Trump accusations spark new conversations about sexual assault

New accusations against Donald Trump have sparked a new conversation about sexual assault.

HOUSTON - Donald Trump is in the middle of another political firestorm, but beyond the headlines and possible political impact are real women, with real names, sharing real stories about what happened to them.

Four women - Jessica Leeds, Mindy McGillivray, Rachel Crooks and Natasha Stoynoff - have accused Trump of inappropriate touching and unwanted kissing.

Related: Miss Washington 2013 says Donald Trump groped her

"All of a sudden his hands were all over me," recounted Leeds. "He was like an octopus. It's like he had 6 arms."

Trump supporters say the timing of the allegations are suspicious, but coming forward with allegations isn't always easy.

"They don't want to go in the public eye," said Leticia Manzano, a sexual assault counselor at the Houston Area Women's Center.

She says women who come forward often fear facing criticism, doubt and victim blaming.

Related: Trump denies accusers' groping claims

"We live in a culture where we don't want to believe it can happen," said Manzano. "It can happen by anybody and to anybody."

Manzano says 1 in 4 women are victims of sexual assault, and even more women are victims of groping and unwanted physical advances.

"Most of the women I know have been harassed or groped at one time, and it starts in early adolescence, it's not just when we're adult women," said Manzano.

Related: Former Miss Maryland, Miss Teen USA tweets her Trump experience

The women who dedicate their lives to help others at the Houston Area Women's Center say this story is not about one candidate, or one election, it's about making sure women know if they are victims, they're here to help.

"Our message is not about politics, it's about the violence that occurs to women on an everyday basis," said Manzano.

Click here for more information on services available at the Houston Area Women's Center.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment