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“Let’s Go For Round Two”: Three of Trump’s Sexual Harassment Accusers Speak Out. Again.

Last year, more than a dozen women shared their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. While Trump managed to convince his supporters that his boasting about all the things he does to women was just “locker room talk,” these women knew better. Because the things he bragged about doing, were the things they said he did to them.

The number of women accusing Trump of misconduct is now up to 16 (by most counts). Today, three of them– Rachel Crooks, Samantha Holvey, and Jessica Leeds–spoke at a press conference held by Brave New Films, the activism-based production company that put out a short film last month titled 16 Women and Donald Trump.

The women who spoke today had never met before, but their stories, like many of the others’, share similarities. They’re reminiscent of what Trump himself said in the infamous and disgusting Access Hollywood tape: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

That’s exactly what Rachel Crooks described when she recounted her time working as a receptionist in Trump Tower.

It’s what Jessica Leeds described happening when she sat next to Trump, a stranger, on a flight in the 1980s. Because Trump has been pulling this same shit with women for decades.

The women also spoke with Megyn Kelly about their experiences. Samantha Holvey described what it was like competing in one of Trump’s beauty pageants, how he took advantage of his position to ogle the women in their private dressing room where no men were supposed to be allowed.

I’m seeing a lot of people dismiss Holvey’s story because (to paraphrase dozens of trolls) “she knew what she was signing up for.” That kind of thinking is vile and dangerous and indicative of the exact sort of rape culture women have to navigate every day. Just because a woman signs up for a competition that involves a degree of physical appraisal, that does not open her up to ogling and objectification at the discretion of the pageant’s co-owner. Those contestants did not give Trump an all-access pass to their bodies the moment they put on a ballgown or a bathing suit.

Trump, at least, seems to know that, as you can tell when he bragged to Howard Stern about all the things he “gets away with.” If it were defensible, he wouldn’t have needed to get away with it.

These women have shared their stories before, and yet still had to see Trump elected. Holvey told Kelly, “We’re private citizens, and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and especially how he views women, and for them to say ‘meh, we don’t care,’ it hurts.” But given the current climate, in which these types of allegations are finally being taken seriously, they’re speaking out again. “And so now it’s just like, alright, let’s try round two. The environment’s different. Let’s try again.”

Last week, a number of senators called for Trump’s resignation. His victims would also like to see that happen, or at least a nonpartisan ethics investigation. Because while the sexual harassment reckoning has seen consequences befall men in certain industries, from Hollywood to Democratic politicians, Trump seems to have gotten a pass. For whatever reason, men like Trump and Roy Moore are able to remain unscathed. While a number of Democrats have resigned over misconduct allegations, apparently, the only thing that can bring down a Republican is offering millions of dollars to an employee to carry his child. That sure sounds like the court of public opinion has a hell of a bias.

These women might not actually expect Trump to resign or be removed from office, and it doesn’t sound like they’re thinking of pursuing legal recourse. (In Holvey’s case, she flat out said “What am I going to sue him for? Being really creepy?”) But the American people could at least do them the courtesy of no longer ignoring them.

Holvey said during the conference, “I believe other folks have resigned so I think he should, I don’t think he ever will, but I think it’s the public that needs to be aware this is the type of person he is.”

Speaking about her dream of competing in the Miss USA pageant, and how Trump defiled that dream, she said, “I have a new dream now, that this man will be held accountable for his actions and that future generations of women can fulfil their dreams without worry of anyone treating them like they are less-than because they’re a woman.”

(image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.