Dear Donald and Billy,
Let me start by saying that I am not from your country and have no vested interest in it. Having gotten past this disclaimer, I am writing today because a few days ago news broke that caused a furor all over the world. It affected people totally unconnected to you. And sadly, I had to sit down and have a very adult conversation with my innocent 6-year-old.
You see, I have been avidly following the Presidential elections as part of my news watch. And the latest revelation about your collective views on women had my daughter baffled. She thinks that you are not nice people (her words). While thankfully, she didn’t actually hear the content of your private conversation (unlike some of your much younger compatriots), she did understand that there was a fuss and wanted to know why. Cue in a conversation about power and using it for good, respecting boundaries, respect of people and property, celebrating differences and using those differences to build better relationships.
Currently, we live in a place that is a veritable melting-pot of cultures, nationalities, faiths and ethnicities. My husband and I have always strived to encourage our daughter to look beyond the differences even when she has met people who share your views about differences, Donald. And we have taught her to respect someone’s option of saying No. That is, to ask first – politely and respect the answer. She is a loving, caring, inclusive person who respects boundaries. Which is why she could not understand how two grown men could not get what a child instinctively understands.
Let us be clear. Grabbing and kissing uninvited is sexual assault. Period. There is no way to whitewash, sugar-coat or pretend otherwise. As a woman who has had her share of fending off gropers and predators, I will definitely be teaching my daughter how to defend herself from people like you projected yourselves to be. It is, however, tragic that I should need to do that. And when people like you, who can use the spotlight to change the conversation choose to use it to abuse your power, even private conversations like these not only reveal who you are but have the devastating effect of encouraging like minds and normalising rape culture. Ask Nadia Murad, Brock Turner’s victim, Mukhtar Mai and the countless women who have faced and continue to face sexual assault daily. Heck, even turn to Twitter where millions of women have shared their stories since news of your conversation broke.
I am proud of my 6 year-old daughter for understanding the difference between right and wrong, morally acceptable versus morally unacceptable. I request that you educate yourselves in those differences too.