Elizabeth Smart On ‘Locker Room Banter’: ‘There’s No Justifying It -- Ever'

Smart in an appearance on NBC News' "Today" show. 
Smart in an appearance on NBC News' "Today" show. 

Advocate Elizabeth Smart has no patience for the idea that bragging about sexual assault is just “locker room banter.”

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, the 28-year-old explained why what Trump and his supporters brush off as “locker room banter” is actually damaging to survivors of sexual assault.

Smart said it’s comments like Trump’s that perpetuate rape culture.

“The worst part about it is listening to people trying to belittle it, just saying, ‘Well, it’s locker-room talk, it’s locker-room banter,’” she told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Anyone belittling sexual violence, sexual abuse, they’re doing a huge disservice to victims of violent crimes, violent sexual abuse. There’s no justifying it — ever.”

In a recently leaked hot mic video, the Republican presidential nominee can be heard saying that he just “starts kissing” women without their consent and even “grab[s] them by the pussy,” because “you can do anything” when you’re a star. 

Smart told SLT that people need to be educated about the damaging effects of rape culture and ― most importantly ― young women need to learn the power of saying “no.” 

“I know I was raised to be kind, to be polite. You didn’t say no, you only said yes,” Smart said. “I wish the word ‘no’ was emphasized. ‘No’ is a good word to say every now and again, especially when it comes to your personal well-being.”

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.



'It Happens' Sexual Assault Series by Yana Mazurkevich