E. Jean Carroll is the 22nd woman to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct. But will it make any difference?

“My last rich boy pulled down my tights… My last rich boy was blond. He grew up to be the president of the United States.”

On Friday afternoon, E. Jean Carroll became the 22nd woman to accuse US President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.

In an excerpt for her forthcoming book, What Do We Need Men For?, published in New York Magazine, the advice columnist describes an encounter with Trump in the New York City department store Bergdorf Goodman in late 1995 or early 1996.

After recognising her as “that advice lady”, Trump asks Carroll to help him pick out a gift for a “girl”.

They both walk into the lingerie section when a dressing room door is closed.

“He lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips,” she recalls.

Shocked, and attempting to politely deflect the situation like so many women before and after her, she laughs as she tries to shove him away.

“He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights,” she writes.

Carroll goes on to relay how in the “colossal struggle” that ensued, Trump unzips his pants and pushes his penis “halfway – or completely, I’m not certain – inside me”.

After she manages to “get a knee up high enough to push him out and off”, Carroll runs out of the dressing room and flees the department store.


She immediately tells two friends – one who urges her to go the police to report the rape, the other who advises her to forget it.

“He has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you,” Carroll recalls her friend telling her.

Carroll didn’t go to police – there’s no evidence, she’s scared, she blames herself, she feels guilty – and so she waits nearly 25 years to tell her story.

“Why haven’t I ‘come forward’ before now?” Carroll asks herself in the piece.

Her reasons are clear. “Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud, and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun. Also, I am a coward.”

Like all the allegations before Carroll’s, Donald Trump did exactly as she described: denying the claim, then threatening and attacking Carroll.

In a statement to New York Magazine, the White House said: “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”

Trump also issued a statement denying Carroll’s allegations, claiming he’d never met her before (despite a photo showing that they had indeed met) before suggesting she’s “trying to sell a new book – that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section.”


He added: “Ms. Carroll & New York Magazine: No pictures? No surveillance? No video? No reports? No sales attendants around?? I would like to thank Bergdorf Goodman for confirming they have no video footage of any such incident, because it never happened.”

E. Jean Carroll’s name has now been added to a long (and growing) list of women who have accused Donald Trump of a wide range of disturbing behaviour – from lewd remarks, harassment, unwanted groping, to sexual assault.

Watch: Ivanka Trump on the allegations against her father Donald Trump. 

Video by NBC

In her book extract , Carroll names 15 of these women:

  • Jessica Leeds told New York Times that Trump “grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt” when she sat next to him on a flight in the 1980s.
  • Kristin Anderson, a former model, said that Trump reached up her skirt at a nightclub and touched her vagina through her underwear, according to the The Washington Post. 
  • Jill Harth was cornered, groped and repeatedly kissed by Trump. 
  • Cathy Heller told The Guardian that Trump forcibly tried to kiss her twice, an encounter that left her “angry and shaken”.
  • Temple Taggart McDowell was 21 when Trump introduced himself to the Miss Utah by kissing her directly on the lips.
  • Karena Virginia told The Washington Post that Trump inappropriately touched her breasts at the US Open tennis tournament in 1998.
  • Melinda McGillivray was at an event at the Mar-a-Lago when Trump groped her from behind, reported The Palm Beach Post. 
  • Rachel Crooks was working as a receptionist at Trump Tower when Trump pulled her in for a kiss on the cheek and then the mouth.
  • Natasha Stoynoff, a former People reporter, met Trump and wife Melania for a story about their wedding anniversary when he cornered her in a room and forcibly kissed her. “We’re going to have an affair,” he told her, she recalled in a piece for People
  • Jessica Drake, an adult film star, was kissed by Trump when they met and later offered $10,000 to have sex with him.
  • Ninni Laaksonen, a former Miss Finland, told Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat Trump groped her bottom backstage at the Late Show with David Letterman in 2006.
  • Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, said in a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred that when she met Trump in 2007 to discuss business, he greeted her with an open-mouth kiss, took her to his hotel room, aggressively groped her and tried to have sex with her.
  • Juliet Huddy, a former Fox New anchors, said Trump tried to make a pass at her in a Trump Tower elevator, going in for a kiss on the lips rather than the cheek.
  • Alva Johnson, a staffer in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, said in a federal lawsuit that Trump made non-consensual advances, including trying to kiss her on the lips.
  • Cassandra Searles wrote in a Facebook post that when she was Miss Washington in 2013, Trump “continually grabbed my ass” and kept inviting her to his hotel room.

But there’s more women.

Including Carroll, there’s now been 22 women who have come forward to put their names on accusations against Trump for sexual misconduct.

There’s Lisa Boyne who told Huffington Post that at a dinner Trump looked up women’s skirts walking by and commented on their underwear and genitalia. Or Mariah Billado who recalled how Trump walked into dressing rooms while teenage beauty pageant contestants were changing, according to Buzzfeed. An account that’s backed up by the similar experiences of Tasha Dixon and Bridget Sullivan. Or Jennifer Murphy, a former The Apprentice contestantwho said Trump tried to kiss her on the lips without consent.

Then, of course, there’s Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump, who in a 1989 divorce deposition, detailed a violent sexual assault where he ripped out her hair. She accused her then-husband of rape, but later clarified she didn’t mean in a “criminal sense”. In a July 2015 campaign endorsement, Ivana said that the story is “without merit”.

With Trump on the campaign to secure a second term in the White House, the question we’re all asking is: will E. Jean Carroll’s story have any impact on his chances?

If history teaches us any lessons, probably not. At all.

Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 after no less than 10 women accused him of sexual assault in the lead up to the election.

And despite public outrage over his “grab them by the pussy” remarks in the now notorious Access Hollywood tapes, published by the Washington Post just before the election, Trump was still elected to the US presidency.

As political science professor Rick Hasen noted, “if this were any other President these allegations would be front page news for days, would certainly lead to a congressional investigation, and potential resignation or removal from office.”


But although it seems like nothing has changed and that one more story to the many out there won’t make any difference, what Carroll’s story reminds us is that women are speaking out.

In the #MeToo era, many, like Carroll, who were once too afraid to share their stories, have finally done so. Even though they know they will be denied, threatened and attacked, they also know – finally – there are people out there who will listen.

As Carroll told the Washington Post, she “blamed [herself] and I was silent and I felt guilty,” but she hopes that finally talking about her experiences “will empower women to come forward and not feel bad”.

We can only hope that as women continue to share their stories, many of them for the first time in decades, we will listen. And we will care. And one day, we will care enough for their stories to have the impact they deserve, everywhere from the workplace to the White House.

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