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Jeffrey Epstein survivor Sarah Ransome on Ghislaine Maxwell’s role in sex trafficking ring

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  • Jeffrey Epstein
    American financier

In her new book, Silenced No More, Sarah Ransome speaks her truth and details her experience in Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking ring.

“As soon as I arrived on my very first trip on the island my cell phone’s taken away, my camera's taken away, my passports taken away, and lo and behold, that's where it started. It was that very first trip on the island where I was told ‘you will never escape me,’” says Ransome.

As Ransome remembers in the book, Jeffrey Epstein raped her on the second day of that trip. The attacks continued for the duration of her stay, sometimes up to two or three times in the same day.

“Jeffery's island was designed for rape and trafficking,” said Ransome. “And once you're there, you can't get out.”

For Maxwell’s part, Ransome says that she was aware of abuse. In one case, Maxwell forced Ransome into a room where Epstein raped her. In another, Maxwell saw Ransome crying after a brutal attack and smirked, offering no support.

“Ghislane would break you down to such a point, but as soon as she broke you — like a Jekyll and Hyde — she would almost be mother-like and maternal, and caring. And that was effectively done to build a trauma bond,” says Ransome.

All eyes are glued to the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the accused co-conspirator of Jeffrey Epstein who allegedly recruited the young and underage girls that he sexually abused.

For Sarah Ransome, who counts herself as a survivor of Epstein's abuse, Maxwell’s trial is long overdue.

“I'm following the trial every single day,” she tells Yahoo Life. “I just pray every day that she's found guilty because she needs to be taken off the streets so she can't hurt anybody else.”

Video Transcript

SARAH RANSOME: I was trafficked, I was groomed, I was threatened by Jeffrey and Ghislaine. They threatened me, they threatened to kill my family. Jeffrey's Island, it was designed for rape and trafficking, and once you're there, you can't get out.

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BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Hi, everyone. I'm Brittany Jones-Cooper, and welcome to "Unmuted." In her new book "Silenced No More," Sarah Ransome opens up about her experiences with sexual assault and surviving Jeffrey Epstein. Sarah, I read your book and it's so powerful. Can you take me through the process of reliving some of the things you experienced?

SARAH RANSOME: The reason why I decided to write the book is because I feel that you're only as sick as your secrets, and for so many years I've been silenced. Jeffrey made it very clear that if I ever told anyone, went to the authorities, that he would kill me and my family.

And my trauma was almost like a cancer inside my body, it just grew and grew and grew and grew. But I want survivors to stand in their truth, to not feel that they're silenced, and not feel ashamed. I'm tired of being victim shamed. Rape is rape and no means no. No one deserves to be raped and that's why I've spoken my truth.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: And it's a powerful truth because in this society, the victim is so often blamed. In your book you refer to Ghislaine as an aristocratic pimp, what do people need to know about her role in recruiting women for Epstein and how powerful it is to have a woman in that role?

SARAH RANSOME: This was a really sophisticated sex trafficking ring. It was run by a woman, Ghislaine Maxwell. She was the enforcer, she was a chief orchestrator but then there's these layers of women and recruiters turning victims into predators.

When I was deliberately targeted by the young woman that recruited me, I had no one in New York and I was a 22-year-old, I was a baby. I had just come from an abusive relationship, really abusive, and she befriended me, and that completely let my guard down. You know, I had been told, Jeffrey was such a wonderful kind man and he really loves helping young struggling talented people.

And then it was, let's go for a girls' weekend, let's go to the Island and we're going to have so much fun. I just wanted to make a friend. There was never any question that this guy was going to rape me for months on end. When you are approached by another woman, you don't expect that they're out there to be paid for you to be raped.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: I think a lot of people don't understand the power dynamics, the manipulation, the grooming. Can you talk about how it keeps you stuck in that cycle of abuse?

SARAH RANSOME: From the very first time that I was tricked into going to the Island, I had my phone taken away, my passport taken away. And very early on Jeffrey made it very clear that if I went anywhere, I was going to get hurt. And that was, again, reinforced by Ghislaine, she was a mastermind at grooming.

One of the things that she used to do was she forced me into Jeffrey's room where I was brutally raped. He made me watch video footage of him interacting with some of the most powerful influential people in the world. And Ghislaine, as soon as she broke you, she would almost be mother-like and caring, and that was effectively done to build a trauma bond.

So it was like this constant cycle, it was actually called intermittent reinforcement. It's such a sophisticated grooming technique. You must understand, you're stuck on an Island, you've been raped three times a day, you're like a hungry dog that's starving for any compassion, what chance do you have?

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: It's really scary to have your vulnerabilities preyed on like that. You're releasing this book just ask Ghislaine Maxwell is on trial for sex trafficking, what is it like watching this all play out?

SARAH RANSOME: I'm following the trial every single day. And I'm following these brave wonderful women that are taking the stand to get Ghislaine off the streets. I pray every day that justice is served. And if for whatever reason it isn't, and I need Ghislaine and all the co-conspirators to know that myself and all the other survivors that have come forward, we'll never stop fighting until every single person that facilitated and enabled thousands of young children and women being raped are behind bars.

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