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The Brave Survivors of the Jeffrey Epstein Case

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

TW: sexual assault

I have always been intrigued by documentaries and cases but no other case has caught my attention as the Jeffrey Epstein case has. This case shows how women are silenced by their attackers and is a reminder that the American justice system has long been willing to ignore the words of girls and women, especially when they accuse a wealthy and influential man. 

Who is Jeffrey Epstein?

Jeffrey Epstein was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He spent time teaching at a private school in the mid-1970s, then began working at the investment bank Bear Stearns in the early 1980s, and in 1982 he founded his own firm, J. Epstein and Co. 

Epstein began to accumulate wealth, and he owned the largest private residence in Manhattan, he donated money to Harvard, and he owned the island of Little St. James which was located in the US Virgin Islands. 

Epstein was a wealthy man and accumulated a great amount of wealth and publicity. The wealth and connections he created distracted people from the malicious actions committed by him and his colleagues.

Who Are The Women That Spoke Up Against Him?

In 2020, Netflix released a documentary titled, “Jeffrey Epstein: The Filthy Rich” which interviewed the survivors of Epstein’s malicious actions. In the documentary, the survivors recount how Epstein abused and silenced them. 

The first survivor we meet is Maria Farmer. Maria Farmer and her sister Annie Farmer, who was underage at the time, were both victims of Epstein’s repulsive doings that have now traumatized them for their life. 

Another victim who shares her story is Michelle Licata. Licata was 16 years old when she first met Epstein. Licata shares in the documentary, the scheme Epstein followed was having the young girls recruit other young girls in school. Licata states that a girl in her class asked “ Do you want to make extra money massaging old guys?”. 

Another brave survivor who shares her story is Shawna Rivera. Rivera was 14 years old when she met Epstein. In her story, Rivera details that her girlfriend was the one who brought her to Epstein’s house in Palm Beach, Florida. 

Rivera’s girlfriend explained to her that they would be giving Epstein a massage but they had to remove all their clothes. Rivera’s girlfriend then left Rivera alone with Epstein while she was completely nude. 

In the documentary, the following survivors also share their encounters with Jeffrey Epstein: Haley Robson, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, Courtney Wild, Sarah Ransome, and Chauntae Davies.

These young girls were manipulated by Epstein in a recruitment scheme that has now affected hundreds of girls. These women in this documentary are survivors who were strong and brave enough to speak out against such a powerful man. Their bravery should not go unrecognized. 

Who was working and associated with Jeffrey Epstein?

Epstein’s main partner was his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. Many of the survivors explained how Maxwell was the one who introduced them to Epstein. A survivor details how Maxwell would tell them that Epstein wanted a massage and take them to a room where Epstein stood in a robe or fully unclothed and he would then initiate sexual intercourse with the young girls. 

Maxwell was Epstein’s, right-hand man. She would recruit girls, manipulate them, and take them to Epstein herself. 

Many others were associated both with Epstein and Maxwell. The most famous ones the documentary mentions are Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew. There are photographs of these men hugging or next to the young girls. 

We know that Trump has been accused of many cases of sexual assault but continues to deny the statements. To this day wealthy men like Trump, Clinton, Epstein, Prince Andrew, and countless of other men who were involved in the sex trafficking of minors will possibly never receive the punishment they deserve. 

What Has Happened to Epstein and Maxwell Now? 

On July 15, 2019, a Manhattan judge is expected to decide whether Epstein should be released on bail ahead of his federal trial. This was Epstein’s bail hearing and during this hearing, the judge allowed the survivors who attended the opportunity to address Epstein. 

The judge of this hearing, Richard Berman, ruled that Jeffrey Epstein would receive no bail. Judge Berman’s decision to not grant Epstein his freedom can slowly restore the freedom of the survivors. 

On August 10, 2019, Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his holding cell. He had taken his own life. In a way, he escaped the consequences of his actions. 

As for Maxwell, she was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring with Epstein to abuse minors sexually. Epstein never properly served for the horrendous actions he had committed but at least his main assistant can serve the time she deserves. Hopefully, the survivors can see that their voices were heard.

A Note To Survivors of Sexual Assault

This is an extremely devasting case where many young girls were sexually assaulted and left traumatized for the rest of their lives. Many sexual assault survivors have left a completely different person after their assault. One thing that these survivors all had was courage. These brave women spoke about the assault they faced as young girls. 

It is important to remind every survivor of sexual assault that regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, age, etc their voice and story are heard. 

What are some of your thoughts about this case? Let us know @HerCampusSJSU!

Hello, my name is Ariana and I am a sophomore at San Jose State University. I am a business major and in my free time, I love weightlifting at the gym. Let's be friends! Instagram: axoliva