When Donald Trump walked on to the stage yesterday, punching his fist in the air and beaming at a crowd of mostly white men and women screeching 'USA, USA', it finally sank in. That misogyny now runs America. Here's the thing: I don't even have the consolation of knowing that the preceding sentence is just a hyperbole.
I have never been to America, have never had to feel the ripples of the country's politics first-hand and yet, Donald Trump's win yesterday felt like a personal defeat. It shouldn't have, but it did. As if someone just walked up, pointed a finger at me and said, "You don't matter."
On my way back, I texted a friend, an American journalist who works in India. She said she had gone to the office washroom and cried. It felt exactly like what I had wanted to do when the announcer said that America has spoken.
Trump's win indicates that, as a society, we can still completely overlook crimes committed by men against women. It proves that women, despite crying hoarse for equality, continue to remain the unimportant second. That crimes against women can still be passed off as, perhaps, a slight error in judgement. Not just by men so inclined. But by other women too.
Trump is someone who has openly and consistently put women down. Trump is a man who has a federal lawsuit against him for raping a 13-year-old girl. Trump is an unapologetic misogynist who has said he would have dated Ivanka if she was not his daughter. He has taken a dig at Hillary Clinton saying if she couldn't satisfy her husband she wouldn't be able to satisfy America, he has leered at a ten-year-old and said he could be dating her in ten years, he has called Fox News presenter Megan Kelly a 'bimbo', he thinks abortion is a crime, he was seen in a video talking about "grabbing women by the pussy". The list of Trump's misguided masculine rants against women is endless.
By the way, did you just feel deep fatigue and revulsion from reading the preceding paragraph? If you did, America just asked you to go take a walk and maybe lose your conscience somewhere on the way.
Several women have charged Donald Trump of groping and forcibly kissing them. The Daily Beast had reported last year that the 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump written by Harry Hurt III, revealed that he had assaulted his former wife Ivana and had raped her.
Trump not only dismissed his accusers, but also called them liars and threatened them.
Trump's election legitimises the thousands who felt Brock Turner -- who raped an unconscious girl -- was just a nice boy who had tripped a bit. Closer home, it's a form of reassurance for people who think women complaining about sexual harassment are merely 'over reacting'. People who think RK Pachauri or Tarun Tejpal, who are still awaiting trial, are good men being dragged through the coals for no reason. Anyway, the burden to prove that they have been assaulted rests on the woman, it just got heavier.
Vox journalist Elizabeth Plank, a couple of days before the election, had turned up at a rally of Trump supporters to find who are these women who want to vote for Trump. One woman first grabbed her butt and then a man's, saying if that was not a crime, no man should be pulled up for doing the same to a woman. I actually rolled my eyes and laughed at the absolute ludicrousness of the argument. Yesterday, I realised, a majority of the world's largest democracy actually thinks that's a legitimate argument.
Trump's election doesn't just dismiss misogyny as a small impediment in a man's way, it legitimises it, it rewards it.
Trump's election tells the world that men may not always have to pay for sexual misconduct. The endorsement of Trump by the voters is a huge step backwards for the fight for women's rights.
It is amazing how women face more and more glass ceilings to break, men like Trump continue to rise without having much to prove about themselves.
Trump's victory is a slap on the face of victims of sexual assault. It is hard to imagine what they must have felt with the knowledge that the man who has been serially accused of violating women and is still awaiting trial is now going to be the President of America. It must be hard to live with the fact that their words were collectively ignored by an entire country. Yeah, it will be hard.