It’s a story that many have attempted to pass over or discredit throughout the years since its initial proclamation — that of Bill Clinton sexually assaulting Juanita Broaddrick in the privacy of his Arkansas hotel room.
Yet, it is a moment she continues to speak out about, and claims to never forget.
Now, nearly four decades later, it seems the world, and mainstream media have begun to take notice.
During a segment on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes suggested that, if Democrats were going to condemn Republicans for mistreatment of women, they may want to take a look at the skeletons in their own closet, starting with Clinton.
As gross and cynical and hypocrtical as the right’s “what about Bill Clinton” stuff is, it’s also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 10, 2017
That statement is just one from a handful of journalists and reporters, all of whom are calling on Democrats to make their “own reckoning” of the accusations against Clinton, according to The Daily Caller.
Some editors, such as Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic, accused Bill Clinton’s defenders as being “on the wrong side of history,” in a piece titled “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning.”
This new-found stance within the media seems to come in the aftermath of assault accusations against several powerful, influential men, prompting survivors of mistreatment to come forward and even create a #MeToo campaign, where men and women are encouraged to share their experiences.
And it is one experience — from the alleged assault, to the intimidation she’d received afterward — that Broaddrick isn’t backing away from speaking out about.
Broaddrick, now 78, says the incident involving Bill Clinton happened when she was 35 and volunteering on his campaign for governor.
Initially, the pair had planned to meet at a coffee shop in the hotel Clinton was staying at. However, at the last minute, Broaddrick claims Clinton changed their plans and asked her to come up to his hotel room, according to The New York Times.
It was at that point, when she went up to his room, that Broaddrick alleges Clinton raped her.
“Five witnesses said she confided in them about the assault right after it happened,” Goldberg states in The Times, though records indicate Broaddrick denied the rape in an affidavit to Paula Jones — another woman who accused Clinton of sexual assault. However, she afterwards admitted the rape to the FBI.
“Her explanation, that she didn’t want to go public but couldn’t lie to the F.B.I., makes sense,” Goldberg admits. “Put simply, I believe her.”
And that’s a belief that has recently caught Broaddrick by surprise, as she responded by taking to Twitter, where many are sharing her story and their support of her.
New York Times opinion “I Believe Juanita”. Hell has definitely frozen over. https://t.co/HdY4FFpHKi
— Juanita Broaddrick (@atensnut) November 14, 2017
The backing of the media seems to be bittersweet for Broaddrick, whose support in the past has always wavered. By 1999, she had given an interview to NBC News, but the channel failed to air her story “until Clinton’s impeachment process ended with an acquittal,” according to Fox News.
Broaddrick also recalled moments that made it difficult to share her experience, stating that Hillary Clinton “intimidated her in an effort to keep her silent.”
In 2016, investigative reporter Michael Isikoff called on NBC to release the full airing of the 1999 interview in response to Broaddrick’s claim that the show edited out “a portion of her interview in which she discussed Hillary Clinton’s role silencing her and other victims.”
It was also in 2016 that NBC News “scrapped an interview” with the Clinton accuser due to the claim that she didn’t “have ‘anything new’ to say about the alleged rape,” with anchor Andrea Mitchell later deeming Broaddrick’s account as a “discredited and long-denied accusation.”
However, these claims against Broaddrick seem to be disintegrating before the public eye, as more journalists and media outlets further consider her claims against the Clinton’s, and call on them to make amends for such actions.
Though a small step, it may be the start to a much-needed journey of the mainstream media sticking to truth, rather than who their favorite politician is.
After all, the recollection of their alleged experiences is a supposed truth Broaddrick and other survivors of assault have to live with for the rest of their lives.
“I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me,” Broaddrick wrote to her followers on Twitter. “I am now 73.”
“It never goes away,” she said.