In October 2016, PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff came forward to accuse then-candidate Donald Trump of attacking her in 2005 by pushing her up against a wall at his Mar-a-Lago estate and shoving his tongue down her throat.
Now, more than a year later, Stoynoff sees accusations of sexual misconduct toppling a long list of once-powerful men in high perches—from Hollywood’s entertainment industry to the news media to state governments—and asks: “Is the President of the United States held to a different standard than, say, Louis C.K.? Or will Trump too face a day of reckoning?”
“Time will tell,” the writer, one of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, says in a column for this week’s issue of PEOPLE.
For more from Natasha Stoynoff, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday
But Stoynoff adds that she’s “hopeful this revolution will take hold” thanks to the millions of brave women—and men—who have come forward in recent weeks with their own experiences of sexual harassment, abuse and assault.
“After suffering in silence, sometimes for decades, women stepped forward from every sector of society — actors, politicians, prison guards, students, scientists, waitresses, salespeople — to say #MeToo and tell their stories,” she says. “The enormity of their number is gobsmacking.”
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“Watching from the sidelines, I wanted to hug each and every one of you,” she writes.
And until Trump’s potential judgement day arrives, Stoynoff says, “we have strength in numbers — and in our persistence.”
“Each person who raises her voice against sexual misconduct today helps lead to its extinction tomorrow. So that one day, the phenomenon of men imposing themselves sexually will be just a bad memory for us and shameful history to our grandchildren.”