Social Question

DominicY's avatar

Why are the assault allegations coming out now?

Asked by DominicY (5657points) October 16th, 2016

This is not exactly my own personal question, but one that I hear all the time. The Trump sexual allegations are just the latest example, but it happened with Bill Cosby and various other public figures accused of sexual assault.

The questions I hear are: Why do the allegations come out now? Why weren’t they reported at the time? Does this mean that they’re false or part of a character assassination attempt?

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23 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I think it means that something—most likely the reports and accusations of others—has given people courage to speak up after keeping silence for so long out of fear and shame.

Most people don’t want to be a solitary voice taking a stand that’s likely to expose them to doubt and even public calumny. Knowing you’re not alone, not the only one, has been the key to many people’s willingness to speak to someone about what happened to them. I hear this all the time at Al-Anon meetings.

At least one of the Trump accusers said that what pushed her to speak out was hearing him claim that he’d never acted on the presumptions he was bragging about. He said he’d spoken the words but not done the deeds. She cried foul.

JLeslie's avatar

My answer to why they weren’t reported at the time is because this shit happens all too often, and women brush it off as best they can. Also, what’s going to be done about it? Would he have been prosecuted by the state for assault? It’s doubtful in my opinion.

An older woman I saw interviewed, who was groped by Trump many years ago, said she basically did just that, just tried to forget it and move on.

I also saw the actress from the Soap Opera in that clip of Trump talking with Billy Bush, and she said she isn’t traumatized, it’s just more men talking and doing shitty things. Not that she was excusing it, just that it’s not surprising to her.

Girls are touched and talked about practically their whole lives like objects. I’m not saying it’s a daily thing, it’s just not an unusual thing.

Why is it being talked about now. Maybe it is the Democrats timing it. Maybe because a lot of people hate Hillary for staying with her cheating, possibly also assaulted women, husband, and maybe they hope bringing this up about Trump makes her better than him.

I think a lot of the women coming out are Democrats.

I think the women also, unrelated to politics, can finally tell their story and people will believe them. That’s probably the biggest reason they are speaking out. It’s nice to be believed, and get understanding from others. Women are dismissed all the time. We often live in our own bubble of silence.

Seek's avatar

I tried reporting my parents for abuse while I was in high school.

They came to the house, took a cursory look around, said “this house is clean”, and left.

They never spoke to my brother, who had to endure regular beatings. They didn’t talk to me, about how I was being forced to not complete homework, leading me to fail classes, and not allowed to take college placement tests.

They didn’t talk to us at all.

It wasn’t until I was an adult, and married, and had my husband there with me, that the police filed a report after I was beaten for the last time.

Victims are silent when they believe no one is listening, or no one will believe them. And they’re usually right.

They’re speaking now because people are listening now.

filmfann's avatar

Several of these women told someone they knew when it happened.
One woman began suing him over it 2 years ago.
2 weeks ago, a recording of Donald Trump admitting to this behavior was broadcast and became news.
His past victims saw their chance to come forward.

Why is this so hard to see?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Assault allegations, including sexual, often don’t come to light for a variety of reasons. They apply to people of all genders.

The victims:

* Are young and told that it is normal by their abuser.
* Have their life or those that they love threatened if they speak out.
* Feel that no one will believe them.
* Tell someone and aren’t believed.
* Tell authorities and have to go public.
* Have their career threatened if they speak out.

There are probably more reasons. It’s just incredibly sad.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Everything @Seek said about remaining silent at the time. They are coming forward now because that video was just released of Trump talking about how awesome it is that he can grope women with impunity and they love it. They don’t love it. It’s abuse. These women are coming forward to make that clear, because his actions and his words are vile and infuriating, and maybe it will help for them to tell their stories.

The truth is that some of their lives will be ruined for this. Trump will certainly sue, and they are already receiving death threats from his whackjob followers. It’s terribly risky, what they are doing, and they know it. They feel a responsibility to tell their stories despite the risk.

SmashTheState's avatar

It’s because most people are equal parts cowardly and vindictive. They won’t stand up for themselves unless they can be part of a dog pack where they can attack with impunity, but once the dog pack forms, everyone with an axe to grind, justified or not, comes crawling out from behind the wainscotting to stick a knife in.

canidmajor's avatar

@SmashTheState You may be naive enough to not know this, but your answer snacks of “white man denial”. Women report this stuff all the time and it’s not taken seriously most of the time. I’ve reported this behavior and had it brushed off. I’ve been fired for reporting this stuff, they called it “insubordination”, the laws governing faith treatment for women are recent and often ignored. I failed a class in college because I refused to have sex with the professor and when I reported it to the department chair (the appropriate person, according to the handbook) I was threatened with expulsion (or at the very least a long suspension while the “allegations” were investigated. Knowing, from experience, how those things tended to go, I chose to be able to continue my college career.
You just have no clue whatsoever what it’s like for the non-white, non-men, non-hetero population.

ucme's avatar

Strike while the iron’s hot, at the very least karma bites his fat arse & sends his campaign into meltdown

canidmajor's avatar

Sorry for the typos, folks. “Smacks” not “snacks” and “fair” not “faith”.

LostInParadise's avatar

What a few women said is that it was the release of the tapes that got them to speak out. Those tapes suggest that it was not just a spontaneous act on Trump’s part, but that he felt that his power and money allowed him to get away with such things and that it was the kind of thing that he did many times. How did such an oafish excuse for a human being ever get nominated?

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise I understand that the tape made women feel able to speak out and tell their stories, it makes perfect sense to me, but did any of them actually say that the tape made them realize they weren’t the only one he did it to? Or, that spontaneity factored in? I find that odd. Who gives a shit if the guy planned it or did it spur of the moment? He did it. That’s my opinion anyway. I’m not more forgiving because he didn’t plan it ahead of time. Plus, I would think most women are like the actress on the soap opera, they know guys like that who treat women like that. It’s a certain mold those men come from.

stanleybmanly's avatar

With Trump it’s obvious that the allegations are peaking the closer we come to election day. This is because voters have short memories as well as attention spans. Had these charges been drummed at us from the outset, we would be immune and indifferent to them by now. You should expect both the tempo and severity of the accusations to pick up between now and election day, because you just know that the cornucopia of scurrilous baggage surrounding Trump is both spectacular and plentiful.

LostInParadise's avatar

@JLeslie , If someone did something shameful to me, I might be able to excuse it if I thought it was a one-time aberration. If I heard that person brag about being able to get away with such actions, it would definitely motivate me to come forward and talk about the incident.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Why would anyone think it was Trump’s one and only time. He was probably married when he did it also. He’s been married most of his adult life. Some married guy makes a move on me, and he doesn’t know me at all? He’s a dog. If you have never encountered one of those type of men you’re lucky.

It’s different when you are the wife who knows partial information and hopes the cheat was just one time, one mistake, one etc. But, when you’re the girl who was grabbed from nowhere, are cornered into a kiss, you know the context was completely inapropriate.

chyna's avatar

@jleslie. If I am sitting in a bar and Trump grabs me back 10 years ago, who am I going to report him to and who would give a crap? Now that he has been overheard disrespecting women they can come out because they now have someone to tell their story to and will most likely be believed.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna Exactly. I agree with that. That’s what I said. Look at my first answer. But, do you think you are the only one he did something like that to? He tries to put his hand up your skirt while sitting next to you, or starts kissing you from nowhere? That’s a certain type of man.

JoyousLove's avatar

^^Don’t hate me… Or woman, as the case may be. Just saying that these sort of sexual assaults are not always perpetrated by men… It’s also important to understand that tehy also don’t only happen to women. I realize that that’s not what’s at issue here, but I keep hearing this and that man and that and those girls. Just to clarify… Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. There are no gender descriptors in its definition.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I’m just talking about the particular situation with Trump. I’m not discounting that women assault men, and men assault men, and women assault women, and adults assault children. I’m guessing statistically men assaulting women is the most common though regarding all adult situations. Not that it matters, but it is the reason I easily use “men like that” and similar sentences.

Men have been given power and taken it for hundreds of years, and it is obvious in many ways, including how they treat women. Not all men, not even most men I interact with, but there is a group of men who truly look at women as something to use. Even they think it consciously. The girl is nothing to them but someone they can play with or conquer.

My exboyfriend’s family used to literally say people outside of the family are “nobodies.” They slept with any girl that said yes, and they tried with almost every girl. If they got into a girls crotch with their hands they would walk out and tell a cousin who was at the party right afterwards, and their SO might be in the next room. They feel invincible. Everyone covers for them usually. If it gets out a whole bunch of people already know. It’s no surprise. It’s a horrible reality. Even I am part of that reality admittedly. I’m not surprised he is like that.

@chyna I think I understand the confusion. I’m agreeing that women might have felt they couldn’t say anything because they might not have been believed or taken seriously. That to me is separate from they themselves thinking they were the only one he ever did it to. Like they were his single target ever? I think most women know a scoundrel, and know they aren’t somehow “special” that he only tried it with them. I can see children feeling that way, but an adult woman? Remember, he isn’t telling them he loves them and he’s leaving his wife. This is him molesting them at practically first glance. It’s the same as men catcalling. They do it to half the women walking down the street.

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, logically believing you are the sole and only victim is a very different matter from feeling alone and isolated with your story.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie: I don’t know any women who were treated like this that ever assumed they were the only one. We always just move on with with the understanding that that guy’s a pig, and try to warn others.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba and @canidmajor I completely agree.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I’m sure they have come to light before, but as an immensely rich private citizen he was able to sweep it under the rug.
Running for President means he just lost what protection his money was able to provide before.

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