Why isn’t anyone talking about it?
Last week, a woman identified only as Jane Doe came forward to file a federal lawsuit against Republican frontrunner and TV personality Donald Trump, alleging the real estate mogul raped her when she was 13 years old.
The woman, aged in her thirties, claims Trump “initiated sexual contact” with her on four occasions in 1994, during parties held at the home of then-friend, convicted paedophile and Level 3 registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.
In the court documents, the plaintiff details being tied to a bed by Trump, who she says proceeded to expose himself to her before embarking on a “savage sexual attack” in which he raped her while “violently striking” her in the face and “screaming that he would do whatever he wanted”.
Despite the serious nature of the allegations, the suit has been largely ignored by the media, receiving little international coverage. So why isn’t anyone talking about the fact a leading presidential candidate is up for child rape charges?
This isn’t the first time we’ve turned a blind eye to men in positions of power abusing women as they see fit. Trump himself has been quoted referring to women as “fat slobs” and “dogs”, infamously branding comedian Rosie O’Donnell “a slob with a fat, ugly face” in a 2006 interview, and taking to Twitter to call Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington “a dog” in April last year.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2015
Though once-beloved actor and comedian Bill Cosby was charged with sexual assault earlier this year, it took almost 50 years for the untouchable Cosby Show star to be made accountable for his history of premeditated, ongoing abuse of young women.
In 2013, a report of investigations by police and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children into sexual abuse allegations against deceased BBC TV and radio personality, Jimmy Savile, found staggering evidence of abuse over a period of 50 years on children as young as eight. An inquiry into sexual abuse at the BBC released earlier this year found that a culture of “reverence” for celebrities had ultimately allowed Savile to get away with his crimes.
Likewise, male Catholic priests have continued to exploit their position of power to sexually abuse children in their care with little repercussions – to this day, priests embroiled in sexual abuse scandals are still discreetly relocated in order to continue practicing.
While Trump’s lawyer has stated the child rape allegations against him are “categorically untrue, completely fabricated and politically motivated”, the case is extremely compelling.
For starters, Trump has an established history of friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who threw the parties where the alleged assaults took place.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump once said of Epstein.
“He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
Additionally, message pads that were seized by police from Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion indicate Trump called Epstein twice in November of 2004, according to a report by VICE News, while Epstein’s brother, Mark, testified in 2009 that Trump flew on the convicted paedophile’s private jet on at least one occasion. The same year, Trump was reportedly subpoenaed in a case against Epstein concerning victim Virginia Roberts, according to one of Roberts’ attorneys.
“I served Mr. Trump with a subpoena for deposition in 2009. He talked to me voluntarily, and consequently we withdrew the subpoena in light of his voluntarily providing information…. I can’t imagine there being any dispute of any of this.”
Trump’s lawyer has since claimed the subpoena “never happened”.
Earlier this year, The New York Times interviewed more than 50 women who had worked with or dated Trump over the past four decades, and found a commonality in their accounts of the ex The Apprentice star; a history of unwelcome romantic advances, commentary on women’s bodies, and unsettling workplace conduct.
“He kissed me directly on the lips. I thought, ‘Oh my God, gross’. He was married to Marla Maples at the time. I think there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth. I was like. ‘Wow, that’s inappropriate’,” 1997 Miss Utah Temple Taggart said of her interaction with Trump.
However the Republican frontrunner has continued to deny allegations of sexual misconduct, telling The New York Times, “A lot of things get made up over the years. I have always treated women with great respect. And women will tell you that.”
Regardless of Trump’s stance on this case, while there are allegations involving the rape of a child being put forward, we have an obligation to weigh them alongside his documented history of misogyny, and questionable relationship with a known sex offender. More importantly, we have a moral duty not to continue to ignore the voices of women who speak out against rape culture; even when there’s a presidential race going on.
Comment: What’s your take on the sexual assault charges facing Donald Trump?