Forum: No still means no

Last week, the Republican nominee for president admitted on tape that he has used his power as a celebrity to assault women. And the party still endorses his campaign to hold the most powerful office on Earth.

To its credit, the national media — most prominently, Anderson Cooper during Sunday night’s presidential debate — has widely covered this angle of the “Access Hollywood” tape leak. And in the days since Donald Trump defended his comments as nothing more than raunchy banter, many women have come forward with harrowing stories that contradict his spurious characterization.

This same discussion has been taking place for years on college campuses, where women and some men fear not only being assaulted, but being blamed for their own assault. And yet, a survey conducted last year by the Association of American Universities found that 18.5 percent of women at UT have been victims of sexual assault, at a time when one of America’s two major political parties is using its campaign apparatus to promote a serial offender and attack the credibility of his accusers. This is a sobering reminder that, as easy as it is to condemn someone caught on tape, it’s a lot harder to weed out the predators among us and provide victims with the resources and support to come forward.

So if we can be angry at Donald Trump for his behavior, we should be vigilant about combating the philosophy that encourages his behavior — especially as it manifests itself on this campus.

Our two op-eds this week approach rape culture from two different perspectives. Writing on behalf of Texas Blazers and its MenCanEnd campaign, Justin Atkinson discusses the importance of expanding societal conceptions of masculinity, which would reduce the pressure on men to promote sexism on their own or tolerate it among their peers. And Lauren L’Amie, vice president of Women’s Resource Agency, argues that Trump’s so-called “locker-room talk” should serve as a springboard to discuss the meaning of consent.

The Forum team encourages submissions from the University community, on this issue or any other. Send your thoughts to [email protected] As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Chase is an economics and Plan II senior from Royse City. Kashar is an American Studies sophomore from Scarsdale, New York. Shenhar is an economics, government and Plan II senior from Westport, Connecticut.