Amber Tamblyn, the actress, author, and film director, perhaps best known for her work in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and House, has shared her personal story of assault in response to a recent audio of Trump making a series of misogynistic and predatory statements. The audio was recorded in 2005 when Trump was wearing a lapel mic for a recording with Access Hollywood.
In it, Trump tells reporter Billy Bush about how appealing he is to women, including the statements:
“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”
“I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
“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 pussy. You can do anything.”
Though Trump himself has called this "Locker room banter" (and many news outlets, commentators, and fellow politicians seem to be following his lead in doing so), there are many who recognize this for what it is: rape culture.
Amber Tamblyn posted on Instagram an account of an abusive ex-partner finding her at a music venue and assaulting her, literally picking her up by the vagina and carrying her out of the club. She posted the story with an accompanying cover photo of Donald Trump kissing a Miss Universe winner:
"I need to tell you a story. With the love and support of my husband, I've decided to share it publicly.
A very long time ago I ended a long emotionally and physically abusive relationship with a man I had been with for some time. One night I was at a show with a couple girlfriends in Hollywood, listening to a DJ we all loved. I knew there was a chance my ex could show up, but I felt protected with my girls around me. Without going into all the of the details, I will tell you that my ex did show up, and came up to me in the crowd. He's a big guy, taller than me. The minute he saw me, he picked me up with one hand by my hair and with his other hand, he grabbed me under my skirt by my vagina— my pussy?— and lifted me up off the floor, literally, and carried me, like something he owned, like a piece of trash, out of the club. His fingers were practically inside of me, his other hand wrapped tightly around my hair. I screamed and kicked and cried. He carried me this way, suspended by his hands, all the way across the room, pushing past people until he got to the front door. My friends ran after him, trying to stop him. We got to the front door and I thank God his brothers were also there and intervened. In the scuffle he grabbed at my clothes, trying to hold onto me, screaming at me, and inadvertently ripped off my grandmother’s necklace, which I was wearing. The rest of this night is a blur I do not remember. How I got out to the car. How I got away from him that night. I never returned for my necklace either.
That part of my body, which the current Presidential Nominee of the United States Donald Trump recently described as something he’d like to grab a woman by, was bruised from my ex-boyfriend's violence for at least the next week. I had a hard time wearing jeans. I couldn’t sleep without a pillow between my legs to create space.
To this day I remember that moment. I remember the shame. I am afraid my mom will read this post. I'm even more afraid that my father could ever know this story. That it would break his heart. I couldn't take that. But you understand, don't you? I needed to tell a story. Enjoy the debates tonight."
Source: Tamblyn's Instagram
Many others have contributed their own accounts of assault as well. Kelly Oxford, a Canadian author and blogger, has called the video evidence of rape culture and has called on others to share their personal experiences with assault.
You can read an interview with Oxford, as well as view many of these personal accounts here.
These personal accounts starkly counter Trump's statement that his comments were simply "locker room banter" in an official statement released by the Trump campaign.
This speaks in no way to those personal narratives of individuals who have been assaulted. For one, whether this is or is not ‘locker room talk’ makes no difference—whether Trump was on the floor of the senate or in making small chat between turns at the ‘Misogynists Unite’ convention, these are still a set of sexist and predatory statements objectifying women and clearly demonstrating rape culture; it doesn't matter the context in which he made them. Second, Bill Clinton has nothing to do with this—Hillary is not responsible for her husband’s actions (just as no woman is), and we should respect and listen to her opinions and her statements. She is the one running for president.
Finally, there is the fact that Trump apologized ‘if anyone was offended’. This blaming language distances Trump from his own words, and redirects blame to the individuals who have been harmed by his actions and words. If people are offended, it's an ‘offense’ rooted in fear, in pain. Trumps words have tapped into very real personal experiences; they're the words that endorse rape and abuse culture that so many have endured. Amber Tamblyn and the thousands of others who have shared their stories show that this isn't about offense— it's about rape culture and the fact that we cannot have a President who openly endorses it. They show us, as well, that assault is not only a violent act committed in the form of intercourse. Sexual assault can, and often does, look like grabbing someone’s genitals or forcing a kiss on another person (particularly if you say you own them because you run the beauty pageant that they are in).
Trump's words are not 'locker room talk' —they are misogyny and rape culture, and these personal accounts demonstrate that.
Header photo: Instagram
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I'm a recent Bard grad livin large and in charge! I write and perform comedy (articles, standup, all that jazz). I'm writing a tv pilot right now about a cardiologist who is unlucky in affairs of the heart it's called "How to Get Away with Murmur."