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Amita Swadhin speaks at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on nomination of Sen Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for attorney general at the U.S. Senate January 11, 2017. (TASOS KATOPODIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Confirmation hearing

Child rape survivor delivers stinging testimony against Jeff Sessions

By WITW Staff on January 11, 2017

At day two of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the topic of sexual assault once again figured prominently. A day after the Alabama Republican was grilled on the issue of reproductive rights by Senator Dianne Feinstein and asked point-blank by Senator Patrick Leahy, “Is grabbing a woman by her genitals without consent … is that sexual assault?,” President-elect Trump’s attorney general nominee withstood the withering testimony of a child rape survivor who argued that Sessions was not fit to be the nation’s top law enforcer based on his remarks about the infamous Trump Access Hollywood tape.

Amita Swadhin began her remarks on Wednesday by telling the committee, “My father raped me at least once a week from age 4 to age 12. I endured psychological, physical, and verbal abuse from him for years.” She continued, saying, “I also grew up watching my father abuse my mother in a textbook case of domestic violence and marital rape.”

Swadhin, who was raised in New Jersey by immigrant parents from India, said Sessions’ response to a question late last year about whether the behavior of grabbing women by the genitals, which Trump was heard describing in the leaked Access Hollywood tape, was troubling and disqualifying. “I am here today on behalf of rape and sexual assault survivors to urge you not to confirm Senator Sessions as attorney general,” she said.

Swadhin, who now resides in California and is an advocate for sexual assault survivors and the founder of Mirror Memoirs, also brought up Sessions’ record of voting against the Violence Against Women Act — another point he was pressed on a day earlier. “Given his voting record on VAWA and on LGBT rights,” Swadhin said, “we have no reason to put our faith or our trust in Senator Sessions as attorney general.” Watch her complete testimony below.

Read the full story at New York magazine’s The Cut blog.


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