The recent watershed of #MeToo accounts has opened a lot of eyes to the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Victims everywhere have bravely spoken up and added their voices in this moment of solidarity.
Three of the accusers of President Bill Clinton decided to make their voices heard by barging into the office of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to demand his resignation following the accounts of four women who claim that he sexually harassed or assaulted them. The three women, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Leslie Millwee, attended the second of three presidential debates in 2016 and sat during an earlier press conference with then-candidate Donald Trump to repeat their accounts of Bill Clinton’s abuse.
While their accounts of sexual abuse are not at all in question, their chosen targets are making their demonstrations look less like calls for justice and more like political grandstanding. It is hard to imagine how Broaddrick, who had once expressed her feelings of anger because Hillary Clinton had dismissed her claims, became the same woman who would dismiss Trump’s accusers. It is questionable how they have not chosen to speak out against either Donald Trump or Roy Moore, with 25 alleged victims between them, but felt compelled to storm Franken’s office on Wednesday.
Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported. https://t.co/mkD69RHeBL
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 23, 2015
The women filmed their demonstration and explained their purpose while inside Capitol Hill. Broaddrick spoke to the camera as they walked inside.
‘We are at Al Franken’s office, and we’re hoping that we get to see him. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere, but at least we can say we were here.’
Police officers intervened asked the women to leave.
The three women spoke at a press conference earlier in the day to repeat their claims regarding Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual assaults before discussing the purpose of their presence on Capitol Hill.
Leslie Milwee told the audience:
‘I’m here to demand the resignation of Al Franken and John Conyers. They are not sorry. Their apologies are weak. The only reason they apologized is because they were caught.’
Milwee stated during the press conference that she “couldn’t bear the thought” of the Clintons in the White House after Bill’s abuse and Hillary’s complicity. It’s impossible to reconcile that with her support of Donald Trump and all three women’s silence when the accuser is a Republican instead of a Democrat.
While the voices of survivors who report should always be respected as they come forward facing backlash, threats, and public scrutiny, the focus cannot continue to be political. Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual assault are prevalent everywhere, not just in Washington or in Hollywood. Perpetrators need to be held accountable and victims need to be heard without being revictimized.
However, if calling out sexual assault and forcing the public to acknowledge the scope of the problem is the goal in this powerful moment, we must stop using the claims in a partisan battle for the votes of women.
Featured image via Getty/Tatos Kapodokis