Indian-American sexual assault survivor and activist Amita Swadhin has appealed to US lawmakers to reject President-elect Donald Trump’s pick Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, saying having an “anti-women” man in the key post was “incredibly worrisome”. Testifying before the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, Los Angeles-based Amita Swadhin, who has recounted how she was raped by her father as a child, was called by Democrats on the second day of hearings on Sessions’ nomination. The founder of Mirror Memoirs, an organisation that works to combat child sexual abuse, she said that Sessions is not fit for the job and alleged that he is anti-women.
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“I am here on behalf of survivors of rape and sexual assault to urge you not to confirm Senator Sessions as Attorney General,” Swadhin said. In the wake of Trump’s comments about groping women becoming public, she said Sessions was quoted stating he does not characterise that behaviour as sexual assault.
“Let me be clear – Senator Sessions stated he does not characterise non-consensual genital grabbing as sexual assault. So to hear Senator Sessions initially say President-elect Trump’s comments do not constitute sexual assault, and then to consider him leading the Department of Justice has been incredibly worrisome.
“Furthermore, in reference to President-elect Trump’s comments, Senator Sessions told Fox News ‘This thing is overblown. Everybody knows that Trump likes women’. While he criticised President-elect Trump’s inappropriate language, at no point did Senator Sessions condemn the behaviour Trump had admitted to engaging in,” Swadhin said.
“I was one of those survivors. I am a victim of violent crime, in the form of eight years of rape and over a decade of psychological, verbal and physical abuse by my father, beginning when I was four years old,” said Swadhin who was born in Ohio to Indian immigrants and raised in New Jersey.
“In addition to direct violence from my father, I grew up watching him abuse my mother in a textbook case of domestic violence and marital rape, until she finally found the courage and support to leave him when I was 15 years old,” she said.
“As a publicly out survivor of child sexual abuse, many people, mainly in my father’s family and community of friends and colleagues, have dismissed my story as a private family matter or have diminished the impact of this violence on my present-day life,” she said.
“I live with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and struggle every day to be well. It directly and negatively impacts me when people disbelieve or attempt to discredit me or other survivors.
“So, to watch our President-elect admit to forcibly kissing women and grabbing them by the genitals, and to hear Senator Sessions say this behaviour does not constitute sexual assault, and then to consider him leading the Department of Justice has been incredibly triggering,” she said.