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Sex Assault Survivors Slam Rape Culture at Toronto Trump Protest

Pussy Grabs Back criticized victim-blaming and misogyny Trump embodies.

A protestor holds a sign at Pussy Grabs Back Toronto. All photos by Jake Kivanc

A year ago, one would've passed by downtown Toronto's Trump International Hotel and Tower without thinking twice. Save for Trump's signature all-caps branding, the building blends easily into its financial district surroundings.

Things are different now. Throughout the US presidential campaign, Donald Trump has become a symbol of racism, sexism, misogyny, and incredible arrogance, leaving everything bearing his name tarnished. So it was fitting that a group of Toronto women, disgusted from afar at Trump's glorification of sexual assault, chose to protest outside the hotel Monday night.

The event, Pussy Grabs Back Toronto—a play off Trump's comments that he can grab the pussy of any woman he wants because he's famous—featured speeches, drumming, and cathartic chanting ("Snatch that tower with pussy power", "We believe survivors").

Many of the speakers were sex assault survivors who said Trump's behaviour is part of a rape culture that exists everywhere.

"Why is that we cannot just go and report and be taken seriously and validated? Why is it we have to beg?" Linda Redgrave, the first witness to testify against Jian Ghomeshi during his sex assault trial, asked the two dozen or so protesters. Redgrave, like many others in the crowd, was dressed in costume; she wore all black, with cat's ears, and thigh high black stiletto boots.

"I am a nasty woman and tonight I am a nasty cat," she declared to loud cheers.

Redgrave addressed the accusations being pitted against the 11 women who have publicly alleged Trump sexually assaulted or harassed them—that they're hungry for fame and money—and said she faced the same thing after pressing charges against Ghomeshi.

Linda Redgrave speaks at Pussy Grabs Back Toronto.

York University rape survivor Mandi Gray was also in attendance. She told VICE Trump is an ideal target for a protest like this, but also to help launch bigger discussions.

"He embodies everything that is shitty but at least he is transparent about it. And the topic is particularly relevant within the social context right now, Brock Turner, Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby," she said.

"He's just an easy person to hate."

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.