US politician Paula Hawks opens up about being raped to draw attention to Donald Trump's comments about women

'Never in a million years did I think I would feel comfortable talking about this publicly, but then, I didn’t think we’d ever have a presidential candidate bragging about sexual assault.'

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The Independent US

A US politician has revealed she was raped in college to condemn Donald Trump’s "predatory" comments about women. 

South Dakota's Democrat House of Representatives nominee Paula Hawks told how she was raped by “a person in a position of authority” in 1995, in an essay published on the website Medium

Ms Hawks said she didn't report the assault to police as she didn't want to have to repeatedly relive the experience, and at the time didn't want her friends and family to know. 

“I was raped in college. Sexually assaulted by a person in a position of authority, when I listened to the audio from Trump bragging about what he could do to women because of wealth and fame, it hit me extremely hard,” Ms Hawks wrote. 

“Never in a million years did I think I would feel comfortable talking about this publicly. But then, I didn’t think we’d ever have a presidential candidate bragging about sexual assault. Nor did I expect to witness the number of people ready and willing to excuse his behavior.”

She continued saying she believed there were certain lines in society that should not be crossed, including supporting a “sexual predator”.

“A man who brags about sexual assault is a man incapable of leadership. Those enabling him have already proven they cannot hold him responsible for the most reprehensible of acts. If we condone this behavior in our most important elected office, we enable it in our workplaces and at our colleges,” she wrote. 

“Sexual assault is real. Rape is real. We need to pay attention to these stories. When we talk about the dysfunction in our country, I think we need to start by setting some basic standards for ourselves, for our political parties, for the people we support. We are role models and we should strive to be good ones. The example we set does matter. It should matter.”

Ms Hawks' Republican House rival, Kristi Noem has publicly declared her support for Mr Trump, despite his comments in a 2005 tape that heard him discussing kissing and grabbing women by their "p*ssy". 

On Tuesday, Ms Noem said she was “heartbroken” by what happened to Ms Hawks but maintained her backing of the Republican's campaign for president, claiming the actions of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton disqualified her for the presidency. 

In October, The Washington Post published audio of a 2005 conversation in which the real estate mogul said he could do anything he wanted to women because he was famous. 

Mr Trump, who was wearing a “hot mic”, insisted the claims were just “locker room talk” however, more than 10 women have since shared their experiences of being kissed, groped or assaulted by the Republican. 

Mr Trump has strongly denied all of the claims, saying he did not know most of the women in question and accused them of wanting publicity. 

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