Following tradition, President Trump declared April Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month on Friday. At least 19 women have accused the president of sexual misconduct. He denies the allegations.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month has been recognised in the US since 2001; allegations about the current president's past behaviour complicate this year's White House proclamation, however. "Sexual assault crimes remain tragically common in our society, and offenders too often evade accountability," it read.
During the 2016 election, voters heard a 2005 recording of Trump saying he grabbed and kissed women without consent. "When you're a star, they let you do it," he told then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. Multiple women also spoke up about alleged harassment they experienced from Trump years before, and many of the same women have continued calling for the president to be held accountable.
“In an objective setting, without question, a person with this record would have entered the graveyard of political aspirations, never to return,” said Rachel Crooks, who says Trump kissed her without consent in 2005 and is now running for office herself, at a December press conference. “Yet here we are with that man as president.”
After The Washington Post brought Crooks' allegation back to light in February, Trump lashed out on Twitter. "Why doesn’t @washingtonpost report the story of the women taking money to make up stories about me?" he wrote.
Yet Trump's Sexual Assault Awareness proclamation claims he's committed to advocating for sexual assault survivors and making it easier for them to come forward about abuse. "My Administration is committed to raising awareness about sexual assault and to empowering victims to identify perpetrators so that they can be held accountable," it says.
Trump’s message about Sexual Assault Awareness Month is in direct contrast with the way he’s treated his accusers. After months attempting to silence women’s claims about his behaviour, Trump telling the nation to listen to sexual assault survivors came off as nothing less than disingenuous.
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