by Rafaella Gunz
[Content warning: discussion of rape]
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump dominates the mainstream media every day. How’s he doing in the polls? What ridiculous thing did he say on Twitter? But another Trump-related news item is making far fewer headlines.
October 14, 2016 was supposed to be the pre-trial conference for the Republican nominee’s rape case. A civil suit filed by an anonymous Jane Doe alleges that Trump and his friend Jeffrey Epstein (another problematic figure) repeatedly raped the plaintiff when she was only 13 years old in 1994. A similar suit, filed under the alias Katie Johnson, was dismissed in California this past April. It was dismissed because it “cited statutes that did not apply to the case,” the New York Daily News reports.
However, last week, Jane Doe voluntarily withdrew her case, but plans to refile the lawsuit with additional witnesses.
According to Jane Doe’s suit, the 13 year old, along with other minors, were invited to Epstein’s New York City residence, where they were promised money and a modeling career. On numerous occasions at this location, she claims Trump forced himself sexually on her. He also allegedly threatened her in order to keep silent.
This accusation shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone; Trump’s rhetoric has been rife with misogyny since the beginning. Not to mention the fact that his ex-wife, Ivana, also has accused him of rape during their divorce in the early ‘90s, as has Jill Harth, a former Trump business associate.
Though the suit was dismissed in California, it might stand a chance if it’s refiled in New York, where the statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault was discarded in 2006. You can read the original filing of the New York case via Scribd. If Trump is found guilty of first-degree rape in the upcoming trial, he faces up to 25 years of prison time, according to New York State law.
Considering how journalists have realized their wrongdoing and apologized for not reporting on the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, another rich and powerful man who took advantage of numerous women, you’d think the mainstream media wouldn’t repeat the mistake with Trump, who’s running for arguably the most important job in the world.
It’s important to spread the word and put pressure on journalists to report on this case, especially the closer we get to Election Day. We shouldn’t have a child molester sitting in the Oval Office.
Rafaella Gunz is a recent graduate of The New School in NYC, where she majored in journalism and minored in gender studies. Her work has previously been published on Ravishly, Slutist, Feministing, Guerrilla Feminism, The Tab, and DeadState. Visit her website: ellagunz.com.