This week, I'd like to take a break from my regularly scheduled Halloween-themed articles to touch upon a more pressing issue that is currently dominating media headlines everywhere. This issue, as I'm sure you can guess, is the growing mound of accusations piled up against Donald Trump by women who allege that he has harassed or assaulted them in one way or another. I would give you a specific number of accusers, but it seems that there is a new accusation leveled against Trump every day so for now I will link to this article which provides a timeline of the allegations of sexual assault and harassment that Trump faces thus far. These vile acts range from deliberately walking in Miss Teen USA pageant contestants to child rape. Unfortunately, many Trump supporters (and even some non-supporters) continue to defend Trump's actions, despite these allegations. Now, skepticism in the face of serious accusations is fine, but when multiple women come forward with a variety of terrible experiences, I believe that they should be given the benefit of the doubt. This is especially true when the accused is a known misogynist.
Naturally, Trump immediately declared these accusations as lies and the women who spoke out as liars. Of course, his supporters have taken his denial as fact without bothering to look into the specific accusations that have been made. Browse through any comment thread under an article detailing these issues and you will no doubt find at least a handful of angry conservatives swearing that this is all just a liberal conspiracy to decrease the chances of electing Trump as president. It is certainly understandable that one would feel compelled to defend a figure they admire and respect against any criticism, but the amount of alleged victims of his is becoming too large to ignore. This situation is very reminiscent of the reveal of Bill Cosby as a rapist. When the accusations against him first became public, many people were quick to defend him. However, after the mountains of evidence piled against him became too big to deny, most people finally came around to support his victims. This is what I am hoping will be the case with Donald Trump.
A key reason why survivors of sexual violence often do not come forward with their stories is because they are afraid they will not be believed. Unfortunately, the reaction to this particular scandal only confirms this fear as valid. It has often been said that there is strength in numbers, but in this case, it seems that even the great number of victims that have now shared their stories is not enough to convince the public of Trump's guilt.
I am not a prosecutor. I have no experience in criminal justice, and I do not study law, so I cannot claim to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that what these women are alleging is the truth. However, I am a reasonable human being with a decent amount of common sense, and I am willing to bet my life on the idea that these women wouldn't risk ruining their public image and receiving hateful messages for an accusation that isn't true. Even if you are a staunch conservative, I urge you to think of the bravery it has taken these victims to come forward. They are risking everything by speaking out; Trump clearly has the upper hand in this situation as a wealthy public figure with very passionate followers which leaves these women at risk of a heinous amount of backlash. If they were willing to be called liars (and much worse) in the media just so that their stories can be heard, clearly Trump's actions had a lasting impact upon them.
Imagine if a close friend of yours was in a similar situation. No matter who their attacker was, wouldn't you want them to be heard and believed? I'm certain that the answer to this question for most of you is a resounding yes. If so, please take this empathy and apply it to the many women who say they were hurt by Donald Trump. Imagine how horrible it would be for someone who violated you so deeply to become the leader of your country. You would certainly not feel safe; if your own leader is not on your side, who can you trust?
I sincerely hope that Trump will be brought to justice, but I honestly am doubtful that that will happen. For now, the least I can hope for is for these allegations to sway some undecided voters away from his campaign.