Recent comments made by professional boxer Floyd Mayweather reignited the conversation surrounding President Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood recording, in which he is heard explicitly bragging about sexual assault, a crime to which millions of women are subjected.
In 2005 President boasted he “just starts kissing [women].” He continued, “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p-ssy. You can do anything.”
After receiving immense criticism of the nature of his comments, Trump explained that his words were nothing more than “locker room talk.”
Trump’s comments were not entirely rebuked by the public, however. Just last Wednesday, Floyd Mayweather voiced his support for the president’s deplorable statements during an interview with Hollywood Unlocked.
“He [Trump] speaks like real men spoke,” Mayweather said. He added, “Real men speak like, ‘Man she had a fat a-. You see her a-? I had to squeeze her a-. I had to grab that fat a-.’ Right?”
No, not right. What Trump, Mayweather and any other who dismisses comments like this neglects to understand, is that this predatory language reinforces a dynamic in which rapists are protected and sexual assault survivors are forced or shamed into silence.
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), 1 in every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. To make matters worse, RAINN also reports that of every 1000 rapes, 994 sexual assault perpetrators will walk free.
These statistics are reflected in the plethora of high-profile sexual assault cases that consistently dominate public discourse.
For instance, this Friday, the North Carolina State University Police announced that no charges would be filed against five football players who were accused of sexual assault by three young women. One can only wonder on which cluster of the statistics these men fall.
Additionally, political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes filed a lawsuit against Fox News on Monday on the grounds that the network blacklisted her for confessing that she was raped by longtime Fox anchor Charles Payne.
The comments made by Trump and Mayweather propagate the poisonous notion that acts like these—acts of sexual aggression against women—are normal and natural.
But they are not. They are concerning and troubling, and they must be stopped. For them to be stopped, however, would require sexual assault to be discussed earnestly, respectfully, and seriously, rather than thrown around as a punch line by misogynistic men.
Allaa Tayeb is a sophomore majoring in English and film studies