In the News

Sexual Abuse, Misogyny, and Donald Trump: “Women, you have to treat ’em like shit.”

The latest news about Donald Trump isn’t being reported, except in The Huffington Post by Lisa Bloom, an attorney and a legal analyst for NBC News and AVVO.  Victims must be believed, but to be believed, they must first be heard.  Bloom reports that a federal lawsuit has been filed against Donald Trump by a Jane Doe, alleging he raped her in 1994 when she was just 13 years old.  (This, by the way, isn’t the first time Donald Trump has been accused of rape in a federal lawsuit, Bloom reports in detail.)  Trump, however, continues to insult and belittle women in the vilest and savage of ways, no matter what he is accused of.  He must think he’s king of the jungle.

The Jane Doe lawsuit includes an affidavit from a Tiffany Doe who swears she witnessed four incidents of the sexual abuse of Jane Doe committed by Donald Trump.  She also swears she witnessed sexual abuse of Tiffany Doe committed by Trump’s friend, Joseph Epstein, who is now a Level 3 sex offender because of his conviction of “sexual misconduct” with another underage girl.  Bloom, an attorney who represents victims of sexual abuse and who has reviewed the court documents, says Jane Doe’s claims “merit sober consideration and investigation.”   She and I as attorneys know that associating with known criminals doesn’t make one a criminal.  But the sworn testimony of the witness matches the alleged victim’s account, and one must pay attention to that.

What about “alleged victims,” anyway?  You may remember my piece, “What Would You Say if I Told You? Talking About Child Sexual Abuse,” where I began by exploring the claims of sexual abuse by Dylan Farrow, in which she said Woody Allen raped her.  Who listened to Farrow?  Not enough people,  just like not enough are listening to– or even hearing about– Jane Doe.  In that piece, I discussed the importance of the details Farrow provided (as Jane Doe and Tiffany Doe provided in this federal lawsuit against Donald Trump), the difficulty of being a victim who speaks out, first from just having to tell, and second, for the hurt and shame that come with not being believed.  And I strongly stated that victims must be believedfor their own sake.  If it turns out that the accused is innocent, that will come out soon enough.  The further damage that can be done to a victim who isn’t believed during that time is unspeakably cruel, not merely insult added to injury.

Also in “What Would You Say if I Told You…“, I explored a case in which I represented a victim of child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by the husband of the girl’s mother.  The state attorney’s office felt this abuse had, indeed, occurred, but they did not have enough evidence to assure a successful prosecution.  They came to me to help the girl obtain civil justice in the form of a restraining order against the perpetrator.  Obtaining that order, knowing that the judge, the state attorney, the victims’ advocates, and I– along with her mother, who was at first skeptical– believed her gave that young lady the validation she so desperately needed and helped her begin her process of healing.

I urge you to read Lisa Bloom’s column in The Huffington Post, to share it, to talk to people about it, and to spread the word, because ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, PBS NewsHour, and others, have not done their jobs (that I know of so far) because they haven’t reported on this.

I’ll leave you with Bloom’s final words:

 

What do you call a nation that refuses to even look at sexual assault claims against a man seeking to lead the free world?

Rape culture.

We ignore the voices of women at our peril.

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“Women, you have to treat ’em like shit” source

42 replies »

  1. Reblogged this on Lisa Lanser Rose and commented:

    Trump is riding a groundswell of sentiment many women find deeply familiar–and deeply unsettling. I wasn’t sure what I was recognizing until Suzannah Gilman and Lisa Bloom articulated it. We women must listen to each other. Do not turn a deaf ear.

  2. As a woman, I find it baffling how you could ever support someone like Donald Trump. He appears in every way to be a spoiled multi-millionaire who acts without thinking and does what he wants without worrying about the repercussions…because for him, there obviously are none. I hope that the women who have suffered from such acts of abuse find the justice that they deserve.

  3. I am French and maybe not as involved as you are. But as a woman, I am sad and chocked when I read your article (and the one from The Huffington Post). Not only Trump is a disgusting man, but it’s turning out that he might also be a criminal (If I use the right word).
    Thank you for you wonderful site.

  4. While women who do sometimes lie about being raped, a long history of such claims by several woman against a single man should be carefully examined: do we really want a rapist for President? Three different men attempted to rape me, but luckily I was able to fight them off. Still the episodes upset me extremely.

    While teaching at a university, one of my female students came to me after class one day asking for more time to write her essay because she had been raped the previous evening by a member of the college award winning basketball team. I gave her the time, and I believed her because I couldn’t imagine that her obvious distress was faked. The attack on her was reported in the local press, but other than that little was said about it by professors or students on campus. Overall she wasn’t believed or was said to have been asking for it when she invited him into her dorm room. Perhaps his on-campus celebrity, like Trump, gave him enough power to dictate what did or did not happen and what was or was not said.

    No matter what was decided, my student suffered after the rape because of her courage to look for justice in a world where too often women are accused of asking for rape by doing something as innocent as allowing a celebrity to enter their dorm room which she was initially flattered by until the amiable star who had entered her room decided to attack her.

    • And I’m so sorry for what happened to you, too, Nigtingale. I meant to say that in my first reply to you. I’ve been the victim of sexual assault, including rape, many times. I have been raped twice, but from the time I got breasts at age 14, life was sheer hell for me. I’d like to think that now, approaching age 50, that the boldness and self-confidence I’ve gained in life will be enough to protect me. I know, of course, that’s not true, but I do think it’s a deterrent.

      Speaking of sexual assault in schools, I was assaulted in middle school. We were out at the track at P.E. when a male student grabbed my crotch with one hand and my breast with another and said something lewd to me. I immediately told the coach, whose attitude was that it’s just life. He looked at me, up and down, and shook his head like “What do you expect?” I was tall, long legged, and my breasts were huge. The body that was given to me is supposed to be an excuse for me to be sexually assaulted?

      The coach sent ME to the office. I was very upset. I thought that when I told what happened, the boy would be called up to the office and disciplined. No. Instead, they called my mother to come pick me up. She threw a huge fit. She’s very good at that. Still, nothing was done.

      I take that experience with me through life, though it very seldom comes to mind. But the experience has not weakened me; it has made me stronger. No man will break me. No man will make me feel less than who I am. I am not only a survivor, I’m a thriver. I’m not a victim.

  5. Great article. I’m just surprised this is not being plastered all over social media or and other news outlets. I have a little girl and I don’t know what I would do if………

  6. First, i do not like Mr. Trump and i agree that his demeanor towards people less fortunate than himself is disgusting. But if you’ve ever asked an attorney a question and listen close, they always answer yes and no to the same question and therefore i can not vote for Mrs Clinton either. Unfortunately, right, wrong, and the letter of the law does not coincide near as often as what people think. Did you know that Mr. Trump, in his successful attempts to “stiff” contractors building his “Towers” always used attorney affiliates of Bill and Hillary Clinton. I agree that any rape complaint requires investigation but one must be extra sure that investigations are not “one-sided” as most are in effort of the courts to reduce the burden of proof resting on the prosecution.

      • Young lady, i meant no offense to you or your profession as officers of the courts and i fully understand why yes and no answers have to be given. As a former police officer and potential juror in many cases i have heard many judges say “well i agree and i think that is wrong also but the letter of the law says …”As for Hillary, how could a Secratary of State and a U.S. Senator say and get by with not knowing classification identification markings. I must admit that this country would do far better with the right woman as its leader than the right man. Women have more “realistic” common sense than any man. I will have to cast my vote for Jill of the “green party” even though i know it is termed as a wasted vote. I have to vote against both republican and democrats and i have an unreasonable fear that Trump is going to win.

  7. women, children, the elderly. We are never protected. We always have to fend for ourselves or each other. It’s sad and it happens over most of the world. I have been to France, Mexico, Germany.. its all the same. Great post

    • 1954 and raised by mom , the youngest and last of nine children, the only one to live past 60 and one week, forgive me that i did not know a proper form to address you. Your photo depicts you about 40 years old and so i addressed you as my oldest daughter who is also an attorney and is 44. I am a farmboy and was taught by mom that such an address to someone younger than myself was a show of respect. Had you looked older i would have addressed you as Ma’am so i reckon that might have been worse. The closest i’ve been to a city in 40 years i passed thru Tulsa an OK City to Amarillo to pick up some cows in 1982. I would rather be corrected in proper form than shunned but that is your choice. But, with that kinda fire if you wanna help bale hay stop on by, come supper i’ll set you a plate. I am a good country cook accordin to the neighbors.

      • This isn’t worth my time, as I said, and this is my last comment. Were I a “mere” 40, I would still deserve worlds more respect than the term “young lady” denotes. It’s dimishing, reductive, patronizing, and condescending. This is the 21st Century, and we are not delicate creatures– nor have we ever been. We’ve been portrayed that way. We do not need to have our ages underestimated, nor do we need or WANT to be addressed as though we are younger than we are like that’s a compliment. I am so very proud of each year I have lived. I am so very proud of my life experience. I am so very proud of the mature woman I am. I am so very proud to have evolved and learned the language that is politically correct, because all political correctness means is having respect for others and caring enough to learn how to express that respect. Your good ol’ country boy rhetoric doesn’t exempt you from learning the rhetoric of real respect. I hope I haven’t offended you in return. Truly.

  8. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I can’t even put into words how it makes me feel when I see my friends post awful things on social media with the hashtag “nextfaketrumpvictim”. This entire election is one giant trigger, and it’s unfortunate that everyday average people don’t comprehend what that means. I struggle walking that fine line of using my newly found voice to stand up to this perpetual rape culture while not wanting to come across as the annoying feminist who alienates her friends with this obsession. That being said…that Trump/Lion pic is both funny and disturbing:)

    • First, I agree about that pic. I searched for Donald Trump and some unflattering adjective I don’t remember, and I looked for an image that was labeled for reuse. That was the first result. Bullseye.

      I can see that for you and so many other women who’ve been victims who were victimized again after telling, Trump has opened wounds and rubbed salt into them. I would say this to you: Don’t burden yourself with the impossible task of trying to convince those who don’t understand sexual assault that it actually is a pervasive harm. Don’t put that on yourself. You’re carrying enough already. I would also say to you that you should “consider the source” when you hear or read hateful, hurtful remarks. And last, I’d say to you that you should surround yourself with love and people who are empathetic. Don’t pore over the news that hurts you. Read news and articles written by people who think like you do. Be heartened. You can’t control what ugliness is out there, but you can control how much of it you let touch you. I can’t think of any other way survival is possible.

      Sending you bubbles of light. This episode will be over soon.

      • Thank you, Suzannah, for such an awesome and nurturing response. You’re right…I fear it is an impossible task, and not a battle I want to continue. Though, I can’t just stay quiet, either, as I’ve been quiet since I was 9 years old. I will take your advice and not seek out the news that hurts me, though most of the time, it just seems to find me. When it finds me, I think I will just use my voice so I won’t feel as though I’m enabling the cycle and then find my people.

        Your bubbles of light reached me. Thank you:)

      • jamivee, you’re going to be fine. You know what’s right for you, and every time you speak out it will be from a place of power. I’d use seven different emotions now, but none of them could add to the power of what you’ll do by telling your own story when it feels right to you.

  9. Reblogged this on My journey to a butterfly and commented:
    Please, media…wait just a little bit longer before perserverating on the next big story. We need this conversation to keep going, because people still aren’t listening….