Jeffrey Epstein and his co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell picked up young adults and underage women to abuse them and share with friends.
Women who name and shame their abusers, no matter how long it takes them, are strong and are showing the way forward. It's not easy to tell the world how they were made to feel less about themselves by someone, but it's important to do so. Notorious multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender and American financier, abused multiple women and girls over the course of his life, and some of the survivors are publicly accusing him of it.
These brave women believe that the shame of what happened to them lies with him. "This is not our shame. They did something wrong," said Virginia Giuffre referring to Epstein and his aide, Ghislaine Maxwell, as per Glamour. "And I think that’s the idea that needs to be changed right there. We have been told for so long, 'Don’t talk about it. This is shameful.' We don’t want to go to dinner parties with our friends and talk about sexual abuse or sexual trafficking, or anything like that. But it’s not our shame. This happened to us," she added.
Giuffre, who lives in Australia with her husband and three children now, was recruited by Maxwell. Giuffre was only 16 and was an attendant at the spa at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's resort. Maxwell, the daughter of the British media titan Robert Maxwell, reportedly told her that she wants to hire her as a masseuse. She was promised travel and education and the then-16-year-old Giuffre accepted. Soon, Epstein started demanding sexual services for himself and some of his friends.
In the deposition, Giuffre said, "My whole life revolved around just pleasing these men and keeping Ghislaine [Maxwell] and Jeffrey [Epstein] happy. Their whole entire lives revolved around sex."
She is not the only survivor. Michelle Licata was 16 when she was entrapped in the sex-pyramid scheme, where other women recruited underage girls to be part of Epstein's syndicate, reports Good Morning America. Teresa Helm, a mother of two and a trained massage therapist, met Epstein at 22. She went to his mansion on the Upper East Side in New York believing that it will be a job interview. However, he asked her for a foot rub, to which she agreed, but was shocked when she started touching her. The financier reportedly overpowered her when she tried to leave. Later, she fled the house and never spoke of this again until he was arrested.
Epstein was first charged in 2008 when he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of solicitation of prostitution involving a minor. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, of which he served only 13, and was granted work release. He could commute to an office outside the jail six days a week and he was registered as a sex offender, according to Town&Country.
In 2019, he was charged with a single count of sex trafficking of a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He pleaded not guilty to both but was denied bail and stayed in jail until his death there. He reportedly committed suicide on August 10, 2019. After his death, his girlfriend Maxwell was arrested.
The FBI is still investigating the case and is reportedly going to share details with the survivors. The victims’ lawyer Jack Scarola was quoted as saying by Mirror, "I am aware the Attorney’s Office is meeting Epstein survivors to announce results. The process has been painfully slow but clearly is progressing, so my attitude is one of cautious optimism."
In June, the FBI said that they have been able to unearth more information on those who enabled him. The investigating agency has built cases against "at least six" people who were close to the pedophile.
One alleged victim said recently, "I have waited 18 years since Epstein first abused me. For so long, all of us have been robbed of justice. Hopefully, now those who helped him are finally brought to answer."