On behalf of rape and sexual assault survivors, activist Amita Swadhin from Los Angeles, California, testified earlier this month against the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, New York Magazine’s The Cut reported.
“I am here today on behalf of rape and sexual assault survivors to urge you not to confirm Sen. Sessions as attorney general,” Swadhin said.
During powerful testimony, Swadhin discussed the trauma she experienced as a survivor of child sexual abuse:
“My father raped me at least once a week from age four to age 12. I endured psychological, verbal and physical abuse from him for years. I also grew up watching my father abuse my mother.”
Swadhin, a daughter of immigrants from India who was raised in New Jersey, explained that she continues to suffer every day from complex post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the assault.
During the testimony, Swadhin discussed the leaked tapes that were released during the election, exposing President Trump for his lewd comments about women:
“I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy.”
Shortly after the tapes were released, Sen. Sessions was asked about whether the comments made by Trump constituted as sexual assault. “I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch. I don’t know what he meant—” Sessions told the Weekly Standard in October of 2016.
More recently, however, Sessions changed his stance when asked whether “grabbing a woman by her genitals would be considered sexual assault,” according to the Huffington Post, and stated “Clearly it would be.”
In the wake of these events, millions of sexual assault survivors were triggered and re-traumatized, Swadhin explained.
.@PPFA joined 300+ civil rights groups to oppose Jeff Sessions’ nom for attorney general. https://t.co/kkvZBW86Rc #StopSessions pic.twitter.com/ks9C35Y5PI — Planned Parenthood (@PPact) January 11, 2017
Sessions voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, and voted to defund Planned Parenthood. His nomination has been denounced by many, including Planned Parenthood, several civil rights organizations, Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. John Lewis. The confirmation hearing for Sen. Sessions resumes on Tuesday, January 31, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee‘s calendar.
Swadhin is the founder of Mirror Memoirs, an oral history project that aims to empower sexual assault survivors of color and end child sexual abuse. This year, Swadhin aims to focus on trauma healing in the community and collecting at least 50 audio recordings from LGBT child sexual abuse survivors of color and create an online audio archive, according to the Mirror Memoirs website.
Following her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month, Swadhin reflected on her testimony on Facebook. Swadhin continues to advocate on behalf of sexual assault survivors. “That’s a tragedy. It’s a public health crisis,” she states in a recent video for Fusion network, referring to 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse, and the millions of adult survivors of rape and sexual assault.
Monica Luhar is a digital producer and freelance journalist in Los Angeles. Connect with her via Twitter: @monicaluhar. The original version of this post appeared on https://morningmoni.wordpress.com/.