Just because someone is a sex worker doesn’t mean they can’t be sexually assaulted. On the contrary, studies have found that up to 75 percent of sex workers are are victims of sexual violence at some point during their lives.
But when discussing the sexual assault allegation brought against him over the weekend by porn star Jessica Drake, Donald Trump attempted to discredit her by citing her career as a sex worker.
“One said, ‘he grabbed me on the arm.’ And she’s a porn star. You know, this one that came out recently, ‘he grabbed me and he grabbed me on the arm.’ Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before,” Trump said during a Monday appearance on WGIR radio’s “New Hampshire Today.”
The audio was published online by CNN’s KFILE. Listen here:
This line of argument against Drake was also invoked Saturday by Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume. In a widely criticized tweet, Hume suggested that Drake’s background as a porn start discredits her story that she found the $10,000 proposition Trump allegedly made to her to be “unacceptable behavior.”
Woman who has sex on camera for $ says Trump propositioned her. "This is not acceptable behavior." Please. https://t.co/EpQ04PcuTO
— Brit Hume (@brithume) October 23, 2016
Hume also recently attempted to discredit another woman who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her on an airplane in 1980 by questioning whether the armrests in planes back then lifted in a manner that would’ve allowed Trump to grope her. And last summer, Hume tried to discredit the sexual harassment allegations brought against former Fox News CEO and chairman Roger Ailes by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.
Trump dismissed Drake’s account of being nonconsensually grabbed and kissed by Trump in 2006 as “made up.” He’s said the same thing about stories of sexual assault brought forth by at least 10 other women in the weeks since a recording of Trump bragging about assaulting women first emerged.
Despite being able to offer little exonerating evidence to date in response to the mounting accusations, Trump on Saturday threatened to sue his accusersafter the election. That same day, his campaign released an unattributed statement dismissing Drake’s accusation as “false and ridiculous.”
Trump camp statement calls latest accuser's story "false and ridiculous." Earlier, he said he'd sue all women accusing him post election. pic.twitter.com/OvMQ0hlBXX
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) October 22, 2016
Trump has previously cited his accusers’ looks in an attempt to discredit them, repeatedly suggesting at rallies the women aren’t attractive enough for him to be interested in sexually assaulting them in the first place. That claim, which was recently amplified on cable news by Trump campaign senior adviser A.J. Delgado, ignores the reality that sexual assault is often an act of power and control, not sex.
In an interview published earlier this year by Rewire, New York-based sex worker Vivienne pointed out that sex workers understand the boundary between consensual and nonconsensual perhaps better than anybody.
“Having sex for money doesn’t make me less aware of my boundaries — it makes me hyper-aware of them,” she said. “I know better than anyone else what it feels like when my consent is violated.”