People

Jeffrey Epstein: Powerful stories from the women who confronted the sexual predator

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published
Teala Davies

The death of the disgraced financier means that the criminal trial against him has also ended. But more than a dozen women have appeared in a New York court to share their stories regardless. “I have found my voice now,” one said, “and while Jeffrey may no longer be here to hear it, I will not stop fighting, and I will not be silenced anymore.” 

The death of Jeffrey Epstein by suicide on 10 August meant that the criminal case against him, alleging years of sexual abuse against as victims as young as 14, died with him.

“There won’t be a public trial or other proceedings that could reveal evidence of his wrongdoing,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said per New York Magazine. “Evidence collected via grand jury subpoena won’t be released to the public.”

Even though the justice department remains committed to achieving justice for Epstein’s victims, the reality is that his death will make it that much harder for a case to be brought to trial. Which means that all of the victims who came forward against Epstein may never get their chance for justice. 

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Which is why a number of them gathered in a New York court on 27 August to tell their stories, even if they would never be used against the man who allegedly abused them. 

Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein

Some used their names, others appeared anonymously. For some of the women, giving testimony was a chance to push prosecutors to keep the case alive, targeting those who allegedly aided Epstein in perpetuating his cycle of abuse over the years. For others, it was the opportunity to speak up and say their piece.

“I buried this deep within me, and all of the new occurrences that have come up in the media is what brought it back up for me,” one anonymous victim said. “And I feel sickened and saddened that it took so many years, and God knows how many victims, for this to finally come out, but I’m thankful it did. And I’m just angry that he’s not alive anymore to have to pay the price for his actions.”

Courtney Wild

Jeffrey Epstein robbed myself and all the other victims of our day in court to confront him one by one, and for that he is a coward.

Courtney Wild
Courtney Wild

I want to thank the US Attorneys for seeking justice that has been long overdue, and most importantly, given us, the victims, our day in court to speak our peace and find some sort of closure. I feel very angry and sad that justice has never been served in this case.

Chauntae Davies

It took me a long time to come forward, too long maybe… and all that it took to bring this man to justice has been robbed by his death.

Every day, every week I’ve spent in the hospital since, I’ve suffered and he has won. Every job offer that’s been offered to me and then retracted because of my connection to this case, I have suffered and he has won. Every public humiliation I have endured, I have suffered and he has won. Every relationship that I’ve had to end because of the abuse that I have endured by the hands of this man, I have suffered and he has won.

Every woman sitting in this room today, and all of the women who have yet come forward and who have not yet to come forward and whose lives have been affected by Jeffrey Epstein’s sick abuse of young girls, we have all suffered, and he is still winning in death.

I refuse to let this man win in death. I couldn’t fight back when Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused me because I hadn’t yet found my voice. Well, I have found my voice now, and while Jeffrey may no longer be here to hear it, I will not stop fighting, and I will not be silenced anymore.

Anouska De Georgiou

When I was introduced to Jeffrey Epstein, I was young and full of hope and the foolishness of a teenager. I was idealistic, and I saw the good in people. Jeffrey Epstein manipulated me, coerced me and sexually abused me.

Jeffrey Epstein protestors
Protesters against Jeffrey Epstein in New York.

Something I think is very important to communicate is that loss of innocence, trust and joy is not recoverable. The abuse, spanning several years, was devaluing beyond measure and affected my ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, both in my work and my personal life.

I was a victim, and it has taken me many, many years to stand here and say, yes, it was me. I was a victim, but I will not remain a victim and be silent for one more day.

Brittany Henderson

What happened to me occurred many years ago when I was in high school, but it still affects my life.

I was told then that Jeffrey Epstein was going to be held accountable, but he was not. In fact, the government worked out a secret deal and didn’t tell me about it. The case ended without me knowing what was going on, without him being held responsible, without any explanation and without a chance for my voice to be heard. I was treated like I did not matter.

I was allowed to be a part of the process this time. Thank you for inviting me. It means more to me than you can ever know. The fact that I mattered this time and the other victims mattered is what counts. For that, I am grateful.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre

Jeffrey Epstein is no longer alive, but this is not about how he died. This is about how he lived.

He will not have his day in court, but the reckoning of accountability has begun, supported by the voices of these brave and beautiful women in this courtroom today. The reckoning must not end. It must continue. He did not act alone and we, the victims, know that. We trust the government is listening and that the others will be brought to justice.

Sarah Ransome

Jeffrey Epstein found dead.
Jeffrey Epstein found dead.

I would like to thank the Court for the dignity and the respect you are showing me here today, as well as the other victims. I would also like to acknowledge and extend my gratitude to the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York for pursuing justice on behalf of the victims.

Please, please finish what you have started. I struggled to find the words to adequately say how important your work is to us.

For a very long time Jeffrey Epstein gamed the system at every level, and when he realised he couldn’t do that any longer, he showed the world what a depraved and cowardly human being he is by taking his own life.

But we, the victims, are still here, prepared to tell the truth, and we all know he did not act alone. We are survivors, and the pursuit of justice should not abate.

Teala Davies 

Teala Davies with lawyer Gloria Allred.
Teala Davies with lawyer Gloria Allred.

I’m still a victim because I am fearful for my daughters and everyone’s daughters. I’m fearful for their future in this world, where there are predators in power, a world where people can avoid justice if their pockets run deep enough.

I’m still a victim because the 17-year-old Teala was manipulated into thinking she had found someone who cared, someone who wanted to help. Jeffrey knew I had nowhere to go. He knew I was vulnerable, and he took advantage of that poor girl, who will never be the same.

He thought he was untouchable, and honestly, so did I. I thought he was the most powerful person I would ever meet.

But the end is here, and here I stand, becoming more powerful than he will ever be.

Jane Doe 2

A lot of people asked why we spent so much time, why we stayed. It’s an experience that’s really hard to explain to people who haven’t gone through it.

Things happened slowly over time. We didn’t – it almost was like, putting it like that analogy of a frog being in a pan of water and slowly turning the flame up. You didn’t realise it was happening, and it just – I don’t think anyone can fully understand the experience, but I just – the blame feels very strong.

It wasn’t a situation where we were trying to extort money from someone. A lot of us were in very vulnerable situations and in extreme poverty, circumstances where we didn’t have anyone on our side, to speak on our behalf, and that’s really scary.

You start to blame yourself because, at first, you don’t tell anyone what’s happening, and it becomes your deep, dark secret that you tried to keep from everyone. And I didn’t even know I was a victim until I spoke with my lawyers. I had no idea.

I had so much self-hatred and doubt and just guilt for everything. I still do. I still don’t feel like I deserve to say I’m a victim, and I think that’s a big problem with our society right now, that people are still blaming victims, and I think that does need to change.

Jane Doe 3

Protests against Jeffrey Epstein
Protests against Jeffrey Epstein.

An introduction was made at his New York home, and it is there that I was sexually assaulted.

I left and my world kind of spiraled after that. I stopped going on modeling castings. I gained weight. I became depressed. I stopped going out with my friends, and only five months after I had been in New York City to pursue my dream, I left. I left the modeling industry, and I left New York City, and I totally switched my career paths.

I buried this deep within me, and all of the new occurrences that have come up in the media is what brought it back up for me. And I feel sickened and saddened that it took so many years, and God knows how many victims, for this to finally come out, but I’m thankful it did. And I’m just angry that he’s not alive anymore to have to pay the price for his actions.

Jane Doe 4

I met Jeffrey Epstein at a very vulnerable place in my life, and whatever the outcome is with everything, I just wanted to express that we, the victims, we will always carry irreparable damage and pain throughout our lives after this.

Whoever we marry in our life, whatever future we have in our life, it’s always going to be something that’s always there for us.

He took away the chance I had at having the future I had envisioned for myself as a young girl, and I think many of us here today will never fully heal from that pain and the heartache that we’ll continue carrying with us.

Jane Doe 7

Jeffrey Epstein ruined me. His recruiter ruined me. The far-reaching consequences of that day ruined my family’s lives.

I was changed forever and buried my assault deep down, where the darkness couldn’t hurt me anymore, but of course, it has always been here, lingering and affecting me unconsciously.

At the time, I was mired in shame, guilt and humiliation. I had somehow tricked myself into thinking that I had allowed the assault to happen, that I did it to myself, that I don’t deserve to be alive or to be loved. I believed that I was a disgusting, shameful person who does not deserve to ever be happy. These are the thoughts I’ve lived with on a daily basis.

Furthermore, because I couldn’t tell anyone, out of fear of judgment, blame or retaliation, keeping this secret completely hindered my ability to uncover why these issues existed for me, which could have led to a path of healing over the years.

It is time for those of power to do the right thing. It is time for compassion toward our fellow human beings to reign over money, power and greed. We need to protect our most vulnerable to allow them a chance at a normal life, and nothing should come in the way of that.

Jane Doe 8

Michelle Licata and Courtney Wild, two of Epstein's alleged victims, attend court.
Michelle Licata and Courtney Wild, two of Epstein's alleged victims, attend court.

Pursuing criminal penalties against him and having an opportunity to address the egregious crimes he committed against me and other young women would have helped my recovery process. This all came to an abrupt halt when he took his own life.

I cannot say that I am pleased he [died by] suicide, but I am at peace knowing he will not be able to hurt anyone else. However, a sad truth remains. I, along with other people, will never have an answer as to why. I will never have an apology for the wrongdoing. And most importantly, Epstein will not be justly sentenced for his crimes.

Now I sit in my home questioning the well-being of those girls like myself. In choosing death, Epstein denied everyone justice.

Jane Doe 9

In 2004, when I was 15 years old, I flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane to Zorro Ranch, where I was sexual molested by him for many hours.

What I remember most vividly was him explaining to me how beneficial the experience was for me and how much he was helping me to grow.

I remember feeling so small and powerless, especially after he positioned me by laying me on his floor so that I was confronted by all the framed photographs on his dresser of him smiling with wealthy celebrities and politicians.

After he finished with me, he told me to describe in detail how good my first sexual experience felt. That was the first of many lies I was forced to carry for him, the weight of which proliferated my trauma.

As unjust as what happened to me was, I believe that experience to be a symptom of insidious and pathological violence that extreme wealth yields, a violence which ultimately stays hidden through channels of extreme power that serve it.

 Jane Doe 10

Epstein targeted and took advantage of me, a young girl, whose mother had recently died a horrific death and whose family structure had deteriorated.

His actions placed me, a young girl, into a downward spiral to the point where I purchased a gun and drove myself to an isolated place to end my suffering.

A voice that could only have been from my mother told me, “I am not the victim, I am the victor, and I dare not pull the trigger.” I returned the gun days later.

Epstein is a coward. He lived his life leaching off the souls of inspiring, young girls due to the fact that he could never know how it feels inspired to live. Like a leach, once Epstein had his fill, he would unlatch and seek out another victim.

The only sense of justice I had hoped to see was Epstein being sentenced. However, Epstein died as he lived, taking the easy way out without any responsibility.

Jane Doe 11

I was a 16-year-old virgin when Jeffrey Epstein first raped me. I was naive and gullable. He was a pillar of finance and a giant in the world that I was an insignificant part of. I was so impressed that this great man would even talk to me and impart any of his wisdom on me.

When I was in his presence, he made an effort to call celebrities and influential people on speakerphone, like Academy Award-winning actresses and super models, who always answered his calls. Sadly, I was impressed.

I was nothing more than a teenage prostitute. I was his slave. I had never even kissed a boy before I met him, and never throughout the horrific abuse did Jeffrey Epstein kiss me even once.

They say you never forget your first. I’m in a never-ending nightmare trying to do just that. I’m forever suffering because everything reminds me of that horror. This new wave of worldwide publicity only worsens my despair.

For one brief moment there was elation when he was recently arrested. I would finally get my chance to see him again face to face and show him what I had become, that I had succeeded on my own, that I was worth something in spite of his abuse. … I had hoped humanity would prevail, but it seems to me that he outsmarted everyone so far, and his ghost is still laughing at us.

Images: Getty 

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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