E. Jean Carroll’s quest for justice and the carnage of Donald Trump’s misogyny

By | May 3, 2023

Molly Jong-Fast writes:

Last week, my friend, 79-year-old writer E. Jean Carroll, began testifying in her civil case against the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump. She was able to bring these accusations of rape to court because of a new New York state law, the Adult Survivors Act, which gave Carroll a yearlong window to sue despite her case being out of the statute of limitations. Governor Kathy Hochul signed the law in 2022; it’s hard to imagine that Trump’s political ascension and the #MeToo revelations that followed weren’t in some way responsible for this legal sea change. So perhaps it’s fitting that this same law is now being used to attempt to hold Trump accountable.

The trial, which continues this week, is of course about Carroll, but it also speaks to the state of the feminist movement in America. Trump is no longer in the White House—for now—and for the first time we can look at the carnage of having a president who so openly embraced misogyny. Misogyny, like racism, thrives when it has a cheerleader, when it has someone who gives his supporters permission to engage in it. With racism, we can measure an increase in race-related harassment and violence. For example, hate crimes rose the day after Trump was elected. Counties that held Trump rallies in 2016 saw a 226% increase in hate crimes, according to The Washington Post. But it’s profoundly hard to measure what an increase in misogyny looks like. We certainly saw profound backlash toward Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers. (Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.) Blasey Ford had to effectively go into hiding after coming forward. But it’s important to recognize that unfettered sexism often results in silence—in women opting out of speaking up. [Continue reading…]