One of the best things — perhaps the only good thing — to come out of the presidential campaign has been a renewed focus on how women are treated and viewed in America.
A Facebook friend recently asked why revelations about Donald Trump's sexual escapades have garnered more coverage and outrage than Hillary Clinton's foreign policy.
That's easy. Far more women can relate to the denigrating experience of dealing with a man's unwanted sexual advances than the political affairs of another nation. And then, of course, there's America's fascination with anything sexual.
I've seen many women use social media, opinion pieces, radio interviews and other venues to share their own stories of being groped, fondled, kissed, grabbed, and otherwise sexually assaulted by strangers and familiars. It's invariably an upsetting, degrading, frightening and humiliating experience.
And though it's centered around sexual actions — and in the case of Trump, minimized as run of the mill “locker room talk” — it's really not about sex at all. Nor is it about how “hot” a woman may or may not be.
It's about power and control — the same dynamics at play in domestic violence. When men make unwanted sexual advances toward a woman, and she is unable, for whatever reason, to denounce or stop it, the man gains power over her, and thus control. Which is why it's a tactic so often used in the workplace and other professional settings, as well as against young girls.
If the woman speaks up, she risks making a scene, drawing attention to herself, getting fired or demoted, or being scrutinized for her own supposed culpability. If she says nothing, the man knows he has secured the power and control he seeks, and he moves on to other victims.
It's only by talking about this behavior openly — identifying and condemning it for what it really is — that we can free women from this burden and help their reclaim their own power.