(JTA) — A reporter for a U.S. Jewish newspaper alleged in a cover story that she was sexually assaulted by “an accomplished journalist from Israel” during an interview.
Danielle Berrin did not name the journalist in her column published last week in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. She said the incident took place several years ago in the lobby of a hotel.
News of the alleged assault, reported in a column titled “My sexual assault, and yours: Every woman’s story. How the Trump video launched a collective soul-searching over sexual harassment and assault,” began circulating Wednesday in the Israeli media and on social media.
“I’d agreed to meet him, an accomplished journalist from Israel, at his hotel around 10 p.m. He was in the United States only for 48 hours, and told me he was completely booked during the daytime. I believed him,” Berrin, who has worked at the Jewish Journal for the last decade, wrote of the encounter.
“Back then, the book he’d written was among several titles having an impact on the Jewish conversation, and many local community leaders wanted to meet with him. If I was going to be a part of this conversation, this was my opportunity.”
Berrin said the journalist put the interview on hold to ask her some personal questions.
“I’ve learned that if you’re Jewish and younger than 35, your relationship status is typically the first thing another Jew will ask about,” she said. “Besides, the man was married, with children, and a public figure. I figured I was safe. But after I answered one of his questions in a way that moved him, he lurched at me like a barnyard animal, grabbing the back of my head, pulling me toward him.
“I turned my face to the left and bowed my head to avoid his mouth,” she wrote, adding that he asked her to go up to his hotel room and said he had an “arrangement” with his wife.
“In the end, I guess, I consider myself ‘lucky.’ Very, very ‘lucky.’ Because although I was groped and grabbed and pulled — sexually assaulted — I was not raped or otherwise harmed. Many women do not emerge from such situations still whole. Nevertheless, none of this feels like a gift,” Berrin wrote.
She said she told her story in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s derogatory and lewd comments about women that were captured on video, providing the impetus for many women to step forward and talk about being sexually assaulted.