves in a society where the future President of the United States is most well-known by his statements about grabbing women “by the pussy” and how “hot” his own daughter is – and we have a prominent UK politician who seems to find this fact thoroughly amusing.     

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