When columnist E. Jean Carroll wrote about allegedly being sexually assaulted at hands of Donald Trump some 23 years ago, the US President’s response was, “She’s not my type.” In one sentence, Trump not only attempted to defend himself, but also disregarded Carroll as a woman he wouldn’t find attractive, read beautiful. But Trump has accomplished nothing more than further exposing himself as a misogynist, who couldn’t come up with a better defence or a smarter insult. Alas, Trump isn’t alone. This “she isn’t my type” is argument is a very dated one, which we often end up buying. It proves how we still think that sexual assaults are mostly about lust, when it has more to do with gender dynamics and abuse of power.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • E. Jean Carroll has accused Donald Trump of allegedly sexually assaulting her 23 years ago.
  • Trump’s defence against these allegations though is, “She’s not my type.”
  • A lot of sexual predators use this as a defence and we tend to buy it.
  • Power plays a bigger role in sexual assaults over lust and sexual attraction.

Trump isn’t alone. This “she isn’t my type” is argument is a very dated one, which we often end up buying. It proves how we still think that sexual assaults are mostly about lust.

Just what did Trump mean when he said that Carrol wasn’t his type? Would he have attacked her if she was indeed his “type”? When someone gives us this argument, should we buy it so easily, because hey, why would you cross your boundaries with a person you are not attracted to? On surface it does seem like a logical argument. But that is because we see sexual misconducts from the gaze of sexuality and sexual attraction. We think that predators target certain women because of the way they dress or talk, or their figure or their looks. Subconsciously we end up putting up a part of the blame for rape or abuse on the survivor. It happened because she was wearing that dress. It happened because she is so attractive. It happened because she was drunk or because she was behaving a certain way or because she was his ‘type’. Like it or not, we are no different from Trump, because for most of us a sexual assault survivor does have a type.

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We need to shift our attention from typecasting survivors, to the behaviour of predators. It is convenient to not look beyond lust, when you muse over what drives them. Sexual crimes are also about social hierarchy, power and about entitlement. For sexual predators, their victims are conquests, objects they must have not because they are attracted to them, but because they want to and because they are conditioned to have everything they desire, without any serious consequences. In letting predators get away with the excuse that “she isn’t my type” we stop seeking solutions to the aspects other than lust.

Like it or not, we are no different from Trump, because for most of us a sexual assault survivor does have a type.

We cannot continue to do that, if we seriously want to ensure sexual safety of women and even men, because it also shifts a part of accountability on survivors, a dangerous trend which we need to get rid of. At the best such an argument is an empty shot to insult the accuser, and more sophisticated jibe than calling them plain unattractive. But this doesn’t say anything about Trump’s or any other accused’s own stand on rape. Did the statement actually mean, “I didn’t rape her because wasn’t my type,” or, “I would have raped her if she was my type.” Does that sound disturbing or not? Sometimes, it becomes essential to ask these questions because unless we do, the accountability will never fully shift to where it lies.

Picture Credit: breitbart.com

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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