By Sian Norris
It didn't start with the groping comments. But that felt like a key moment. When Trump was revealed to have boasted about grabbing women by the pussy, supporters from Nigel Farage to his own wife defended his admission of sexual assault as ‘locker room banter’.
They argued that this was just the way men talked. They argued that this was just what men did. There's something deeply insidious and disturbing about referring to Trump's boasts as 'locker room banter'; as something ‘all men do’. Not only because it is offensive to men to portray them all as sexually violent. But also because it serves to normalise and minimise men's sexual violence. If we are forced to accept that men groping women is just something that happens, is just something that men do, then it becomes incredibly difficult to complain about. It makes it impossible to fight back against. As women, we're told we should just put up with it. We're told we should just accept it. We're told that it's just normal – that men can't help it.
This is one of the many terrifying things about the advent of Trump's presidency. His success sends a message that you can boast about abusing women's bodily integrity and still become the most powerful man in the world. His success sends a message that it is okay to use physically and sexually violent rhetoric when talking about women, and win. Throughout his whole campaign, he has appealed to that section of men who believe they are entitled to women's bodies. He has fired up a section of men who believe that women are second-class citizens. His language and his actions have given sexists and misogynists not only comfort, but legitimacy.
His constant referring to Hillary Clinton as 'crooked'. The fact a tweet stating that she couldn't 'satisfy her husband so how could she satisfy the country' was retweeted from his account. His incitement to violence via the second amendment. Throughout the campaign Trump has employed grotesque, sexist and violent language against his female opponent.
This isn't just playing politics. This isn't the same as when he says ludicrous and stupid things about white male opponents (of whom he has said plenty of deeply unpleasant stuff). He has deliberately used sexist and misogynistic rhetoric against a powerful female candidate. And in doing so, he has given tacit permission to his supporters to indulge in everything from gross sexism to incitement to violence.
If Trump hadn't made these comments, threatened to throw Clinton in jail, boasted of groping women or dismissed the idea that a man could rape his wife, do you think his supporters would turn up to rallies wearing t-shirts proclaiming that 'Hillary sucks but not like Monica'? That they would shout out 'kill the bitch'? If Trump hadn't led the way with his sexist rhetoric, do you think his supporters would have felt so emboldened to demonstrate just how much they despise women?
When Trump joked about Clinton and the second amendment, he did it in a country where nine women are shot by current or former partners every week.
Germaine Greer once famously said that women have no idea how much men hate us. One of the things that has terrified me throughout this election is how the pumped up, ecstatic response from some men to Trump's gleeful and unapologetic sexism has revealed how she was right.
Because this isn't right, is it? In 2016, we should not be watching men cheer 'bitch' under the grinning encouragement of the President Elect. In the year we saw a woman MP shot, the President Elect should not be 'joking' about the second amendment. And in 2016, a man who publicly boasted of sexually assaulting women, a man who has been accused of multiple sexual assaults and child rape, should not win the Presidency.
When I woke up at five am this morning, I saw a woman tweet that she'd heard men cheer that soon it would be 'legal to grab women by the pussy'.
Street vendor here just yelled, "hey guys, at least now it will be legal to grab pussy!" And high-fived a group of men who laughed. pic.twitter.com/voTGBdKEUa
— Prachi Gupta (@prachigu) November 9, 2016
This, right here, is the example of how Trump's victory has given legitimacy to the men who hate women. To the men who see women's bodies as up for grabs. To the men who think women should shut up.
Trump has let the sexism genie out the bottle. We cannot let it stay that way. We must join together and fight to protect women's rights in the months and years to come. To do otherwise is to accept that male violence against women is something that we should all be expected to live with.
I refuse to accept that.
Sian Norris is a writer and feminist activist. You can follow her on Twitter here.
The opinions in politics.co.uk's Comment and Analysis section are those of the author and are no reflection of the views of the website or its owners.