I know, this "locker talk" stuff has been worked to death, but...

When I was in high school, I was on the football team. I didn't play much, but I was on the team. I remember plenty of "locker room talk," whether it was in the locker room or at the lunch table or wherever. One guy, in an intimate moment, confessed that he'd lost his virginity the previous weekend by raping an unconscious girl at a party. (He of course didn't use the word "rape.") I remember being deeply disturbed, but saying nothing; he was a big guy, and no one else seemed to think he did anything wrong. But I still think about that guy. In fact, when I hear Donald Trump and his "locker talk" I think of him and hope he feels a deep remorse that Trump seems incapable of.

But there was another guy on the football team who was at that lunch table, or locker, or wherever it was this rapist made his disclosure. That other guy, who is still my friend, would be embarrassed if I named him, so I won't. But I remember him waiting silently until the talk died down and he had their attention. "She's very young to have gone through that," he said, and got up and left. That moment of empathy for a person we'd collectively deemed just a body that got raped - I didn't say anything, so I was complicit - has stuck with me for twenty-five years as an act of courage and civil disobedience against a male culture intent on justifying and perpetuating its own violence.

Everything I told you is just talk, just like Donald Trump says his "locker room" conversation is just talk. But speech is action, just as silence is inaction. Not speaking out against a man running for our highest office who brags about sexually assaulting women is complicity in propagating rape culture, and it's not something for which we should easily forgive ourselves.

AuthorJohn Proctor