Readers Respond

Views

I wanted to publish some TPM Reader emails in response to my post yesterday on Donald Trump and gendered violence and aggression. We got a bunch. Many were very complimentary; thank you. But I wanted to share some from female readers who reported having a visceral feeling of discomfort or even fear listening to Trump which they had not been able to place or quite identify.

From TPM Reader JS

This is one of the best articles I’ve read to date. Every time I hear DT’s voice I have a visceral reaction of fear. I couldn’t adequately articulate why this is so, but you have provided the analysis I need. His rhetoric is beyond that of a bully; indeed, it sounds exactly like a script from a ‘wife-beater’ movie. The fact that he is spewing this language against a woman only makes it more obvious that he must be confronted and his perception of power must be challenged.

From TPM Reader ST

I have to say that I read your article on Trump and sexual violence and was overcome for several reasons. First, and most obvious, it was incredibly well-written and insightful as to sexual violence and manipulation. My very best friend is one of the top experts on sexual violence in Virginia – and I’ve heard her talk about this subject for years. You really nailed it.

Second, and the reason I had to write this note, is that it made me think about my first husband and my first boss – both male and both abusive (verbal, manipulating, degrading to women). I’ve been listening to Trump for months and there was something that I just couldn’t put my finger on – something that made me a little sick to my stomach. I told someone the other day that electing him would be like electing every bad boss we’ve ever had to put up with at work. But, as you point out – it is worse than that. He’s abusive, a bully and has very little regard for women. So much so, you have to wonder just how he expects to be President of this country that comprises more than 50% women.

Mitt Romney won white women by 12% in 2012 and I think he was generally viewed as someone who didn’t really care about or understand women’s issues. It was Paul Ryan who brought up pregnancies from rape being gifts from God. But you never got the impression that either of them hated or felt threatened by women. That’s not true with Trump, and I just don’t see how Trump comes even close to this percentage of white women.

Your insight into Trump’s attempt to show dominance is directly related to his own feelings of inadequacy and ineptness. He’s been allowed to bully and intimidate women for decades, and when called out or pressed on it, he sues, threatens or demeans. Remember when the news was brought out again regarding Ivana’s rape allegations and Trump’s attorney called and left that voice mail message on the reporter’s line? He surrounds himself with people who are like him. I’m not sure where I heard it, but a reporter recently mentioned that Trump is ok with women as long as he is their boss or has control over them. But, once a woman shows independence or challenges him – his first instinct is to bully and demean.

Sometimes it takes people time to realize they are being abused. Abusers don’t just start by hitting you on the first date. They break you down, degrade you and make you feel completely inadequate – and that’s when they have their opening. I think a lot of women are like me – they know they don’t like Trump and the “why” is something they can’t quite put their finger on. Your article really put that feeling into perspective – so again, thank you.

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