"And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p---y. You can do anything."
It sounds like something a narcissistic magician who has a one-act show at a Las Vegas casino and a touch of mental illness might say. Yet, this vulgar phrase came straight from the lips of a man who holds the most powerful and respected position in the world: the president of the United States.
The first time I heard the "Access Hollywood" tape was in October 2016. The date slips my mind, but believe it was either on the sixth or seventh day of the month. I had just walked into my apartment after six gruelingly long hours of class, crashed on to the couch and pressed the power button on my TV so that I could drown out the noice of the maintenance workers mowing the grass outside of my apartment. I remember closing my eyes, kicking off my scuffed black Nikes and leaning back on the plush gray pillow, ready to take a nap and attempt to sleep away the stress that had accumulated since my day began at 8 a.m., when I heard it.
"Grab them by the p---y."
I blinked open my eyes that had only been momentarily shut and shifted my body so that I could see the TV while reaching for the remote to turn up the volume. I thought that I couldn't of heard that right. I even tried to convince myself that it wasn't Donald Trump. But it was. And now, almost six months later, it's all I can hear. My brain is like a tape recorder that is stuck on replay. I hear it in my dreams, as I drive my car, while I walk to class, as I write, while I cook, when I workout, and especially when Donald Trump's image flashes across my TV or my computer or occupies the front cover of a magazine or newspaper.
But not only do I hear it, I feel it. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. My stomach flips and I feel like I am going to blow chunks. My mouth dries. My palms begin to sweat. I feel violated.
I ask myself everyday how I am supposed to look up to this man, this man that is supposed to lead our country and act as a role model, but feels that because he is a "star" that he can grab women by their genitals. I am 20 years old. I have a future, a chance and the right to have just as many opportunities as men. I deserve a future that is not jeopardized by the inappropriate rhetoric that is spewed from the lips of our president and leads men to believe they can speak and treat women as subordinate; a future where I am treated equally; a future where I do not feel sexualized just because I am a woman. But not just I. We all deserve a future with equal opportunities that are free from prejudices regardless of our sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. But with Trump as our president, I am aghast. I am terrified for our country's future, for the refugees that seek safe harbor in our country, for the families that fear being torn apart due to deportation, for citizens that will no longer receive healthcare because they rely on the Affordable Care Act, for my younger brother and all the other young boys and girls that are forced to grow up with a president that is bully instead of a role model.
Donald Trump will never be my president. I will not fight with my fists, but I will fight with my words. Because this is my country, your country, our country just as much as it is his.