Sexual assault has become a major talking point of this year's election. Paula Hawks, who is running for South Dakota's single U.S. House seat, says that it's more than a topic of conversation for her.

In a statement posted on, Hawks says that the discussion of sexual assault has a very personal dimension.

I was raped in college. Sexually assaulted by a person in a position of authority, when I listened to the audio from Trump bragging about what he could do to women because of wealth and fame, it hit me extremely hard.

For a moment — I was brought back to that place 20 years ago — alone, afraid, violated, embarrassed. Then, I became extremely pissed off. With years of therapy and an incredibly loving family that provided me a support system, I moved on. As much as you can.

Hawks then talked about her experience in relation to the current political climate.

Never in a million years did I think I would feel comfortable talking about this publicly. 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.

There are some lines I just don’t believe we, as a society, should cross. Supporting a sexual predator just because he might sign your bill into law is one of them. A man who brags about sexual assault is a man incapable of leadership. Those enabling him have already proven they cannot hold him responsible for the most reprehensible of acts. If we condone this behavior in our most important elected office, we enable it in our workplaces and at our colleges.

Read Paula Hawks' full statement here:

See Also: