Fort Lauderdale Attorney Adam Horowitz knows how hard it is for victims of sexual assault – be it rape or unwanted kissing and groping – to come forward.
So the lawyer who has represented other alleged victims in civil actions in Florida says he is not surprised that women claiming they were sexually assaulted by Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump kept their stories to a close circle of friends for years, even decades.
He does not represent as of yet any of the woman who has accused Trump of groping or other sexual misconduct.
Trump’s accusers said it was the last straw when they saw him during Sunday’s debate deny he ever forced himself on any women despite audio tape of him bragging about it. Trump was forced to answer the question by the moderator, CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“Nothing gets a victim more irate as the perpetrator denying it and making excuses for his behavior,” said Horowitz, who has no connection with the Trump accusers. “He was not taking ownership of his action and they also knew they weren’t alone.”
The Palm Beach Post in an exclusive reported that Mindy McGillivray said Trump groped her 13 years ago while she was at his Palm Beach club Mar-a-Lago.
People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff also came forward to say she was attacked by Trump at Mar-a-Lago during an interview.
The New York Times has a separate story about of two other women who say Trump made unwanted sexual advances to them in the early 2000s.
Trump’s campaign has said the women are lying and are part of coordinated effort on the media’s part to smear the candidate and tilt the election in the favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton. He has dismissed what was caught on audio tape as “locker room talk.”
“It may be an October surprise to Donald Trump, but these women have told other people before,” Horowitz said.
Trump’s campaign rounded up women who have made accusations against Clinton’s husband – former President Bill Clinton – of sexual assault, saying their voices should be heard. They say Hillary Clinton worked to discredit their stories.
Horowitz represents 20 women accusing doctors of sexual misconduct. The Palm Beach Post in July investigated doctors accused of sexually abusing their patients and how they were allowed by the state to keep practicing for years.
The lawyer said that many women have been victims of this kind of unwanted advance and that this election has laid bare this an ugly culture.
“Just this week on Twitter thousands of women are reporting their first instance of sexual assault. It is empowering to them to tell their stories,” Horowitz said. “There is strength in numbers.”
Yet, when the assault actually happens, the victim feels completely isolated and powerless.
“Sexual abuse is still a stigma and nobody wants that label attached to them,” Horowitz said. “At the same time, most of these women don’t think they will be believed.”
Context is also important because the person doing the groping is a person of power – an employer, a doctor, a person of standing in the community – then women must consider if coming forward will “interfere with their professional development or advancement in the workplace,” he said.
“You kind of just want to leave it alone – that is how some women feel,” Horowitz said.
He said the Trump accusers have little to gain by coming forward.
It is too late to press criminal charges against Trump and any civil monetary redress would be difficult because these incidences happened so long ago.
“They certainly are not in it for the money,” he said. “It is not a surprise that the women who have come forward are being attacked and being challenged.
“It is amazing that this is what our election is coming down to,” Horowitz said. “At the same time if it empowers women to tell their stories and if this exposes this culture than it is a positive thing.”