Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Michael Abrahams | Is Donald Trump a rapist?

Published:Monday | July 25, 2016 | 12:05 AMDr Michael Abrahams

Donald Trump has been labelled as many things: narcissist, demagogue, misogynist, racist, xenophobe, Islamophobe and liar among others. Now, recent allegations are attempting to add “rapist” to the above-mentioned ignoble list.

Last month, a woman filed a federal lawsuit against Trump, accusing him of raping her in 1994 when she was 13 years old. The woman, referred to as 'Jane Doe', claims that at that time she attended parties at the home of Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire, after being promised modelling jobs for which she would be paid.

She also reported to being held as a sex slave to Trump and Epstein, and that Trump “initiated sexual contact” with her on four occasions. The last incident was apparently the most traumatic, as the plaintiff claims that Trump tied her to a bed and raped her in a “savage sexual attack” which included him striking her in her face. Following the alleged incident, she reports that he also threatened her, telling her that she and her family would be “physically harmed if not killed” if she dared to report what had transpired, and that she would “disappear like Maria”, a 12-year-old girl who was forced to participate in the third encounter, who she had not seen since. Doe also claims that Epstein attempted to hit her in her head with closed fists, angrily expressing his displeasure that he should have taken her virginity and not Trump.

It is unusual for plaintiffs in sexual assault cases to provide witnesses, but in this case, the plaintiff has presented 'Tiffany Doe', who claimed to have seen the assaults. Tiffany claims to have been Epstein’s “party planner” from 1991-2000 and that her job description included getting “attractive adolescent women to attend these parties.” She claimed to have witnessed the sexual assaults on Jane Doe, stating, “I personally witnessed the plaintiff being forced to perform various sexual acts with Donald J. Trump and Mr Epstein”, and that “Both Mr Trump and Mr Epstein were advised that she was 13 years old.”

New York’s five-year statute of limitations has since passed. However, Jane Doe’s attorney argued that his client had been under duress, as she claimed to have been living in fear of Trump since the alleged assaults, and is requesting that she be allowed more time, a process known as “tolling”.

But how credible are these bizarre claims? Probably not as unlikely as they initially appear. Trump definitely knows Epstein and has expressed fondness for him. In a column published in New York magazine a few years ago titled “Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery”, the author, Landon Thomas Jr, quotes Trump as saying: "I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it - Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

So Trump admits to having fun with Epstein and that he likes women “on the younger side”.

But what is even more disturbing is the fact that Epstein is a convicted sex offender who served a 13-month sentence for soliciting prostitution with a minor. He has settled more than a dozen lawsuits brought by underage girls, with several receiving over $1 million. 

This is not the first time that Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault. His first wife, Ivana said in a 1989 deposition that he had physically assaulted her, pulled out her hair and forcibly penetrated her without her consent. Another woman, Jill Harth, alleged in a federal lawsuit in 1997 that Trump violated her “physical and mental integrity” when he touched her intimately without consent, leaving her “emotionally devastated and distraught” and that he committed multiple acts of  “attempted rape”. She withdrew the case when another suit brought against Trump by her husband, who had gone into business with him, was settled.

And Trump’s history of misogynistic comments and behaviour, debasing and objectifying women, are well documented. Following a Republican debate, while blasting journalist Megyn Kelly, he said that she had “blood coming out of her eyes, or blood coming out of her wherever”. Another female journalist, Marie Brenner, also experienced his wrath when he poured wine down her back after she wrote something about him that he did not like, and Gail Collins reported that after referring to him as a “financially embattled thousandaire” in a New York Times op-ed, he sent her a copy of the column with her picture circled and “The Face of a Dog” written on it. Trump also referred to actress Rosie O’Donnell as a “fat pig” and an “animal” and once called in to TMZ and threatened to show defence attorney Gloria Allred his penis, bragging that she would be impressed with it.

When a female lawyer requested a break from a deposition to pump breast milk for her three-month-old daughter, and took out the pump, Trump told her “You’re disgusting”, and walked out of the room. Even his own daughter Ivanka, is not immune from his apparent objectification of women, as once, while referring to her figure, he stated “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

Not surprisingly, one of Trump’s friends, Philip Johnson, said that, regarding women, Trump told him “You have to treat 'em like s*%$.”

Rape culture dictates that famous and powerful men be given a pass when it comes to inappropriate or criminal sexual conduct with women. But with Trump’s history of misogynistic and ungentlemanly conduct, combined with his outlandishly narcissistic personality, these accusations should not be taken lightly and ought to be thoroughly investigated.

- Michael Abrahams is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, comedian and poet. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or tweet @mikeyabrahams.