To the Editor:

Four reasons woman are finally speaking out about sexual assault:

1. Because this is the first time a person who touched them without receiving permission is a presidential candidate of a major American party with just a few weeks to go.

2. Because a video of a predator bragging about doing such behaviors was just shown over and over again around the world.

Subsequently, Trump apologized and/or denied “it,” whatever he thinks “it” is. But he clearly does not get, or chooses not to get, or chooses not to admit he gets, that bad as the words are, repulsive as the behaviors were, his core beliefs about women are disgusting. They demonstrate the lack of respect he has for others because he never learned to respect himself.

By the way, did you notice before they got off the van, Trump could not figure out how to open the door until someone realized he was stuck and pointed down? Next, when shaking hands, did you see how he and his colleague in turn, extended then bent their arms so the woman had to straighten and stretch hers to resist being pulled close to them?

3. Because it was legal then.

Proving rape was hard enough; a complaint about a tongue or a touch was too common to be seen as a violation. The behaviors Trump described were part of daily, and nightly, life for women at home, at work, in an elevator, at a doctor’s office, in an academic environment, at a movie, in a car, and every other place imaginable. In the kitchen or garage, basement or bedroom. The assailant was a relative, a friend, a boss, a neighbor, or a stranger; dressed, unclothed, or in a costume or mask. Older, younger, or exactly your age.

That’s when you learned what “powerless” felt like and that’s why the feeling never really leaves you — ever.

4. If women reported every unwelcome physical encounter they endured, there would be room for nothing else in the media.

Besides, the vast majority of woman found out it was futile to raise such charges the first time they did. The financial, emotional, and time-consuming costs were just not worth the immediate and long-term consequences of reporting such unwanted behaviors. Concurrent with physical pain and medical issues, faced with a choice between keeping quiet or public humiliation and embarrassment, loss of job and health insurance (for you and your children), additional abuse and other life-threatening issues, which would you choose? Especially if you are sworn to secrecy or told if you tell somebody others would be harmed.

Maybe you are too ashamed or were told, “It was your fault.”

Perhaps you cannot believe what happened to you, so you cannot believe anyone else would.

Thanks to the courage, fortitude, and, yes, stamina of countless women against amazing odds, we see public —regrettably not universal — outrage against Trump. Yet, I just watched this Republican presidential candidate ask the crowd at his rally why these women did not speak up at the time, as if delay itself turns the allegations false.

Who would have listened if the women did speak up? Did Trump?

Shelley Berman