Being a survivor under the new administration


The Sexual Misconduct Awareness Team (SMART) realizes that many things Donald Trump has said surrounding women and sexual misconduct are hurtful and may have negative effects throughout his presidency. We have noticed his actions and words negatively affecting survivors and SMART wants to provide a safe place for anyone to talk about these feelings by welcoming all to SMART meetings.

We would also like to give readers a trigger warning, as Trump’s ideologies and the concept of Trump being president may cause distress. The term “rape culture” was coined in the 1970s to describe the ways society normalizes sexual violence. For example, blaming the victim and not holding the perpetrator accountable. This is still the world we live in. During Trump’s campaign, he was accused of perpetrating rape culture through statements he made in videos that were leaked regarding how he treats women and volatile acts he admits he has committed.

It seems as if he is being rewarded for his actions, and this is harmful to the survivors. The way Trump treats these serious situations could make survivors scared to report, leave the house, fight back and stand up for what they believe.

A woman on Twitter wrote, “Every sexual assault survivor just watched their worst night- mare come true.” “If you want to understand why rape culture is alive in the USA, it’s because Trump can admit to sexual assault and still get millions of votes.” Another woman Tweeted.

Survivors know that rape culture existed long before Trump, but now the leader of our country says things like, “grab ‘em by the pussy,” and that girls can be “too ugly to be assaulted.” Recently, Donald Trump has created a blueprint that calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions. These grants fund most, if not all, shelters and places that help victim-survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.As a result of this election and the recent inauguration, survivors have taken action. Practice self-care. Find ways to resist violence and hatred, call it out as you are able. Teach these lessons to our generation and the next generation. Get involved, institutionally and in large-scale, and reach out and know your resources. The Center for Wellness and Counseling (CWC) is a great on-campus resource, The Aurora Center located on the UMN East Bank campus, Sexual Violence Center and Cornerstone Advocacy Services are off-campus sexual assault and domestic violence resources.

This article first appeared in the Friday, February 17, 2017, Edition of The Echo.