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Men Shouldn’t Forget the President’s Misogyny

Father’s Day is an appropriate time to remember that the man occupying the White House represents among the worst expressions of manhood the US has ever seen. That dangerous truth is being obscured by so many of Donald Trump’s other treacherous actions. Million of words have been written excoriating the questionably elected president on a host of topics—from denying climate change to restricting minority voting rights; from restricting women’s reproductive rights to promoting harsh prison sentences for nonviolent offenders. Almost entirely absent in this blizzard of assaults on social progress, is the predator-in-chief’s misogyny.

A virtual sea of pink pussy hats liberally dotted the heads of nearly six million women worldwide protesting Trump the day after the inauguration. Men, happily, were at the protests in significant numbers. But since then, where have men been?  Beyond a campaign a small number of colleagues and I organized in February calling on Mr. Trump to prove “nobody respects women more than [he does],” men as a group have been largely silent. This has to change.

Before the election, a dozen women came forward to charge Trump with sexual misconduct. (See list below). Trump pledged to sue them all after the election. It’s one of the many promises he has not kept.

Consider: In a sworn affidavit, his ex-wife, Ivana, accused him of rape in 1991. In a subsequent deposition in connection with their divorce—while not backing away from her charge that her then-husband had “raped” her—she said she didn’t want to be interpreted in “a literal or criminal sense,” even as she added, “As a woman, I felt violated.” It’s widely believed she downplayed her charge to not jeopardize their divorce settlement in which she received $14 million—in cash. As for the president? He’s never denied sexually assaulting women, a fact he boasts about on the infamous Hollywood Access tape. His defense? His comments were nothing more than “locker room” talk.

A Challenge for Men

A simple question—a challenge, actually—for men: Why are we not standing up and speaking out that as men—sons, brothers, uncles, husbands, fathers, grandfathers—we unequivocally reject his denigrating behavior toward women? Father’s Day is a time to consider what a role model for our children and grandchildren looks like. It’s the opposite of Mr. Trump. Sad.

Those of us who are fathers, grandfathers—mentors, coaches, clergy—need to explicitly reject his misogyny which his administration’s policies and a Republican-majority Congress are promoting. Otherwise, by our silence, aren’t we normalizing his behavior? To advance women’s rights, men must join women on the front lines: for reproductive rights, for earning a hundred cents—not 79 cents—on the dollar, for childcare, family leave, nutrition assistance, adding not cutting after school programs, among a myriad of programs in jeopardy.

We face many crises in the world today—from the health of the climate to the health of the Constitution. When it comes to advancing gender equality and justice, men have a singular role to play: modeling a sensitive, aware manhood, not what’s being expressed at the White House. Let’s start by asking women and women’s organizations how we can support them—and really listening to what they have to say. Then, let’s talk with other men about how we want to have our voices heard. The man in the White House is the most visible exemplar of men behaving atrociously but, unfortunately, he is not alone. If men want to prevent his minions from feeling emboldened, it is up to us to say yes to a compassionate, nurturing expression of manhood. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

***

J’accuse! Trump’s Sexual Misconduct

 “Every woman lied…Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.” 

Here’s a summary of the accusations lodged against Donald Trump.

Jessica Leeds (1980s) claims Trump groped her on an airplane.“… he was like an octopus…his hands were everywhere.”

Ivana Trump (1988) In a sworn deposition, Trump’s ex-wife accused him of raping her during their divorce in 1991.

Kristin Anderson (early 1990s) was at a nightclub when she felt Trump’s fingers slide under her skirt, move up her inner thigh and touch her vagina through her underwear.

Jill Harth, 1993 claims Trump groped her under a table at a business dinner, then months later assaulted her at his Florida mansion. He “pushed me up against [his daughter’s bedroom] wall, had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress…”

Jane Doe, 1994 Anonymous accuser filed a federal lawsuit claiming Trump raped her at 13 in the New York apartment of pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

Temple Taggart, 1997 claims Trump kissed her against her wishes in the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant. “He kissed me directly on the lips.” Miss Utah thought, ‘Oh my God, gross.’’’

Cathy Heller, 1997 claims when introduced to Trump, he “went for the lips” and kept her there “for a little too long…”despite her turning her head.

Karena Virginia, 1998 claims she overheard Trump saying, “Look at this one, we haven’t seen her before…look at those legs.” He then “…grabbed my right arm. Then his hand touched the right inside of my breast. I was in shock, I flinched.” Trump asked her: “‘Don’t you know who I am?’”

Mindy McGillivray, 2003 claims Trumo groped her at Mar-a-Lago, when she was standing in a group. He “grabbed her butt… All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge…I turn around and there’s Donald.”

Natasha Stoynoff, 2005 a former writer for People, claims he was “pushing me against a wall and forcing his tongue down my throat” when she was at his home to interview him and his wife.

Jessica Drake, 2005 accused Trump of touching and kissing her without her consent at a charity golf tournament, claiming he offered her £8,000 (about $10,000) and use of his private jet to have sex with him.

Rachel Crooks, 2005 claims when she introduced herself and shook hands, he wouldn’t let go and “kissed me directly on the mouth.”

Summer Zervos, 2007 charges that Trump, “aggressively kissed” her and placed his hand on her breast when she met with him at his hotel to discuss a job after appearing on The Apprentice.

Anonymous, 2010 Last summer, CNN news anchor Erin Burnett reported one of her friends alleges that Trump kissed her without consent and invited her into his office alone, telling she was “special” and giving her his mobile number.
Cassandra Searles, 2013 Former Miss Washington was a contestant in Trump’s Miss USA pageant when she claims that he “continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room.”

Here are sources for quotes and accounts referenced in this article.

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Rob Okun is a psychotherapist practicing in Amherst, Massachusetts and the editor of Voice Male, a national magazine chronicling the transformation of masculinity.

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