Donald Trump's degrading comments about sexually assaulting women were not just offensive to liberals and conservatives alike, but they were also extremely triggering to sexual assault survivors. At least, that's what recent data from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network would suggest. Traffic to RAINN's hotline, which lets people dealing with sexual assault speak confidentially with counsellors, increased by one-third over the weekend, following the release of the Trump video on Friday, The Huffington Post reported. The calls especially surged during the presidential debate on Sunday, a RAINN representative told HuffPost, with up to 30 people on the line at a time. "This conversation is evidence that sexual violence affects nearly every family in America," the representative said. Survivors' accounts support the possibility that these calls were from people triggered by Trump. Adrienne White wrote in The Root, "Donald Trump, you are a PTSD trigger for me, a victim of rape. And I have a deep belief that I’m not the only one." And she's not, by a long shot. Many people tweeted that the way Trump spoke in the video, during the debate, and throughout the campaign triggered them and survivors they knew. Some felt his debate tactics resembled verbal abuse, which was triggering in and of itself. One woman even compared Trump's apology to tactics employed by abusers during what's known as the cycle of abuse.
Though Trump claimed his comments were simply "locker-room banter" and part of a "private conversation," it's clear that they've had a very public, far-reaching, and detrimental impact.