Trump Gets Confronted About Victim-Blaming Tweet During NBC Town Hall

September 8th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump got a blast from the past at a Wednesday MSNBC town hall event: Host Matt Lauer brought up a remark the candidate tweeted in 2013 about sexual assault in the military.


The exchange was spurred by a veteran in the audience, who asked Trump how he would deal with the issue.

"Mr. Trump, I have a daughter who is interested in joining the service, but when she researched the military, she saw the stats on sexual assault and decided not to go," he said. "I have a concern about the rape of women in our armed forces. As president, what specifically would you do to support all victims of sexual assault in the military?"

After Trump offered a vague response about coming down "very, very hard on that" while keeping cases in military courts, Lauer confronted him with the tweet in which he offered a much more controversial opinion.

Trump suggested that sexual assault was underreported and under prosecuted in the military because the military is not segregated by gender and therefore unavoidable.

Trump responded to Lauer by saying "that is a correct tweet," which viewers interpreted as tacitly endorsing and defending the remark while trying to avoid pronging the question.

As aghast viewers were quick to point out, suggesting that women in combat will inevitably be sexually assaulted fails to address who is actually responsible for sexual violence: the perpetrators.

The idea that there is any situation in which sexual assault is unavoidable fails to acknowledge that sexual assault can literally always be avoided by not having nonconsensual sex with another person.

Trump's remark also feeds into the idea that sexual violence is a normal expression of male sexuality, which is not supported by science.

The idea that testosterone makes men unable to control their behavior doesn't hold up, the U.K. Telegraph explains.

Yet this idea is deeply ingrained in our culture: it shapes remarks like Trump's, as well as the "boys will be boys" attitudes too often used to argue that male rapists are not responsible for committing violent crimes because they "couldn't help it."