South Dakota Democrat reveals rape in condemning Trump
Posted 7:45 p.m. Tuesday
Updated 7:47 p.m. Tuesday
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota's Democratic U.S. House candidate on Tuesday shared the story of her sexual assault in condemning Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for making predatory comments about women in 2005.
Paula Hawks wrote in an essay published on the website Medium that condoning such behavior enables it at colleges and in the workplace.
Hawks wrote she was raped by "a person in a position of authority" while in college. In a telephone interview, Hawks said it happened in 1995 while she was at South Dakota State University. She said she didn't report the assault to police.
Hawks in part didn't want to have to repeatedly relive the experience and at the time didn't want her friends and family to know, she said.
"Never in a million years did I think I would feel comfortable talking about this publicly," Hawks wrote. "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."
Hawks is challenging three-term Republican Rep. Kristi Noem, who has said that she plans to vote for the GOP nominee because he will sign conservative legislation into law.
Without naming her opponent, Hawks wrote in the essay that supporting a sexual predator in hopes he would sign your bill is a line society shouldn't cross.
Noem has said that Trump's comments in the 2005 tape that captured him talking about kissing and grabbing women are horrific. She said in a statement Tuesday that she was "heartbroken" by what happened to Hawks, but stood by her support of Trump.
The consequences of the election will last a generation, said Noem, who has a significant fundraising advantage in the House race.