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“The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls”

First Lady Michelle Obama appeared in New Hampshire in support of Hilary Clinton today, giving a rousing speech on the abhorrent nature of this campaign, and the reprehensible behavior of Hilary‘s opponent.

“I can’t believe I’m saying that: a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.”

Obama had much to say on Donald Trump (though she refused to say his name nor repeat the things he said), likening his presence to a bad dream. But she also stated that we can’t just move on to the next thing, this is big. We need to deal with this, and now.

“It is one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life.”

She spoke how this kind of speech effects not only women, but everybody. How language like this is so shocking we worry about turning on the T.V. around our children. But Obama also connected this kind of “locker-room talk” to a much bigger picture.

“When you see that guy at work that stands just a it too close, stares a bit too long, and makes you uncomfortable in your own skin.”

This is a reminder of what happens to women on a day to day basis. That we must be perfectly clear: this is rape culture. If a man running for President of the United States can wave away comments that are not only obscene, but actively supports the abuse and mistreatment of women as nothing but “boys being boys,” than there is no denying it.

THIS IS RAPE CULTURE.

“We are drowning in it…”

People find themselves in a bubble without ever realizing it. They find their own opinions repeated back to them by friends and family. Strengthened and reinforced each time. They fail to look beyond that safe space of the people they know, even as strangers hold out an open hand to say “let me show you.”

As a white man I’ve known a lot of privilege in my life. Oftentimes I still fail to realize how good I have it. But nothing can stop me from listening to those around me. Female friends who share stories of strange men grabbing them just walking down the streets. Gay friends disowned by their own families. Black friends who find themselves under suspicious scrutiny more often than not. These things happen. Sometimes I’ve seen it in person, but I don’t need to. I trust my friends to tell the truth of their woes. And because I have empathy as a human being (not a friend) I know there’s always more I can do to make it better.

“It doesn’t matter what Party you belong to… none of us deserves this kind of abuse.”

This has been a nasty campaign, regardless of your political leanings. And all of us have a lot of soul searching to do, or we are all going to wake up one day soon to realize the mistakes we made. To wake up and find we have contributed to a society that tells women they have to look a certain way. Contributed to a society that will openly brag about sexual abuse. Contributed to a society that allowed an elected judge to decide that a convicted rapist deserved a reduced sentence because it might otherwise ruin his future. And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.

“This isn’t about politics, it’s about basic human decency.”

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Andrew Walsh

Andrew Walsh is an independent filmmaker and freelance writer based in LA. He co-directed his first feature in high school, is an avid juggler, and is a descendant of director Raoul Walsh. One of those might not be true.

Follow him on Twitter if that’s your deal @AndrewKWalsh

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