Experts

Why Did Taylor Swift Sue Over Sexual Assault Case? Experts Say It May Be For Other Women

Taylor Swift is heading into a public legal battle against an alleged groper this week as an act of solidarity with other women in and out of the music industry who have been sexual harassed or assaulted, some experts and advocates have speculated.

The pop music superstar will be in a Denver court this week over claims that former radio disc jockey David “Jackson” Mueller groped her during a 2013 fan meet-and-greet before a show. Swift and Mueller have filed lawsuits against one another over the alleged groping incident.

“Pursuing legal action is not only protecting her own honor and dignity, but [that of] every voiceless woman who might not have been able to fight against similar inappropriate actions,” said public relations and brand strategist Marvet Britto said.

Swift claims she was sexually assaulted by Mueller when he lifted her skirt and grabbed her bare buttocks while a photo was being taken.

Mueller denies this, saying he was falsely accused and if something really happened she should have called police instead of his bosses — who fired him soon after the encounter. He’s seeking up to $3 million in damages.

His lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, contends that Mueller may have been misidentified after someone else touched Swift. On the night in question, Mueller and his girlfriend were escorted out of the Pepsi Center arena once Swift told security she had been inappropriately touched.

“The contention that Mr. Mueller lifted up Ms. Swift’s skirt and grabbed her bottom, while standing with his girlfriend, in front of Ms. Swift’s photographer and Ms. Swift’s highly trained security personnel, during a company sponsored VIP, backstage meet-and-greet, is nonsense, particularly given that Ms. Swift’s skirt is in place and is not being lifted by Mr. Mueller’s hand in the photograph,” Mueller’s complaint reads.

The complaint also says Mueller has undergone two polygraph examinations, “during which he responded ‘No’ to questions about whether he had touched Ms. Swift or put his hand under her skirt.” The results of both tests were that Mueller was speaking truthfully, according to the complaint.

Mueller’s suit was filed first, followed by Swift’s countersuit — in which she’s claiming damages of only $1.

Initially, Swift attempted to keep the situation “discreet and quiet and confidential” and was upset by Mueller’s claim that “for some reason she might have some incentive to actually fabricate this story,” her attorney, Douglas Baldridge, has argued in court.

But experts and advocates believe Swift may have decided to take the case into the public spotlight as a symbolic move meant to empower other women in similar situations.

“The studies and surveys confirms one-in-three women have experienced sexual harassment at work, and it’s the No. 1 complaint we receive,” said Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates. “I think this is the tip of the iceberg because women are afraid to complain.”

Britto and Farrell do not work for Swift and have not been involved in either lawsuit.

In the suit, Swift said she not only wants to hold Mueller accountable, but also hopes to “serv[e] as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”

Some of the women Swift is likely trying to empower are also members of the pop industry.




Image: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift performs at DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert at Club Nomadic on Feb. 4, 2017 in Houston, Texas.