Trump Rape Tweet: It's Part Of the Problem
Donald Trump's tweet on Tuesday, May 7 caused a lot of debate and anger — especially among feminists.
Right away, feminists were angry with his "nod" to rape culture and his attempt to affirm that men simply can't help themselves. Among other groups, the immediate reaction was "26,000 unreported cases? How does one quantify unreported cases?"
The statistic that Trump referenced holds true. According to anonymous surveys in a Pentagon report, 26,000 members of the U.S. military were sexually assaulted in the past year. This number is a huge jump from 19,000 in 2011. In addition, the number of reported cases has increased too. In response, president Obama has called for strict action against those personnel. Punishment may include dishonorable discharge from the military.
Trump's tweet brings up a great question: "What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?" Perhaps they expected rape culture to remain separate from our military. Perhaps "these geniuses" expected people to be accountable for their actions. Though the information released from the Pentagon report remains gender-neutral, Trump sheds a bad light on men.
It's clear that Trump's "question" is not gender-neutral because of a later tweet insisting that his tweet was not offensive and that maybe mixing women with the military wasn't such a good idea.
The real problem is Trump contributing to the idea that men "can't help themselves." Obviously, there is a problem if 26,000 soldiers are being sexually assaulted. But there's another issue in the feedback loop and how people respond to things like this. Instead of blaming the people actually responsible for these cases of assault, Trump implies that rape is inevitable when "these geniuses" mix men and women. (I'd find this incredibly insulting if I were a man.) This is a problem because all it creates is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If rapists believe that they cannot help but assault people, then they will be less inclined to behave professionally and not harass and assault people. This phenomenon is called rape culture, and dear Donald Trump has served as a prime example.