Oh, boy. Let’s start in 2013. That’s when Kellyanne Conway, who these days moonlights as the campaign manager for Donald Trump, was on a PBS roundtable discussion about women in the military and gender equality. The Pentagon had just lifted the ban on women in combat roles and the panelists were discussing the physical rigors of the military and its problem with sexual assault. On this point, Conway had some thoughts to share. “Rape would not exist,” she said, if women had the same physical capabilities as men. Hmm.
“If we were physiologically — not mentally, emotionally, professionally — equal to men, if we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist,” Conway said on To the Contrary. “You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off.” Conway’s remarks followed her initial response to a question about the physical-endurance capabilities of men and women in the military, according to CNN. In other words, no one asked for her to draw large conclusions about rape culture at large.
Trump’s campaign has been under scrutiny from critics who say it is out of touch with views on women’s rights and sexual assault. Indeed, it was an anti-Trump super-pac, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, who first resurfaced Conway’s comments as another example of how the Trump campaign doesn’t have “acceptable political views,” according to CNN.
Trump has previously shown support for Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News after he was removed following ongoing allegations of sexual harassment at the network. He has also said that if daughter Ivanka Trump ever faced sexual harassment at work, “[He] would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”