Virginia Roberts Giuffre is one of the women who survived Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking. She was recruited by Ghislaine Maxwell while working at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago spa and is featured in Lifetime’s latest documentary, Surviving Jeffrey Epstein. Here’s what you need to
Maxwell Recruited Giuffre, Who in Turn Became a Recruiter Herself
Giuffre was 16 when she met Maxwell while working in the spa at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Maxwell took her to Epstein’s mansion under the guise that Giuffre was going to be learning how to be a massage therapist.
“The massage seemed legitimate at first. … then he turns over and the entire thing changed. They said take off your clothes. I had these little girl undies on and they were laughing at that because they liked that — the younger you looked, the better it is. So I stripped down, Ghislaine stripped down, it turned very sexual. It was abuse straight away, from both of them. Stuff that I had already known because I’d been abused before and it felt just like that,” said Giuffre.
“The shame was immediate. I remember sitting at the bottom of my shower and crying my eyes out. I’d been on the streets and I thought maybe this was the lesser of two evils … maybe this is how the world works. Abuse is so prevalent in my life, that maybe that’s just the way it is. That’s just life.”
She also said that the recruitment process “was never-ending.” She was “forced to try to bring other girls in.”
Lifetime Is Partnering With Rise to Run a Special PSA During the Broadcast
Lifetime has partnered with Rise to run a special PSA during the airings of the documentary to encourage other survivors to use their voice to RISE UP and help establish Survivors Bills of Rights in their states. Lifetime will also run a PSA from RAINN to provide hotline resources for those in need.”
In a virtual panel for the event, the executive producer Bob Friedman told reporters that they are telling the survivors’ stories in their own words.
“The story that we’ve told has been pretty much in the survivors’ own words, the survivors who bear this burden of abuse. Abuse that dare we all believe is hidden in plain sight,” said Friedman. “And we think that we go into some of the stories and the reason why with the making of the sex trafficking pyramid scheme, that was recent. We take a look at the recruiting that existed, the grooming of potential victims, and how allegedly Ghislaine Maxwell trained recruiters to create this abuse pipeline that we live through.”
He added that this is not the end of the story, saying, “We all believe that there will be some future revelations. The trial is scheduled to begin in July of next year, but we believe that we’ve addressed many of the questions that have not been addressed in the past.”
Director Ricki Stern added that it was so important to the filmmakers to emphasize to the survivors that this was not your run-of-the-mill news piece.
“It was really important that we spoke to [the survivors] and said to them, ‘This is going to be different than a news piece. We really want to spend time with you and have your story portrayed in your own words.’ There’s so much strength in these women’s stories, in their history, to understand where they come from and where they are today is so powerful,” said Stern. “And that was something that we wanted to make sure that the series portrayed. Lifetime is, of course, the perfect place for this series because they really value and they spotlight the women’s voices. And so, it was a lengthy process … It was a lengthy process to get to women. Because there had been so much attention, quick news stories that were done, that we had to really differentiate the series, because it is four hours told in their voices.”
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein airs Sunday, August 9 and Monday, August 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.