It might have been almost a year since Jeffrey Epstein died in a prison cell, but the reverberations are still being felt. Long-time friend Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested, while other public figures have had to deny and defend their own relationships with Epstein.
But amidst the statements of the rich, famous and powerful, it’s the voices of the survivors themselves that are now demanding to be heard. Something that has long been denied to them.
Much of this has been by design—Epstein’s. Accusations against him date back to 2005, but as Bloomberg reported, cases were settled out of court. The Cut reported on how lawyer Alan Dershowitz publicly discredited victims. Then there was the deal that sentenced Epstein to 13 months in jail, saving him from federal prosecution. A deal kept from his victims.
Survivors of high profile rapists have spoken before about the culture of silence that surrounds them, as the 35 women who accused Bill Cosby in a powerful cover piece for New York magazine in 2015 (which swiftly went viral) attested to.
We may never know exactly how many Epstein survivors there are. But we’re finally hearing some of their stories. Epstein’s death may have denied his many accusers the chance to face him in court, but it hasn’t taken their voices. These are some of the women who survived Epstein and the stories they have shared.
Jennifer Araoz was one of the 23 women who testified in federal court against Epstein. She was 14 when they met. Speaking to NBC News, she recounted visiting his mansion a few times, before she was first taken to the massage room, where she was coerced into stripping to her underwear and massaging him for money, while he masturbated. When she was 15 the abuse went further: he ordered her to remove her underwear and then raped her.
Maria Farmer was 26 and an artist when she met Epstein in 1995. She also believes she was the first to report him to the FBI after she and her sister, Annie, were assaulted by him in 1996. Maria had already been working for Epstein for a year when the assault happened. She says Epstein and Maxwell came to her room one night and started groping her. Fortunately, she managed to escape and lock herself in another room of the house. What she didn’t realise was that Annie had also been assaulted by Epstein during a topless massage. Annie was 16. Speaking to Grazia, Maria reported seeing numerous girls (some as young as 10) with Epstein while she worked for him. Afterwards, she went into to hiding for years, often receiving threats against her.
Courtney Wild spent longer in prison for a drug-related crime than the 13 months Epstein did after his infamous plea deal—a deal she sued the federal government over. She was only 14 when she met Epstein. Speaking to the Miami Herald, she described how over years of knowing Epstein, she recruited between 70-80 underage girls for him—at his specific request. In 2019, her name was given to a bill in Congress aiming to strengthen the Crime Victims Rights Act and protect other victims of sexual assault: the Courtney Wild Crime Victims’ Rights Reform Act.
In the same 2018 piece for the Herald, Michelle Licata said Epstein 'ruined' her life. She was 16 when he sexually assaulted her.
Virginia Guiffre nee Roberts has publicly spoken out about Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring and the man who used her as a ‘sex slave’ numerous times. Guiffre was 16 when she was recruited as a masseuse. For the following two years, she was trafficked by Epstein, sexually assaulted by both him and his powerful friends. Prince Andrew is among those she has publicly accused (which he has strenuously denied). Guiffre has said she was sexually trafficked 30 times before she turned 19. In 2014, she founded the non-profit organisation Victims Refuse Silence to help victims of sexual abuse.
Teresa Helm was also recruited as a travelling masseuse for Epstein, aged 22. A job interview turned to assault, though, after Epstein asked her for a foot rub, before overpowering her. In 2019, she was one of five women who sued Epstein for rape, battery and false imprisonment.
Jena-Lisa Jones was 14. She was paid $200 dollars to massage Epstein, when he made her strip and then assaulted her.
Similar to other Epstein victims, Teala Davies has spoken about how her vulnerability as a child (she was homeless for a year aged 11) made her the ‘perfect victim’ for Epstein. She was 17 when Epstein began raping her, the abuse occurring in his homes across the world.
Chauntae Davies was also hired as a masseuse for Epstein. In their first encounter, he masturbated in front of her. During a later session, he raped her. Davies has described being groomed by Epstein, who gave her gifts and helped both her and her sister with their education.
Marijke Chartouni was 20. A friend introduced her to Epstein and took her to his mansion. While they were there, Epstein and the friend undressed and then assaulted her. Afterwards, Epstein contacted her and asked to see her again, but she never returned.
Also a masseuse, Rachel Benavidez, was 25 when she met Epstein. She was abused by him for two years, it only stopping when she refused to sign an NDA.
Sarah Ransome was 22 when the abuse began. Brought to Epstein’s Caribbean island, she was raped by Epstein and other men up to three times a day for seven months. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, she said, 'I don’t see us as victims. We are survivors.' A fund from Epstein’s estate has been established to pay compensation to his survivors. NBC reported over 100 women came forward days after it opened. As its administrator, Jordana Feldman said, per the Times, it’s given them, 'the opportunity to be heard outside the glare of public courtroom proceedings, and to receive acknowledgment by an independent third party.'
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein premieres on Crime+Investigation with a double episode airing on Tuesday 25th August at 9pm. Parts three and four will be broadcast the following evening on Wednesday 26th August at 9pm.