Tackling Trump's 'Locker Room' Culture Of Casual Misogyny To Slow Rampant Assault, Rape

VIDEO FRAME GRAB: In this 2005 frame from video, Donald Trump prepares for an appearance on 'Days of Our Lives' with actress
VIDEO FRAME GRAB: In this 2005 frame from video, Donald Trump prepares for an appearance on 'Days of Our Lives' with actress Arianne Zucker (center). He is accompanied to the set by Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. (Obtained by The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Donald Trump should be a pariah, not president. Ditto to his snickering, enabling sidekick Billy Bush. Unfortunately, we have a much bigger problem on our hands than two boorish guys and a live mic: They aren't alone -- far from it.

The video released this weekend is just one high-profile example of a culture of objectifying and subjugating women. And the behavior Trump brags about on that tour bus -- kissing, touching and groping women without their consent -- is not "locker room talk." It's called sexual assault.

As Attorney General, I've seen the many forms it takes and the destruction left in its wake. A student on a college campus, drugged and assaulted at a party. A young woman, forced by a pimp to have sex with hundreds of men against her will. A low-wage worker, raped by her supervisor in a broom closet. And then there are the many daily assaults that nearly every woman in this country has experienced, like being catcalled on the street, groped on a crowded train or in a dark movie theater, forced to watch a man expose himself, or propositioned by her supervisor.

It's because of the casual misogyny on display in that tour bus that one in three women will be a victim of physical or sexual violence in her lifetime and one in five will be raped.


It's because of the casual misogyny on display in that tour bus that one in three women will be a victim of physical or sexual violence in her lifetime and one in five will be raped.

So it's not enough to call for Trump to quit the race. This goes far beyond him. Americans need to send the clear message that we will no longer tolerate a culture of violence against women in this country.

I think that future is possible, and, in Massachusetts we're working hard to make it happen.

Last year, our office teamed up with The New England Patriots to launch "Game Change," a first-in-the-nation public/private partnership that brings anti-violence trainings to high schools across the state, using an interactive curriculum designed by Mentors in Violence Prevention at Northeastern University. We're training students to lead conversations between young men and young women that will change how they view and treat each other.

Game Change is about bending the curve of violence and misogyny in three key ways.


Americans need to send the clear message that we will no longer tolerate a culture of violence against women in this country.

First, we're talking with kids about the kinds of gender stereotypes and sexism on display in that tour bus, which are the root of sexual harassment and violence. Second, we're teaching students what healthy relationships look like, through conversations about respect and consent. Third, we're empowering young people to speak up as bystanders when they witness inappropriate language or behavior (something that appears to have been sorely lacking from the other men on the bus).

This is about teaching young men that women aren't conquests or toys. Women aren't defined by their relationships to men. Women are equals, who belong in our state houses, our board rooms, and -- as has become abundantly clear -- in the Oval Office.

People are expressing outrage far and wide, as they should.

But let's start there, not end there. Let's commit to changing our culture by showing our kids a better way. It may be too late for Donald Trump. But it's not too late for millions of boys and young men across this country.

Maura Healey is Attorney General of Massachusetts. You can follow her on Twitter @Maura_Healey or @MassAGO.

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Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.