US election 2016: Why this Trump row is different

A couple of weeks ago, after the row over Trump "fat-shaming" Alicia Machado, I suggested the Republican candidate lay off our weight.

Warning: This article contains some graphic language

Now, and I can hardly believe I'm having to write this, I suggest he lay off our vaginas.

The day after a video tape emerged in which he suggested he could have any woman he wants because he's a star and so could just "grab them by the pussy", Mr Trump is in a whole ocean of hot political water.

Enough, quite possibly, to sink any chance he had of winning the White House.

Why this tape - and not the myriad other controversies that have dogged him in recent weeks?

First, analyse what he actually says. There is something particularly sexist, I'd say abusive, about this recording.

Read this excerpt:

"When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."

"Whatever you want," the interviewer says.

"Grab 'em by the pussy, you can do anything," Trump replies."

It's the way Mr Trump reveals that he sees women as a piece of sexual meat, something he wants, grabs, discards that is so damning.

Surveys (US government and UN) suggest one in five American women are the victim of rape or attempted rape and a staggering 83% of girls suffer sexual harassment at school.

Mr Trump is not guilty of either of those but his language is exactly the kind of language that encourages men and boys to feel it's okay to abuse women.

There is a violence in the phrases "grab 'em by the pussy" and "you can do anything" that any victim of abuse would recognise and that most women would find sickening.

To dismiss the tape as mere "locker room banter" and imply that the people who are offended are making an unnecessary fuss, or to say, as he did in his bizarre overnight apology tape, that this is just a distraction, compounds his problem.

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