We live in a time when women finally feel safe enough to speak out against the atrocities committed against them by powerful men. The list of names, from Hollywood superstars, to beloved comedians, to United States presidents, is absolutely staggering. The wave of allegations rolling in almost daily is a grim reminder that we, as a civilization, are not as enlightened as we thought we were.
Former President George H.W. Bush has been accused by six different women of inappropriate touching, mainly during photo-ops, but now, a woman has come forward stating that she was only sixteen years old when the now elderly President Bush squeezed her backside as she stood next to him for a photo.
Roslyn Corrigan was excited to meet the former president, but soon after being introduced, realized she was mistaken. According to TIME:
“Bush, then 79 years old, groped her buttocks at a November 2003 event in The Woodlands, Texas, office of the Central Intelligence Agency where Corrigan’s father gathered with fellow intelligence officers and family members to meet Bush, Corrigan said. Corrigan is the sixth woman since Oct. 24 to accuse Bush publicly of grabbing her buttocks without consent.”
Corrigan spoke directly to TIME when she said:
“My initial reaction was absolute horror. I was really, really confused. The first thing I did was look at my mom and, while he was still standing there, I didn’t say anything. What does a teenager say to the ex-president of the United States? Like, ‘Hey dude, you shouldn’t have touched me like that?’”
A spokesperson for Bush released the following statement regarding the allegations:
“George Bush simply does not have it in his heart to knowingly cause anyone harm or distress, and he again apologizes to anyone he may have offended during a photo op has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”
They also blamed the “accidental” groping on the fact that Bush was shorter than he had ever been due to being confined to a wheelchair. This photo was taken nine years before he was deemed unable to walk in 2012.
Corrigan continues, stating that she feels somewhat protected in speaking out after seeing multiple others speak out in the same way:
“As soon as the picture was being snapped on the one-two-three he dropped his hands from my waist down to my buttocks and gave it a nice, ripe squeeze, which would account for the fact that in the photograph my mouth is hanging wide open. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, what just happened?’”
“I don’t know, maybe it never really hit people that I was a child at the time and that goes beyond a guy being inappropriate in the workplace to a peer or somebody in his age range. I was a child.”
Corrigan’s mother gave the following reiteration of the day’s events:
“When he left, my daughter Rozi said, ‘He grabbed me on the rear end.’ And I said, ‘What, what?’ And she said, ‘Yes, he grabbed me when they were taking the picture. He grabbed me on my butt.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, are you kidding me?’
“I was really, really upset — she was very upset, she was really, really mad. Had it been just some Joe Blow or something. I’d probably chase him down and yell at him. But, you know, it’s the president. What are you supposed to do? And you’ve got your husband’s job that could be in jeopardy. I mean, you just didn’t then. You should—you should have always spoken up, always—but we didn’t.”
George H. W. Bush admitted to sexually assaulting actress Heather Lind during a photo-op in 2013.
Lind admitted in an October 24th Instagram post that George H.W. Bush touched her inappropriately without her consent:
“He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side.”
Laura Bush, H.W.’s daughter-in-law, weighed in with these remarks to CNN:
“I’m just sad that we’ve come to this. That was something that was very, very innocent that he’s been accused of. But I know he would feel terrible.”
Innocent? Grabbing a woman’s ass without her permission?
Corrigan was not very happy with that statement. She had this to say:
“It completely floored me. I was actually there to be taken seriously, and I wasn’t. I thought, he’s a career politician, almost 80 years old or something like that, if anybody’s going to take me a little bit seriously or at least try to pretend he’s interested in what I have to say, it would be this guy. And he didn’t. All he did was grab my butt.”