If you’re sick about hearing about gross men, you should already know we’re sick about writing about them. According to an ABC News article, a man was arrested for groping a woman on an Southwest airplane. Bruce Alexander was identified as the man who grabbed an unnamed woman’s breasts while she was asleep. The court documents revealed that Alexander told the authorities “the president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”

He was referring to the 2005 Access Hollywood interview with Billy Bush that was leaked a few weeks before the 2016 election where President Donald Trump infamously said, “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said. “Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything.”

I remember sitting in my Introduction to U.S. Politics class my sophomore year, the day after the Access Hollywood tape was leaked. My classmates were divided. My personal opinion, along with some other students in the class, believed that it would set a poor precedent for the man leading the country to be comfortable with saying he can just grab women whenever he wants to. Some of my other classmates felt that it was just “locker room talk” or things you could say to your friends and not take any responsibility for.

In a newspaper office with a majority female staff, we had a similar discussion during the 2016 election season and feared that people would use the excuse that an elected, professional official got away with sexual assault as an excuse to commit assault themselves. We also thought it set a poor and dangerous precedent, especially considering how severe an issue sexual assault already was before Trump was elected as President of the United States.

Here we are, almost two years later, and our fears have been realized with a man saying it was okay for him to grope a woman because the President of the United States says it’s okay. Regardless of whether or not this is something Alexander actually believes or he was using as an excuse, it set a precedent. It opened the door for those who have committed  sexual assault to believe that there won’t be repercussions to their actions.

Sexual assault is an issue that needs to be stopped, not encouraged. If even the film industry is starting to make progress, how is it that the political sphere only seems to be getting worse?

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