From the world of entertainment to media and tech, the ongoing national discussion on sexual harassment has exposed wrongdoings in all kinds of industries. The arena of politics, however, seems to be getting even more attention, given the running list of accusations against current president Donald Trump. Touching upon on the national reckoning with sexual abuse, former Miss North Carolina penned a powerful essay on Trump for NBC News on Tuesday.
While calling upon the Congress to investigate the accusations, Samantha Holvey explained why she had no other voice but to highlight the allegations against Trump. Her message seems simple: Something must change.
Although Trump has responded by broadly rejecting all allegations against him, he has not specifically rejected Holvey's accusations. In October 2016, Holvey came forward to CNN to share her story about when she was a contestant in the Miss USA pageant. Holvey claimed that Trump ogled at her, made her feel like "a piece of meat," and left her feeling "the dirtiest" she had ever felt in her life. The former pageant participant said"
[Trump] would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people. You know when a gross guy at the bar is checking you out? It’s that feeling.
Holvey detailed her experience once again in her essay. She spoke about the social movement wherein thousands of women stepped forward with their harrowing sexual harassment and assault stories. She said that she was glad that the movement led to the resignations and condemnations of powerful men who had allegedly hurt vulnerable women. But she admitted that she was conflicted, too.
On the one hand, it was great that so many high-profile men in various industries were being taken to task for their gross and often illegal behavior. And yet, why was everyone else being held accountable except for our president? What message was that sending? You can’t work in Hollywood if you’re a sexual predator, but you can become the commander-in-chief.
Considering the swift and often vicious backlash victims of sexual harassment and assault face, Holvey could have remained silent. No one enjoys being hounded for speaking up. But she explained in her essay that her silence would have been translated into acceptance or normalizing sexual violence.
Holvey wrote, "I made my decision [to speak up] based on the fact that staying quiet would have meant tacitly normalizing and excusing Trump’s behavior. It was also important to me that I show the other women who have spoken out that I believed in them and supported them."
Ultimately, Holvey said that she hoped her words will move members of the Congress to investigate the sexual assault and harassment allegations made against Trump. And she's not the only one to have called for a legal probe. Holvey is joined by two other Trump accusers, Rachel Crooks and Jessica Leeds, who held a public conference in December and called for a congressional query. Speaking of Democratic Sen. Al Franken who apologized for sexually inappropriate behavior and announced his resignation in December, Crooks said, "If they were willing to investigate Sen. Franken, it’s only fair that they do the same for Trump."
What if the Congress don't investigate the accusations against Trump? After all, House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the allegations as "this other stuff" on NBC News Today. If that attitude persists, people will think Trump's alleged behavior was acceptable, according to Holvey. "If our Senators and Representatives choose to stay quiet, if they choose not to investigate Trump’s history of sexual misconduct, then they will be the ones saying that his behavior is ultimately OK. And trust me, it is not," she said.