Donald Trump is President of the United States – so tell me again how rape allegations ruin a man’s life

During this campaign, so many women have made the extraordinarily brave decision to come out publicly with allegations against Trump. And they were not listened to. Their voices did not matter. The final word on sexual assault in this election is Trump, caught on tape, laughing

Sarah Ditum
Wednesday 09 November 2016 09:59
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Female Trump supporters shout with joy as Trump’s victory across various states is announced
Female Trump supporters shout with joy as Trump’s victory across various states is announced

America has chosen, and it chose the pussy-grabber. The guy who said his daughter was a “piece of ass”. The guy who has been accused – in multiple, mutually corroborating accounts – of sexual assault. The guy whose ex-wife accused him of rape in a divorce deposition. So tell me again how a rape accusation ruins a man’s life. Please, I am all ears for your sympathetic descriptions of the terrible injustice done to men when they’re named as the suspected perpetrator of a violent crime in exactly the same way that suspected perpetrators of violent crimes are always named.

I cannot bloody wait for the next time a man in a suit shows up on some court steps flanked by surrendered wife/girlfriend on one side and his studiously dignified solicitor on the other to deliver a statement about what a “living hell” he’s has been through and how this “shines a light” on the terrible plight of the “falsely accused”. I will watch, wide-eyed and wondering, as this familiar tableau unfolds, and I will think: how in the God-blasted hell that we currently seem to be occupying does any man have the solid brass balls to say a thing like that when Donald Trump is in the White House?

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The advocates of privacy for men charged with sexual violence against women would have you believe that what makes rape unique is the awful toll it takes on the reputation of the accused. They will argue that if female accusers have legal anonymity, then the men accused should have it too; and that if the men don’t have it, then neither should the women. As if being accused of rape were as bad as actually being raped. As if the dreadful, intimate violation of having your body broken into was as bad as standing in the dock. As if the shame and humiliation that is cast on women when men degrade us could ever, in any way, be experienced in the same way by a man who is accused.

Police and prosecution services need to do their work fairly and thoroughly, and anyone accused of a crime deserves the fullest defence possible. But the first can only happen in public court (surely no man really thinks he’d be better off tried on camera?), and the second is already available: the conviction rate for violence against women is lower than the overall conviction rate. So what the special pleading for rape suspects really amounts to is the claim that rape should not be treated as a crime.

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Why would it count as a crime, if the people it’s committed against don’t matter? If they’re not even fully people, but just women? During this campaign, so many women have made the extraordinarily brave decision to come out publicly with allegations against Trump. And they were not listened to. Their voices did not matter. The final word on sexual assault in this election is Trump, caught on tape, laughing about everything he could get away with as a powerful man. And now he’s the most powerful man in the world.

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