Mainstream Media is Snubbing the Recent Trump Rape Allegation: It’s Not Okay
This past Friday, the laundry list of sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump got even longer. If this is the first you’re hearing of this, I’m not shocked. Since advice columnist E. Jean Carroll came forward with her account of our fearless leader raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, this piece of news has largely been pushed aside. With Trump’s toddler-like indecision about Iran tensions and the increasingly pressing issue of migrant children being detained in cages, there are dozens of injustices to consume the mainstream media. Yet, this does not change the fact that a woman mustered the courage to tell the world, in chilling detail, about how the most powerful man in the US raped her. And the world is saying, We don’t really care.
As a 20-year old woman trying to find my place in Trump’s America, the lack of widespread outrage, and media coverage in general, is terrifying. When I first read Carroll’s account of a few of the “Hideous Men” she’s met in her life, I had an inkling her allegations weren’t going to be taken seriously. In fact, the article itself anticipates and addresses the same retort that I foresaw: the question that so many suit-wearing men, who have never been catcalled much less raped in a dressing room, have been asking for days. If this is true, why did you wait so long? To these critiques, Carroll states her disinterest in the death threats, disrespect, and verbal attacks that her 15 predecessors faced when they came forward.
Unfortunately, despite Carroll’s attempt to logically answer this and several other possible questions, my gut feeling was right. The relative disinterest of news outlets and the low level of social media buzz indicate that Carroll’s story is not a big deal, or at least not a top priority for our country. Like the little girl who classmates dismiss for being too bossy, Carroll’s voice is being silenced. This is a massive blow to the women in this country, who are being told that what they say doesn’t matter. Considering the 15 previous allegations, FBI statistics that say only 8% of rape accusations are “unfounded” (determined to be false after investigation), AND the recording of the man in question boasting about sexual assault, Carroll’s account is certainly not implausible. In fact, it’s entirely likely.
When 12-year-old me learned about rape through a Young Adult novel, I took it as a given that this action was undeniably bad. For my whole life, I’ve thought that as a country we’ve agreed on this simple fact. We know that murder is not okay, and neither is robbery. I thought we agreed that rape is not okay. However, us women are getting a rude wakeup call that perhaps this isn’t a given. Modern America seems to have more important things to talk about. Even if the accused has a history of bad behavior, or a powerful career, or more money than I’ll ever make, there should be no scenario where a woman says, He raped me, and hears, We don’t care in response.
Forget the little girls who are undoubtedly hearing that what they say doesn’t matter. Forget Trump and his clearly false I’ve never met this person excuse (see the picture of them together towards the end of Carroll’s article). What about the future Donald Trumps? Seeing our president successfully shrug off the accounts of numerous women is the last thing men in this country need.
So, as the news outlets keep nonchalantly updating us on each of Trump’s new excuses, I resent the fact that since this story broke, the response has not matched the magnitude of the issue. Rape is rape. And sweeping it under the rug is setting a dangerous precedent.