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So far, six women have come forward saying Donald Trump has sexually abused or harassed them this week, with the expectation that there is more to come. However, in the long and hearty tradition of not believing women, #NextFakeTrumpVictim has reared its ugly head, in which Trump supporters cry that it’s all a vast conspiracy.
The hashtag naturally appears to have started on 4chan, in which an anonymous user who claimed to have inside knowledge of the Clinton campaign requested it start on Monday. “I pray you guys get this done by all measures. You can change the narrative,” they write. However, the hashtag didn’t gain steam until Wednesday night, after the New York Times published a piece in which two women accused Trump of touching them inappropriately.
Many women who’ve experienced sexual assault are saying campaigns like this are exactly why so many rape victims don’t feel comfortable coming forward. They see the risks of reporting—the scrutiny, the abuse by police, the hundreds of people saying she’s just doing it for attention or, weirder, money—and decide it’s not worth it. That it won’t change anything. And it’s this same culture that convinces victims the way they’re treated is to be expected.
We’re taught that being catcalled & groped is an expected part of a woman’s life. (Boys will be boys!) How do you report the everyday?
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) October 13, 2016
So, sure, Trump’s alleged victims are doing it for the attention. You know, all that positive attention rape victims are subjected to when they come forward, like being questioned about what they were wearing, how much they were drinking, and facing long legal battles that will most likely not result in jail time for their abusers. Women just dream of that.
Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'