By Channing Icenogle
Trigger Warning: this article deals with sensitive topics, including sexual assault. The Spotlight encourages its readers to read the following only if they feel comfortable doing so and to utilize sexual assault resources, such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 808-656-4673, and the Blue Bench Hotline For Sexual Assault at 303-322-7273.
Twenty six. That is the number of women who have come forward with sexual assault allegations against President Trump. The many accusations made take place over a span of over 40 years, as some date back to the 1970s. While many of the women came forward in the early 2000s as well as in the run-up to the 2016 election, the most recent claim of sexual assault occured just weeks ago.
Amy Dorris, former model and actress, revealed Trump had sexually assaulted her on September 5, 1997 at the 97th US Open Championship in Bethesda, Maryland. In an interview with the Guardian, Dorris explains she had gone to the bathroom to adjust her contact lenses, and was then assaulted as she attempted to return to her seat. She recalls seeing Trump waiting for her leaning on a wall outside the bathroom when he then approached her and forced himself on her, despite her demanding he stopped. During the encounter, Dorris claims that Trump stuck his tongue down her throat as he attempted to grope all over her body.
Directly after the encounter, Dorris says she told her boyfriend at the time, Jason Binn, that she was appalled with Trump’s behavior and wished to stay away from him. She made an effort to wear more conservative clothing in order to deter any further advances from Trump. Soon after, Dorris called her mother as well as her friend and told them what had happened. Both her friend and mother have confirmed hearing about the assault soon after it occurred. As time went on, Dorris was able to confide in some of her friends as well as a therapist. However, even faced with her calls to her mother and friend, a ticket to the US Open, and at least 6 pictures with Trump, Trump’s lawyers continue to deny that any incident of assault occurred and insist that he never behaved inappropriately towards Dorris.
Dorris’ reason for coming forward was not only for herself, but for her twin daughters. As a mother, Dorris wanted to set an example for her daughters that sexual assault is never acceptable and that it is important to speak up about it. The Guardian states that the interview with Dorris was held over a year ago, but she was still unsure about going public until now. Initially, Dorris had considered speaking up in 2016 when other women had come out with allegations against Trump, but refrained from doing so out of fear of harm to her family. Like Dorris, many victims of sexual assault stay silent out of fear, so it is unknown how many women like Dorris may come forward in the future.
For those who have experienced sexual assault, there are many resources that can help, including the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 808-656-4673, available 24/7 for survivors looking for help and resources, and the Blue Bench Hotline For Sexual Assault: 303-322-7273.