Trump accuser says many in her generation didn’t report rape
A magazine columnist who says Donald Trump raped her in a department store’s dressing room two decades before he became president acknowledged Monday that she never followed her own advice to readers that they report sexual attacks to police.
E. Jean Carroll told a federal civil court jury that the reason was generational.
The 79-year-old said that as “a member of the silent generation,” she was conditioned to keep her chin up and not to complain.
“The fact that I never went to the police is not surprising for somebody my age,” she testified as Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina cross-examined Carroll about why she never went to authorities about the alleged rape, which Trump denies. Carroll said she had called police only once in her life, when she feared the mailbox at a home where she was staying was going to be damaged on Halloween.
“You would call police if a mailbox was attacked,” Tacopina asked, “but not if you yourself were attacked?”
Carroll replied that at the time, she was ashamed of what she alleges happened.
Research has repeatedly found that rapes and sexual assaults are among the types of violent crime least likely to be reported to police. An annual U.S. crime victimization survey found that less than 23% of rapes and sexual assaults were reported in 2021 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Carroll was testifying for a third day in the trial stemming from her lawsuit against Trump. She has said the then-real estate magnate raped her in the spring of 1996 at a luxury midtown Manhattan department store after they went into a dressing room together in an encounter that she said was fun and flirtatious until Trump became violent. She said she eventually kneed him and fled.
Trump, 76, says he was never at the store with Carroll or that he even knew her beyond a fleeting moment when a 1987 picture was taken of them in a group setting. He has not attended the trial, which is expected to last through the week.
“This is a fraudulent & false story,” Trump wrote on his social media platform shortly before Carroll first took the stand last week.
Carroll’s renewed testimony came shortly after Tacopina asked Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing the civil proceedings, to declare a mistrial because of rulings he made that Tacopina said favored Carroll. The judge rejected the request.
Carroll filed suit against Trump in November, under a New York state law that temporarily allows sexual assault victims to sue over alleged attacks that happened even decades ago.
Amid a flurry of public denials and insults from Trump that prompted Carroll to add a defamation claim to the lawsuit, Trump has insisted that Carroll was motivated by political reasons and a desire to sell copies of the 2019 memoir in which she first publicly revealed her rape claims while Trump was still president.
Carroll has testified that she would have kept her accusation secret forever if not for the #MeToo movement, which gained prominence in 2017.
Carroll wrote an advice column for Elle magazine for nearly three decades, and Tacopina confronted her Monday with instances in which she advised contacting law enforcement authorities after people wrote in about sexual assaults and threats from partners and exes.
“I always — in most cases — advised my readers to go to the police,” Carroll acknowledged.
Tacopina also pointed out that although Carroll’s memoir described sexual assaults by multiple men over the course of her life, Trump was the only one she sued. And, although Trump has insisted he had no sexual encounter — indeed, “no anything” — with Carroll, his attorney asked her whether what allegedly happened could “somehow be viewed as consensual.”
“It was not consensual. Not consensual,” she said emphatically.
In his mistrial request Monday, Tacopina complained that Kaplan shut down his questioning when he pushed Carroll last week to explain why she did not scream, tell police or attempt afterward to retrieve footage from video cameras at the store’s doors to prove that she and Trump were there together.
The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.
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