Between 2010 and 2014, an average of 288,820 (age 12 and older) people were victims of rape or sexual assault in the United States annually, according to the Department of Justice. That’s equal to the entire female population of Wyoming— and Donald Trump may very well be guilty of contributing to that number.
I’m fortunate enough to say that I’ve never been a victim. It’s something I cannot imagine. But I know two people who have experienced it. Neither pressed charges.
Both probably felt an overwhelming fear that they would be judged, blamed and/or disbelieved. Even if they were confident they’d be believed, it’s clear that sexual assault is not a trauma people enjoy reliving in a courtroom.
But right now, Donald Trump supporters are proving fears like these to be well-founded.
Fox News’ Lou Dobbs tweeted Trump accuser Jessica Leeds’ address and phone number because she might’ve had a link to the Clinton Foundation. Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, questioned if this was some sort of coordinated Clinton scheme. There’s also Infowars editor at large Paul Joseph Watson, who simultaneously dismissed and mocked potential victims of sexual assault:
“’This famous billionaire sexually assaulted me and is running for president.’ I better keep it a secret for 35 years up until it fits the media’s narrative,” his post said.
Then, of course, there’s billionaire Trump himself, who has an extensive history of suing people he doesn’t like.
USA Today reported that he and his businesses were a part of 3,500 lawsuits. In fact, Trump recently threatened to sue The New York Times for libel in its reporting on his groping of two women. Thankfully however, the Times has the resources to essentially say, “Bring it on.”
Currently, there are several women who have made accusations: Jessica Leeds, Ivana Trump (his first wife), Kristin Anderson, Jill Harth, Temple Taggart, Mindy McGillivray, Rachel Crooks, Natasha Stoynoff, Cassandra Searles, Summer Zervos and a friend of CNN anchor Erin Burnett.
There is also a pending lawsuit in the New York Civil Court, where a woman who is choosing to remain anonymous is alleging that Trump and convicted billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein raped her when she was 13 back in 1994.
There’s also a host of comments about Donald Trump walking into Miss USA dressing rooms from Mariah Billado, Bridget Sullivan, Tasha Dixon and another Miss USA contestant. Trump has also said on tape that he would date underage women (a 10-year-old and two 14-year-olds) when they were older.
Many of these women making these allegations against Trump did not have millions of dollars or access to the best lawyers. As a public figure, Trump could end the careers of the women who threaten him, terminate contracts or sue like he always threatens to do. Trump can essentially bankrupt them for speaking up. He can silence them for mustering the courage to speak about being assaulted—which is something most of us cannot truly comprehend.
Trump infamously bragged on a 2005 tape, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” including grab a woman “by the pussy,” pursue others while you’re married or kiss women you find attractive without their consent.
We can’t let him get away with that by simply dismissing these allegations as nothing more than ways to defame him. We can’t show others that a “you can do anything” mentality is ok. It runs afoul to all sense of justice.
These women may very well be seeing the face of their alleged attacker on television, boldly denying he ever did any wrong. Wouldn’t that infuriate you?
Now, ask yourself this: what do these women have to gain? Just look at all the judgment and danger they are putting themselves in to bring him to justice. These women are only coming forward because now there are people with power behind them. These women have the support of the sane side of society and also each other.
They realize they’re not alone. They realize that they have some power to fight back against their alleged abuser. This was the case with Bill Cosby, after all, who nobody thought possibly would’ve drugged or assaulted women.
These women are stepping forward to show that, no, Trump is not the good man some people somehow see him as. These women understand that while he is dangerous to them, he would be even more dangerous in the Oval Office. Not only would women in his vicinity literally be in danger, but his election would signal to anyone that has denigrated or assaulted women that this behavior is tolerable. Seek power, get away with rape. Hell, you might even be able to become “leader of the free world.”
The cherry atop all this is that Trump’s supporters are engaging in the ultimate hypocrisy. They point to Bill Clinton’s alleged rapes and how he and Hillary Clinton silenced his accusers. But in the same breath, they totally dismiss that they may be trying to do the very same thing for Trump.
If you truly want to pretend you care about women and don’t just hate the Clintons, listen to them. Take a moment to think. Stand in their shoes. And perhaps most importantly, realize that other victims (unrelated to the Trump case) are watching.
Are you okay with telling them what you’re telling these women?