No, this isn’t excusable, locker room banter. 

I’m not shocked at all by the leaked tape of Donald Trump degrading women. I am disgusted by the level of aggression he suggests he uses when he wants something from a woman, or by his belief that his stardom gives him rights to their bodies, but I am not shocked that he said it. He’s said as much elsewhere. I’m as shocked as I am when I see the Pope celebrate Mass. 
What really jarred with me, as I flicked through various news outlets versions of the story, is the discovery that some Evangelical leaders are defending him. They excuse him in one of two ways.
Firstly, it’s locker room banter, two guys being guys. If I was an evangelical leader in America I would not want the leader of the nation to be one who thinks this kind of ‘banter’ is ok. It’s the same language that an older boy at school used in an attempt to coerce me to use drugs, ‘everyone is doing it.’ These leaders (all men) are silently condoning the behaviour. They are saying it is fine for a powerful man to view the women in their churches that way, and to force themselves upon them with kisses and gropes. At the very least it’s accepted that their sons will talk about women this way in the locker room and that their daughters will be viewed this way. By endorsing Trump and excusing this as ‘banter’ every man who behaves that way is also excused. Is this really the type of guy we want our sons to be when they are just ‘being a guy?’ The degradation and assault of women is endorsed. Surely this is obvious.
Secondly, Bill Clinton did bad things. Of course, President Clinton’s behaviour is well documented and isn’t excusable either, but the unspoken suggestion here is that Hillary is to blame. That Hillary Clinton’s suitability for president is somehow downgraded by her husbands infidelity. Yet Mr Trump’s own infidelities are ignored. How degrading to someone who was so publicly betrayed by her husband. These church leaders will stand in front of the women of their churches this weekend having set the precedent in their statements, that any sexual indiscretions of their husbands are somehow a reflection on their wives characters. When their daughter’s boyfriend cheats is that somehow reflective of the girl’s character and value? Is it her fault? How can they look these women in the eye? 
Either the evangelicals stand with women or they don’t. The women who Mr Trump has used his stardom to coerce aren’t laughing this off as banter. Nor the married woman who’s body he tried to buy with furniture. This isn’t banter, it’s real life and endorsing a powerful man who behaves this way tells every teenage boy or college student or husband or boyfriend or colleague that they have a right to the bodies of their female friends, partners and colleagues. ‘Don’t even wait,’ says Mr Trump. Permission isn’t important to him. 
If your pastor defends this behaviour look at your wife, sister and daughter and decide whether you can stand by your pastor anymore. Is that really the kind of world we want? Is that the way Jesus would have them treated? Do we want them to know that having power and fame means this is ok? This only leads to a bad place. This is rape culture pure and simple. I am not saying everyone should vote for Hillary but everyone must speak against this hateful misogyny.

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