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She found the work mindless and demeaning, but all around her was the promise of New York. There was Oprah Winfrey, filming a TV show next to the two-story Christmas wreath in the main lobby. There was George Clooney, strolling past the office. There was Trump, an occasional business partner with Bayrock, standing right outside the glass doors every few days with his bodyguard as he waited for the elevator to take him back to his $100 million penthouse on the 66th floor. She remembered that sometimes he looked in and smiled at her. At least once she thought she saw him wave.

“If you’re working in that building, you’ve got to at least meet him,” Hackenburg told her, and after five months Crooks finally got up from her desk and went out to say hello, It was early 3/4 shank pointe shoes in the morning, and the office was mostly empty, She walked toward Trump, who she remembers was standing by himself in the small waiting area near the elevators, She held out her hand, intent on introducing herself not as a fan or as a secretary but as a business partner, “Mr, Trump, I wanted to say hi, since our companies do a little work together,” she remembered telling him that day, and then, before she understood what was happening, she remembered Trump becoming the second man ever to kiss her..

“Fiction,” was what Trump’s campaign called her story when Crooks first told it publicly in 2016. “It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged,” the campaign said. But Crooks’ version of that day was prompting more and more questions in her mind. Why did she sometimes feel as if he was still holding her in place? Why had she spent so much of the past decade recoiling from that moment – back behind the receptionist desk, back inside of her head, back home to the certainty and simplicity of small-town Ohio?.

It was just a dreadful kiss, or at least that’s what she kept trying to tell herself to quiet the confusion that had grown out of that moment, turning into shame, hardening into anxiety and insecurity until nearly a decade later, when she first started to read about other women whose accusations sounded so much like her own, Kissed at a party, Kissed in a dance club, Kissed during a business meeting, Kissed while attending a Mother’s Day brunch at Mar-a-Largo, “For the first time, I started to think it wasn’t my fault for being clueless and naive, or for something I did wrong in seeming that way to him,” Crooks said in one of her first public statements about Trump in 2016, Maybe together with the other accusers their stories had power, Crooks thought, Maybe, if the accusations alone weren’t enough to hold Trump accountable for his behavior, the women could force the country to pay attention with better messaging and greater 3/4 shank pointe shoes theatrics..

Late in 2017, Crooks agreed to join several accusers for television interviews and news conferences in New York. “A call to action,” the invitation read, because their goal was to demand a congressional investigation into Trump’s alleged sexual misconduct. Crooks wrote herself some reminders for effective public speaking: “Use detail and repetition.” “Make it personal.” “Focus on solutions.”. She volunteered to speak first, squared her shoulders and then turned to face the cameras with the poise of the athlete she had been.

“By now all of you are probably familiar 3/4 shank pointe shoes with my story,” she said before beginning it again, The 24th floor, His lips coming toward hers, His hands holding her in place until the elevator arrived to take him upstairs, “Feelings of self-doubt and insignificance,” she said, “I know there are many worse forms of sexual harassment, but doesn’t this still speak to character?” she said, “I don’t want money, I don’t need a lawsuit, I just want people to listen, How many women have to come forward? What will it take to get a response?”..

The response that came was waiting every day on Crooks’ computer, so one morning back home in Ohio she woke up and walked downstairs to her laptop. The front door was locked, the shades were drawn, and she sat next to the dog she had recently bought with hopes that a pet might help reduce her anxiety. She navigated to Facebook. “Good morning, Rachel!” read a greeting at the top of her page, and then she clicked open her messages. “Very unbelievable story,” read the first. “Try and get rich some other way.”.

“You ignorant, attention seeking cow.”, “Nobody would touch you, especially not Trump, You look like a boy, A gun to your head would be good for our nation.”, She had tried changing the privacy settings on her Facebook page 3/4 shank pointe shoes and logging off Twitter, but there was no way to barricade herself from so much hostility, It came into her email inbox at the tiny college in Ohio where she worked as a recruiter of international students, It came when she walked her dog around the block or took her nephews trick-or-treating..

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