NEW YORK: Three women who claim they were sexually harassed by Donald Trump called on Congress Monday to investigate the US president’s behaviour and allegations of his misconduct.

The White House has repeatedly rejected the allegations by the women, who first came forward with claims of harassment during last year’s presidential race.

In recent months countless women have broken their silence about the abuse they have allegedly suffered at the hands of powerful men in the worlds of entertainment, the media, business and politics.

With a cultural shift empowering women to overcome their fear and speak out, and with three US lawmakers announcing their resignations from Congress last week over sexual harassment allegations, some of Trump’s accusers are publicly repeating their stories and demanding accountability.

“We are private citizens, and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is, and especially how he views women, and for them to say, ‘Nah, we don’t care’ — it hurt,” Samantha Holvey, a former Miss USA contestant, told NBC. But today “the environment’s different,” she said. “Let’s try again.”

Sixteen women overall reportedly have come forward with accusations of misconduct by Trump.

Three of them appeared on NBC, then held a press event in New York to demand action from Congress and recount details of Trump’s alleged abuse against them more than a year after they first came forward.

Rachel Crooks, who says the real estate magnate forcibly kissed her on the mouth after she introduced herself to him at Trump Tower where she worked in 2005, urged lawmakers to “put aside their party affiliations and investigate Mr. Trump’s history of sexual misconduct”.

“I want to believe that as Americans we can put aside our political inclinations and admit that some things in fact do transcend politics,” she told the event, where she and Holvey appeared alongside fellow accuser Jessica Leeds.

Leeds said the accusations surfacing in the wake of the allegations against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein were evidence that some sexual predators were now being held accountable.

“But we are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is,” she said.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2017

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