Porn star Stormy Daniels is currently suing US President Donald Trump over a non-disclosure agreement relating to an alleged affair between the pair in 2006. She revealed in a CBS interview that she had been offered $130,000 ‘hush’ money, and had also been threatened by someone in a parking lot to keep quiet. She has come forward to tell her story in the interest of ‘setting the record straight’, even though it could potentially cost her $1million every time she breaks her non-disclosure agreement. Whilst Trump still officially denies it, mounting evidence is stacking against him and it is clear Daniels is not willing to go away quietly.
In the revealing interview, she denounces those who have named her as part of the #MeToo movement, claiming that others are trying to use her for their own agendas. Although I have sympathy with her position and agree that she should speak out about this incident, I think the way in which she has done it is questionable and undermines other women who have had the bravery to speak out about their own experiences.
Daniels admits that the main reasons for her reveal are transparency, recognition and the prospect of more job offers and money. However, she has the opportunity to use the platform she is gaining to speak out against how she was treated, and support other women who have been similarly treated, by Trump, Weinstein or the countless others.
Although she admits that she did not want to have sex with Trump, and that she was not attracted to him, considering at the time she was 27 and he 60, she also denies that the sex was not consensual. However, she also claims she saw the sex as part of ‘a business deal’, as Trump offered her a provisional spot on The Apprentice, seemingly in return for intercourse.
She seems to blame herself for getting into that situation, saying she ‘had it coming’ and she ‘deserved it’, merely for going into a hotel room with him. This takes away from the horrible experiences many other women have had to deal with by claiming that to go into a room with a more powerful man is to deserve unwarranted sexual advances. To feel coerced into having sex with someone because they are in a more powerful position than you, and because they have put you in a situation in which you felt that was your only option is not acceptable. Furthermore, it perfectly exemplifies what the #MeToo movement came to represent, that men like Trump can get away with coercing women into sex and face no consequences.
Although I in no way think that it is solely up to women to prevent the proliferation of sexual harassment and abuse, I do believe that when you are willing to share your experience it should be in solidarity with other women who have faced similar ordeals. Daniels has an opportunity here to denounce Trump’s behaviour and stand with others to raise awareness of how common yet unacceptable these situations are.