Another day, another profoundly objectionable comment about women from the Team Trump. This time, it’s care of his newly named campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who said if only women were as physically strong as men, there would be no more rape.
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump unearthed video of a January 2013 PBS panel, featuring a number of women from across the political spectrum discussing the issue of women in the military. Conway, expressing concern that women aren’t as strong as men, said: “If we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist. You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off.”
I cannot – and will not – soft-pedal this: What Conway said is utterly horrendous. It is an utter fallacy that “rape would not exist” if women were as strong as men, because rape is not exclusively a physical struggle between a man and a physically weaker woman.
Women who are incapacitated are raped. Women who are physically disabled are raped. Women who are physically stronger than their rapists are raped, through coercion or a number of other means, including having a gun held at their heads. There are women who are scared to try to defend themselves for fear that it will escalate the rape into something deadly. There are women who are virtually paralyzed by the shock of the assault.
There are also men who are raped – and not always by men who are physically weaker than they are.
This is, unfortunately, not a comprehensive list of the many ways in rape is more than just a sheer battle of physical force.
Conway is espousing an absurdly and harmfully reductive definition of rape, which frames rape as a power struggle between a stronger man and a weaker woman – which suggests that if only women were somehow better, bigger, tougher, mightier, we should be able to prevent rape.
Tasking victims with rape prevention is a key tenet of the rape culture. Rape prevention lies exclusively with predators, who have the responsibility to not rape people.
As you might imagine, I am not the only woman who is decidedly unhappy with Conway’s contemptible comment. A number of women’s groups have released statements expressing their disappointment with yet more sexist swill emanating from the Trump campaign.
NARAL Pro-Choice America National Communications Director Kaylie Hanson Long:
Another day, another offensive, outrageous moment from Team Trump. This Todd Akin moment from Kellyanne Conway reveals yet another example of how out of touch and disgusting the Trump campaign is, starting with its candidate. Combine Donald Trump’s misogynistic rhetoric and policies with senior advisers like Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes, and even Mike Pence—who have all built their careers on demeaning women or worse—and you’ve got a recipe for disaster in the White House.
EMILY’s List Vice President of Communications Marcy Stech:
Donald Trump should stand up for women and speak out against these comments – but women know he won’t, which is why he is unfit to be president. Kellyanne Conway isn’t the first campaign staffer Donald Trump has hired whose blatantly out-of-touch views mirror his own extreme agenda. Like the others in Trump’s inner circle who have made offensive, outrageous remarks about women, Conway is just plain wrong—and it’s just more of the same from the Trump campaign.
Conway fits a dangerous Trump campaign pattern of not understanding or caring about the struggles, discrimination, and even sexual violence that women face every day in this country.
It doesn’t get any blunter – or righter – than that.