"When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."
The words of the leader matter. They matter a lot. The words and actions of the leader tell the team what's OK and what's not OK. If we elect a president who assaults women and laughs it off, his attitude will ripple down into every aspect of society. Here are three ways a Pu$$y-grabbing President will make America unsafe for women:
1. Bad bosses will be emboldened.
When the leader of your country says it's OK to walk in on naked young girls because you own the pageant, it's not too big a leap for a factory foreman to believe he can walk into the ladies changing room simply because he's the boss.
2. Stop and frisk will extend to women.
When your reality show President shows off his power telling women Apprentice contestants he'd like to see "you dropping to your knees," what will a rogue cop with a gun tell women to do when he pulls them off the side of the road?
3. College boys will get worse. A lot worse.
Imagine a group of drunken young men boozing it up in their frat house before the girls arrive for the party. It doesn't take much imagination to envision the leader yelling, "Who's going to grab some pu$$y tonight?"
If reading this is making you ill, you're not alone. I'm 53-years-old. I'm the President of my own consulting firm. I'm a business author, I don't write about politics usually, but for me this is personal.
Twenty years ago, I was that girl. I was the aspiring young manager standing in front of her 15 or so co-workers when our biggest customer came up from behind me and reached his arms around my waist. He hunched up against me, putting his whole body against my back. I can still hear his chortling laughter in my ear. He said, "I just can't help myself." His hands moved lower and I pulled away just before he touched anywhere more private.
I laughed the forced uncomfortable laugh we women instinctively revert to when our stomach is churning and we don't know what to say or do.
My colleagues were good guys, but not one of them said a word. They winced, looked away, and tried to laugh it off as uncomfortably as I did. But not one of them spoke up, because the man who grabbed me was the man in power.
I thought those days were over. I thought we were safe. If we elect a man who laughs about grabbing women by the pu$$y, no woman is safe. We're not safe at home; we're not safe at work. We're not safe in America.
We are your mothers, we are your sisters, we are your daughters. We have loved you. We have cared for you. We have worked with you and for you.
Please tell us that you respect us enough to keep us safe.
Lisa Earle McLeod is the author of business bestseller Leading with Noble Purpose, and the President of McLeod & More, Inc., a sales leadership consultancy. Her firm's clients include Dave & Busters, Kaiser, and Roche.