On Friday afternoon, a bombshell shook the political world in the form of a leaked 2005 audio recording of Donald Trump telling former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush that he sexually assaults women. In the audio, Trump can be heard saying that he tried to "fuck" Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O'Dell but she rejected him. The self-proclaimed billionaire went on to talk about her breasts and then said that because he is famous women "let" him "grab them by the pussy."
The audio was so disgusting dozens of Republicans have withdrawn their support for him, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan uninvited him from a joint event, Mike Pence was forced to condemn him and the Republican National Committee pulled funding for one of their Trump projects. Now, Nancy O'Dell is speaking out too, saying:
"Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all. When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better."
O'Dell is absolutely right and as a woman, I, too, agree that the conversation needs to change. Far too often men like Trump, (and honestly, men in general) think it is okay to treat women like pieces of meat. We are harassed when we walk down the road. We are often harassed in our places of work. We are told that the only way we can be "beautiful" is if we are 110 lbs with huge breasts and few clothes. Then, if we dress in "skimpy" clothes we are called "whores","sluts","skanks" and every other degrading name in the book. We are forced to defend ourselves in court when we survive sexual assaults--often times our abusers walk free. Basically, we are told we how we should look, walk, dress, speak and behave all the time.
The societal standards that we are supposed to adhere to are as outrageous as the words that came out of Trump's mouth. What's worse is that we have created this monster, not just Trump, but the culture that makes it okay for men to speak about women that way.
The Republican presidential candidate should absolutely be condemned for his misogyny, but we as a nation also need to recognize our own and we must do better. Our daughters, wives, sisters, mothers, and all of the women in our lives deserve to be treated with respect and right now, this country is failing them.