They underline the dangerous potential of the Trump administration.
Amita Swadhin testified against Jeff Sessions in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, asking them to not confirm him as America’s next Attorney General.
Sessions was dismissive when evidence about President-elect Donald Trump’s history of sexual violence was discovered in October.
“In the wake of these comments becoming public, Senator Sessions was quoted stating he doesn’t categorize that behavior as sexual assault,” Swadhin, who uses they/them pronouns, said. “Millions of sexual assault survivors were triggered in the wake of these events. I was one of these survivors.”
Swadhin, the founder of Mirror Memoirs, an organization that works to combat child sexual abuse, gave their testimony yesterday “on behalf of rape and sexual assault survivors.”
Swadhin comes from a South Asian immigrant household and was a victim of long-term abuse. Their father was sexually, physically, and emotionally abusive toward them and their mother, who was pressured to remain with him due to the stigma of divorce in their community.
“When issues of family violence come up in immigrant families, it can be difficult for victims to leave abusive situations because the community is so tight-knit,” they said to NBC News.
Swadhin stresses on the importance of having public authorities that are thoroughly informed about the true impact of sexual assault and have the knowledge to combat it effectively. Authorities need to know how to effectively aid survivors and potential victims of sexual assault when the people closest to them are the ones being violent.
“We have to trust the state — strangers in the form of police, social workers, judges and prosecutors — more than we fear our perpetrators, people who violated our trust,” they said.
For Swadhin, having a man in office who is dismissive to the true impact of sexual abuse and assault only continues the violence. In their life, they have already been met with nonchalance regarding the trauma of their childhood. “As a publicly out survivor of a sexual abuse, many people have downplayed the impact of this violence on my present-day life,” they said in their testimony.
Sessions isn’t someone who can be trusted to fully grasp the gravity of sexual assault and abuse. Under the Trump administration, individuals who already face trauma will be further disregarded. For Swadhin, a “queer, genderqueer, femme, Desi” Jeff Sessions becoming the next Attorney General further endangers folks like them.
Watch the powerful testimony below: