Today, a jury in Manhattan federal court found former US President Donald Trump liable for defamation in a civil lawsuit by writer E. Jean Carroll. The jury awarded Carroll approximately $5 million in damages after she accused Trump of sexually assaulting and defaming her. This significant verdict demonstrates that even a former president is not immune to accountability for his actions.
E. Jean Carroll is a writer and journalist best known for her advice column in Elle magazine. She also authorizes several books, including “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” which details her experiences with sexual assault and harassment. In June 2019, Carroll alleged in a memoir that Trump had sexually assaulted her in a dressing room at a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. Trump denied the allegations and responded by calling Carroll a liar and saying he had never met her, despite a photo of them together at a social event.
Carroll’s accusation was just one of many allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump, who has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual assault or harassment. In 2016, a recording of Trump on the “Access Hollywood” set was released, in which he boasted about grabbing women by their genitals without their consent. Despite these allegations, Trump was elected president and remained in office for four years, during which time he faced no legal consequences for his actions.
The fact that a former president has been found liable for defamation in a civil lawsuit is significant, but it is also important to consider the larger context of Trump’s behaviour towards women. Trump’s comments on the “Access Hollywood” tape and the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him indicate a larger culture of misogyny and abuse of power in American society.
The Republican Party’s continued support for Trump despite his history of sexual misconduct is also concerning. Even after the verdict in the Carroll case, many members of the Republican Party have remained loyal to Trump, refusing to hold him accountable for his actions. This sends a message to women everywhere that their voices will not be heard and that powerful men will continue to act with impunity.
The Carroll case is a win for Carroll and all women who have suffered from sexual assault and harassment by powerful men. However, it is important to remember that it took almost three decades for Carroll to come forward with her story and that even in the post-#MeToo era, it is still difficult for women to report and fight sexual abuse. The fact that a former president has been held accountable for his actions is a step in the right direction, but there is still much work to be done to create a culture where all survivors feel safe and empowered to come forward.
The verdict in the Carroll case is a significant moment in the ongoing conversation about sexual assault and harassment in America. The fact that a former president has been found liable for defamation in a civil lawsuit is a testament to the power of survivors to hold their abusers accountable. However, it is also important to recognize that this is just one case in a larger cultural context of misogyny and abuse of power. We must continue fighting for a world where all survivors are heard and believed and powerful men are held accountable for their actions.