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Have Americans failed women?
Nirmolika Sangha | Saturday, 12 November 2016 AT 08:13 PM IST
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November 9, 2016 delivered quite a shock to the US and the rest of the world. The results of the US Presidential elections were announced and Donald Trump’s victory hit the world, like a bus that hits you out of nowhere. What’s done is done. Everyone now has questions about what his victory means for the US, the world, what it means for India and how it will affect Indo-US ties. There is another very important question that needs to be asked and asked now. What does Trump’s victory mean for women?

It’s no secret that Donald Trump has time and again proved that he is a misogynist. His contempt for and lewd comments on women go way back to the 1980s. Social media exploded after his win and plenty of posts on social media are about how terrifying it is that Trump is now the president of the most powerful nation in the world. Yes, it indeed is terrifying that a man who is so blatantly disrespectful of women has been chosen as the person who will now have the power to shape policies and decisions that would affect women in his country.

What will be the future of women in a nation whose new president has been accused of sexual assault by several women, who has repeatedly made insulting remarks on women’s looks, who has bragged about groping women and how his star status gives him a free pass to do what he can with them. He called a journalist ‘bimbo’ after she asked him some tough questions at the Republican debate. He told a reporter that she wouldn’t have that job if she wasn’t beautiful. He has bragged about how ‘nobody has gotten more beautiful women than he has’, and has time and again reminded everyone what a great figure his daughter has and that he would date her if she weren’t his daughter. This is not even half of the list.

At a time when America could have made history by electing its first woman president, the American public has decided to go for a man, who attacked his rival with her husband’s infamous affair. In a tweet, which was later deleted, Trump said that if Hillary couldn’t satisfy her husband, what made her think she could satisfy America? This itself reveals the misogyny that is so deeply entrenched in the American society.

When the tapes of Trump talking about groping women emerged a month before the elections, several people believed that the tape would have a crucial impact on his campaign. Many (including myself) hoped that people would now realise what a mistake it would be to let this man be president. Imagine what a rude shock it was to them when the election results were announced.

Here we have another example of how allegations of sexual assault can hardly dent a man’s career. Had the situation been the reverse, and had Clinton been accused of sexual assault, you think it would have had no bearing on her campaign? It most certainly would have.

Now, let’s come to a terrifying thing about his presidency. Trump’s remarks are not just ‘talk’ or ‘locker room banter’ as he described it. His words and opinions have had repercussions, and ugly ones at that. There were several cases of violent attacks on women at his rallies or by his supporters. Black women have been threatened and attacked at his rallies, a teenage girl protesting at his rally was pepper sprayed and abused. This, right here, is what people need to be scared of. This should set alarm bells ringing. America has failed itself in these elections, but more importantly, it has failed its women.

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