Like far too many women in this country, all three of us have experienced the crime of sexual assault and the violation of sexual harassment by men in powerful positions. Each of us has battled with the shame, humiliation, and fear of coming forward to report the assault. Each of us has worried about how this sexual harassment and assault will affect our careers. Two of us, however, suffered this kind of experience at the hands of a United States president.
That president has never apologized for his vicious behavior. That president and his wife orchestrated frightening, retaliatory intimidation tactics against us for daring to tell the truth about the assaults against us. That president and his wife are held in high esteem by world leaders and much of the American public. And that president’s wife now seeks to become president herself. Because of this, Bill and Hillary Clinton continue to teach important lessons to victims and perpetrators of violence against women in this country.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are teaching rape and sexual harassment victims that if your assailant is popular and politically powerful, you will be punished more for daring to report the assault than for keeping silent. They are teaching perpetrators of violence against women that as long as you are pro-abortion enough to have the political support of the National Organization for Women, any crimes you commit against women in your “personal life” will be overlooked.
When we announced that we are touring the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, this Wednesday, we were asked by friends, family, the press, and the public: Why do you keep dragging this issue up? Why can’t you just let it go? The Clinton Library is a multi-million dollar monument to the legacy of our forty-second president, but part of that legacy is being erased. Part of the true Clinton legacy is the cruel abuse that he and his inner circle committed against us. If we let it go, what does that say to the thousands of women victimized by sexual harassment and assault? Unless we have the courage to ask the American people to hold the Clintons accountable for their abuses against us, we are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The problem of abuse against women is far too serious for us to sit quietly by while Bill and Hillary Clinton whitewash their reputations and escape all consequences for their actions.
Harassment and assault must be denounced no matter the status of victim or perpetrator. But harassment and assault committed by our leaders must be censored even more vigorously because these luminaries set the standards for acceptable behavior in our society. Bill Clinton’s sexual assaults against us, and Hillary Clinton’s active participation in persuading America that those assaults don’t matter, represent a breach of the trust we should place in our leaders. This is not a political vendetta on our part. The two of us assaulted by Bill Clinton were political supporters of the Clintons until Bill Clinton attacked us. This is about the truth, and the sad truth is that the Clintons have exhibited such callous treatment of women that they do not deserve our respect or our votes. Whether or not you agree with the Clintons’ political positions, there are certainly politicians out there who hold similar positions but who actually treat women with dignity and respect. It’s time for us to take abuse against women seriously, and that requires that we demand proper treatment of women from those in positions of power.
Our stories are on record, in painful detail. The Clintons have never even bothered to present any reasons why you should believe their denials and evasions regarding our accusations. They prefer to hope that we will let it go, and that all of us will move on and forget about their despicable behavior. We will not let it go. For the sake of women everywhere whose lives are torn apart after being assaulted by powerful men, we will continue to press the Clintons to face up to the damage they have caused.
Candice E. Jackson also co-authored this report.
Juanita Broaddrick is an Arkansas businesswoman and former “Clinton for Governor” supporter who was allegedly raped by Bill Clinton in 1978. Kathleen Willey is a Virginia businesswoman and former White House volunteer who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Clinton in 1993. Candice E. Jackson is an attorney, rape survivor, and author of Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine.