U.S. President Donald Trump has proclaimed April 2017 “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month,” reminding Americans that “we all share the responsibility to reduce and ultimately end sexual violence.”
Trump cited Department of Justice statistics that show over 300,000 instances of rape or other sexual assault happening in the U.S. each year. He also observed the importance of “changing social norms that accept or allow indifference to sexual violence” in a White House press release.
“My administration, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence. This includes supporting victims, preventing future abuse, and prosecuting offenders to the full extent of the law,” Trump declared.
The Trump administration didn’t create National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. It’s an initiative that’s been recognized across the U.S. since 2001, first receiving presidential recognition from Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama in 2009.
However, this year’s presidential proclamation is drawing a particularly strong response due to past accusations of sexual harassment and assault against Trump.
Over the past year, the billionaire president has been accused of sexual assault by at least 10 women; he has accused some of lying to either seek attention or to sabotage his political career, and has dismissed others as not suitably attractive to merit his sexual consideration.
In October, his presidential campaign was rocked by the release of a 2005 audio recording in which he boasted about kissing and groping women without their consent. “When you are a star, they let you do it,” he said in the recording. “You can do anything, grab ’em by the pussy.”
He later dismissed his remarks as “locker room talk” and denied wrongdoing.
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That revelation sparked a boycott campaign targeting daughter Ivanka Trump’s fashion line; one college student was even inspired to put together a photo series highlighting Trump’s history of crude comments about women.
However, this hasn’t stopped the president from now affirming his commitment to “providing meaningful support and services for victims and survivors in the United States and around the world.”
Still, many on Twitter are not impressed.