Rachel Crooks Accused Trump of Sexual Harassment & No One Listened. Now She’s Running for Office.
Since Donald Trump took office, a record number of women have gotten into politics themselves. Women are running for office in larger numbers than ever before, and largely as a response to Trump’s attitudes towards women, both in his misogynistic statements and admissions–his boasts, really–of sexual assault and harassment, as well as how those attitudes manifest in his and the Republican party’s legislative agenda
But for Rachel Crooks, Trump’s influence is even more direct. She’s one of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault. In 2005, Crooks worked as a receptionist at Trump Tower and the first time she met her employer, she says he “forcibly kissed” her. She’s spoken publicly about the incident numerous times. She told the New York Times, “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
She’s also expressed frustration and disappointment that she and the other women who have shared their stories of abusive encounters with Trump have been largely ignored, even in this current #MeToo moment.
That frustration, and that refusal to be deemed “insignificant” has pushed Crooks to run for office herself. She’s now entered the race for state legislature in Ohio’s 88th District. She told Cosmopolitan, “I think my voice should have been heard then, and I’ll still fight for it to be heard now. Americans are really upset with politics as usual, and I want to be a voice for them.”
While she’s running in a Trump-voting district, Crooks hopes his “erratic and ineffective” presidency will sway residents to give up the party line. (The district voted for Obama in the previous two presidential elections.) With a background in education administration, she’s running on a platform of job creation, health care access, and fixing her state’s education system. But she also sounds to be committed to the kind of basic human empathy and respect for constituents Donald Trump so glaringly lacks.
“What I’ve learned working, especially with international students, is just understanding different perspectives. And really having empathy for others,” she says. “You need to understand where people are coming from. Right now, it seems very polarized in politics. I think if you can empathize with others, you can possibly reach common ground.”
(via Cosmopolitan, image: Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
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