Another woman has come forward to accuse a powerful man of groping, and this time he's a prominent NFL player.
The NFL is investigating Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for allegedly groping an Uber driver in 2016, Buzzfeed reports.
The Uber driver, who has identified herself only as Kate for fear of retribution from football fans, said that Winston groped her from the passenger seat of her car while in line at a drive-thru, after he requested that she allow him to stop for food.
“He reached over and he just grabbed my crotch,” Kate said in her report. He allegedly held his hand there for three to five seconds, only removing it after she questioned “What’s up with that?” she said. She also reported that Winston shouted homophobic slurs out the window at pedestrians during the ride.
According to BuzzFeed, Kate reported the incident to Uber at the time it occurred, writing "Looking back, I sincerely wish I would have kicked him out, but he is apparently a big athlete in the NFL, and he's very physically imposing, and I was afraid that I'd make him more angry ... He is NOT safe for other female drivers." She came forward with her story after seeing so many others doing the same recently, she said.
“I have been empowered by my sisters who have forged this path by speaking up, and I must do my part to make it a little more well traveled,” Kate told BuzzFeed. “If I’m silent, I fear that further harm will come to other women, if it hasn’t already.” She added, “He sexually assaulted me, and I have every right to tell the damn truth about it.”
Winston is no stranger to accusations of assault. In 2012, he was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student, Erica Kinsman, while attending Florida State University. Winston was not formally charged and the university settled with Kinsman in 2016 to drop her Title IX lawsuit against the school. However, Kinsman shares her story in the sexual assault documentary The Hunting Ground and continues to assert that Winston raped her.
The quarterback also drew criticism in February after a visit to a Tampa Bay elementary school, where he told all of the girls to sit down and stay quiet, and had the boys stand up and shout along with him.
"But the ladies, they're supposed to be silent, polite, gentle," he said at the time.
Only this time, Winston's accuser isn't staying silent.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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