• October 19, 2016

    What do the sexual assault allegations mean for Trump and Clinton?

    In less than three weeks, America will make one of the biggest decisions this decade.

    They will be deciding whether to vote Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton for President of the United States of America.

    Over here, in the UK, we await with baited breath while all eyes turn to the States, to the two candidates each desperately trying to sway voters and win the presidential election. There is no doubt that this election has had everyone on the edge of their seats, with no one quite sure what the outcome will be. While each candidate and campaign has its own set of problems, there has been a sharp focus recently on the sexual assault allegations against Trump. We pose the question: what does this mean for their campaigns?

    Unless you have been blissfully sleeping under a rock, then you will have heard about the leaked Trump tape, where he openly brags about sexually assaulting women. Add that to the fresh allegations of sexual assault-we have reached a tipping point. Whether or not Trump will fall over the edge remains to be seen, but the backlash he has received has been immense, from well-known figures condemning him for his mitigating ‘locker room banter’ statement to powerful Republican party members openly withdrawing their support of him.

    On the other side of the polls, we have Hilary Clinton, whose husband has had several allegations of sexual assault against him in the past.  These allegations have come into the limelight once more as she runs for office, with the opposition keen to expose their past. These allegations, however, have a slightly different effect on Hilary’s campaign than Trumps do on his.

    Hilary stood by Bill through each allegation, yet last year she tweeted that ‘every survivor of sexual assault needs to be heard, believed and supported’ which lays out some confusion as to her stance.

    The one ray of light that we have seen through this, however, is the coverage. We have strong women speaking out against what is being said and they are making an impact. Last week, Michelle Obama gave an exceptional speech on how in 2016 we should not be hearing public candidates normalise sexual harassment and we have to fight back.


    We saw the New York Times hold their ground and their right to print the story on Trump’s allegations and here in the UK, we heard Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism, stand up to the BBC and say it was ‘abhorrent to suggest that men should have a safe space to talk about women in such terms’

    So the question remains, will these sexual assault allegations hurt the candidates’ campaigns?

    Although any form of sexual assault or harassment is appalling, the reaction to these allegations prove how far women have come and how sexual assault, which as little as 20 years ago, was brushed aside, is now at the forefront. We have finally opened the dialogue on this subject. The fact that a video, recorded 11 years ago, has caused such global outrage at the fact that the man responsible for those phrases could have such power speaks volumes.

    However, we still have a long way to go-we see this with the female Trump supporters who are attempting to ease the backlash, but the fact that sexual allegations are now something that we as a society will not let slide easily is a step forward.

    Victim blaming is still a huge problem, but at least this time we are speaking up about it, opening up the vortex and showing our rage.

    So, yes, in my opinion, these sexual assault  allegations will hurt Trump, because, in the words of Michelle Obama “this is not something we can ignore and not something we can sweep under the rug”.

    Amy Shaw

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