Survivors continue to break their silence and share allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump. As of this report, more than 25 women have spoken up about the abuse they have faced at the hands of Trump. Who’s to say there aren’t more?
In an interview with The Guardian published Thursday, a woman identified as Amy Dorris shared that she too was assaulted by Trump in his VIP box at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 1997. The former model is speaking publicly about the assault for the first time which occurred when she was 24 years old. She is now 48.
According to the interview, Trump grabbed Dorris as she came out of the bathroom and “shoved his tongue down” her throat, his grip was so tight she was unable to escape. Dorris continued to describe the assault, as other women have in the past: “like an octopus,” Trump touched her all over. “It felt like there were tentacles on me that I couldn’t rip off,” she said. “I was trying to get his arms off of me and they would not come off because I wasn’t strong enough.” As always, Trump’s lawyers have denied the allegations and claim Dorris was never harassed, abused, or mistreated. Taking the route of victim-blaming, Trump’s lawyers also suggested that sharing the assault was politically motivated due to the upcoming November election and that witnesses must have been present to verify the story.
“I’m tired of being quiet. It’s kind of cathartic. I just want to get this out. And I want people to know that this is the man, this is our president. This is the kind of thing he does and it’s unacceptable,” Dorris told The Guardian.
Not only is Dorris one of dozens of women who have spoken up against the violence Trump has inflicted on them, but she is one of two women who allege sexual assault during the U.S. Open. Another former model, Karena Virginia, shared her story in 2016 of Trump touching her breasts during the 1998 tournament only to have her allegation dismissed by Trump representatives for being “politically motivated.”
In a statement to NBC News, Jenna Ellis, legal adviser to the Trump campaign, said the “allegations are totally false. We will consider every legal means available to hold The Guardian accountable for its malicious publication of this unsubstantiated story. This is just another pathetic attempt to attack President Trump right before the election.”
The continuous allegations against Trump all share a similar grotesque pattern despite where they took place and whose story they are. Many survivors of Trump’s sexual misconduct have shared that Trump did not care about their resistance to his actions. “It doesn’t matter who you are,” Dorris said. “Any time anyone says no, no means no. And that just didn’t work out for me. It wasn’t enough.”
This comes as no surprise given Trump’s consistent ability to dismiss actions he has taken as well as go back on his own words. Prior to the 2016 election, audio from 2005 in which Trump used vulgar and offensive vocabulary to describe women emerged and was dismissed by Trump as “locker room banter.” It wasn’t until national outrage occurred that Trump issued a non-apology. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said in the audiotape. “Grab them by the p—y,” he continued. “You can do anything.”
Trump and his lawyers have brushed away more than 25 allegations of sexual assault, including a case in which Trump allegedly raped E. Jean Carroll, a popular columnist in the 1990s. Instead of understanding the severe circumstances and trauma associated with such allegations, Trump’s lawyers have not only dismissed claims of assault but questioned the victims.
As a former sexual assault advocate, one of the most common questions that the defense asks survivors is why they continued to spend time with their alleged abuser and they did not report the assault. This question is not only dismissive of the allegations the victim has shared, but fails to acknowledge the power many perpetrators hold in addition to the trauma associated with assault. Survivors cope with trauma in different ways depending on their circumstances. Dorris shared that while “violated” she felt “pressured” to act the way she did. “People spend years around people who have abused them, that’s what happens when something traumatic happens, you freeze.”
According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), in the U.S. only one of four cases of sexual assault are reported to the police. A number of factors contribute to a survivor’s inability to seek help. Of course, instead of understanding the complexity behind why some survivors do and and why some survivors don’t report their assault or share their stories—Trump continues to call those who speak up against his abuse “liars.”
While Dorris initially shared her story with The Guardian more than a year ago, she requested it not be published, the newspaper shared. She also considered sharing her story in 2016 when others recounted similar accusations, but feared doing so would harm her family. “Now I feel like my girls are about to turn 13 years old and I want them to know that you don’t let anybody do anything to you that you don’t want,” Dorris said of why she shared her story now. “And I’d rather be a role model. I want them to see that I didn’t stay quiet, that I stood up to somebody who did something that was unacceptable.”