In the early 2000s, People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff was assigned to cover all things Donald Trump.

It was the height of Trump's "Apprentice" popularity, and Stoynoff was along for the ride. She conducted multiple interviews with Trump, attended his wedding to Melania Knauss, and tracked the success of the show.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.


On Oct. 12, 2016, Stoynoff published a story in which she stated that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her during an interview in 2005.  

It was the same year as the now-infamous hot mic recorded conversation between Trump and Billy Bush. Stoynoff writes that Trump led her to a room alone, where he suddenly pinned her to a wall and kissed her.

"We’re going to have an affair, I’m telling you," she says Trump told her.

The story is one of many allegations recently made against the Republican presidential nominee. Each story that comes out — and there will probably be more as the election gets closer — is deeply troubling on its own, even more so when considered together.

But there's one part of Stoynoff's story that hasn't gotten the same attention that her description of the physical assault has — and it points to a disturbing tactic often used by abusers.

It's what she says Donald Trump did the next day:

"Earlier in my trip, I had tried to arrange a session at Mar-a-Lago’s spa for my chronic neck problem — the spa was part of a private resort separate from the Trump residence — but they were booked up. Trump had gotten wind of that before the interview and called himself, asking the top massage therapist if he would come in extra early to see me, as a favor to him."

The ballroom at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club and resort. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

After arriving at the spa late, Stoynoff says, the massage therapist told her that Trump had shown up to her massage appointment and had waited for her for 15 minutes before he had to leave to attend a meeting.

Stoynoff writes of her reeling thoughts:

"I lay on the massage table, but my eyes were on the doorknob the entire time. He’s going to show up and [the massage therapist is] going to let him in with me half-naked on a table. I cut the session short, got dressed and left for the airport."

What's so deeply unsettling about this part of Stoynoff's story is that reflects how abusers exercise power over others without even being in the same room as them.

Most of the conversation around Trump's treatment of women in the wake of the leaked hot mic moment has been about the physical allegations against the candidate, especially as more women come forward (Stoynoff included) with stories demonstrating the behavior he describes on the tape.

What's less talked about is the insidious way in which abusers actually plan their attacks, unprovoked though they may seem at the time, and use their status to create a sense of utter helplessness in those they subjugate.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"In order to assault someone ... they must be manipulated in some way, and that manipulation implies the use of power," William Flack Jr., associate professor at Bucknell University's Department of Psychology, wrote in an email, explaining how perpetrators of sexual assault use power and manipulation to their advantage.

Stoynoff was just a reporter trying to do her job when Donald Trump — a man who wields a lot of social power and influence — allegedly assaulted her. The next day, all she wanted was a massage for her aching neck and to go home quietly.

For Trump to find out that Stoynoff hadn't been able to set up a massage appointment and then set it for her despite the spa being booked wasn't necessarily a kind gesture on his part — it was also likely a display of power. Trump was letting her know that he called the shots, that he knew where she would be, and that as long as she was on his property, she had no expectation of privacy.

The power that abusers use is not always physical.

In the case of Stoynoff's experience, Trump used his power to remain at the forefront of her thoughts and fears. Instead of having a private moment to herself to enjoy her massage, she remained fearful of what might come through that door.

"Someone who has been assaulted can certainly fear their perpetrator, and act on that fear, regardless of the perpetrator's location," explained Flack.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Showing up at Stoynoff's massage appointment without warning is an eerie parallel to the story Trump told Howard Stern in 2005 about walking through the dressing rooms at his pageants while the contestants were changing. "I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it," Trump said.

Replace "pageant" with "Mar-a-Lago" and you can see why Stoynoff knew she couldn't rely on the massage therapist to keep Trump out if he showed up and demanded to be let in — even if she said she didn't want him there.

Upon returning home, Stoynoff filed her story about his marriage and immediately left the Trump beat behind.

As for why Stoynoff didn't come forward with her story earlier?

Just look at how Donald Trump reacted to it, even with the hot mic tape leaked and at least half a dozen other women accusing him of the same behavior:

At a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Oct. 13, Donald Trump denied the allegations against him and slammed the various news sources reporting them. There was even a victim-blaming hashtag to go along with the whole thing.

If Stoynoff had come forward in 2005, with none of the present evidence, none of the other survivors sharing their stories, and at the height of Trump's "Apprentice" power and influence, she likely would have faced even more denial and victim-blaming than she is now. You probably never would have heard her name — or her story — again.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

It is incredibly brave of Stoynoff and all these other women to come forward now, with the election just a few weeks away.

Sexual assault and rape are not about sex. They're about about power. When your first instinct is to cast doubt on the accusers and side with the accused — without question — that gives the perpetrator more of an excuse to abuse that power to keep their victim from speaking out against them.

When Trump says Stoynoff and the other women accusing him of assault should have come forward years ago with their claims — and that they didn't is a sign that they're lying — he is exerting his power and status as a presidential candidate, a wealthy businessman, and a celebrity to try to keep them quiet and keep his supporters doubting them.

As more women come forward with stories alleging Donald Trump assaulted them or demeaned them, remember that these women have nothing to gain by making these accusations.

Remember that these women are being viciously attacked and blamed for sharing parts of their lives about which they have likely felt deeply ashamed. And remember to err on the side of trusting them. To do otherwise is to trust a man who has bragged about this behavior on tape and give him a shield behind which he could continue to abuse and assault even more women in the future.

Standing with Trump's accusers means you have seen an injustice and want to fight it — with your belief, your words of support, and your vote.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

This article originally appeared on 07.22.15



"So just recently I went out on a Match.com date, and it was fantastic," begins Dr. Danielle Sheypuk in her TEDx Talk.

If you've ever been on a bunch of Match.com dates, that opening line might make you do a double take. How does one get so lucky?!

Not Dr. Sheypuck's actual date.

Not Dr. Sheypuck's actual date. Photo by Thinkstock.


But don't get too jealous. Things quickly went downhill two dates later, as most Match.com dates ultimately do. This time, however, the reason may not be something that you've ever experienced. Intrigued? I was too. So here's the story.Gorgeous!

Gorgeous! Photo from Dr. Sheypuk's Instagram account, used with permission.

She's a licensed clinical psychologist, an advocate, and a model — among other things. She's also been confined to a wheelchair since childhood. And that last fact is what did her recent date in.

On their third date over a romantic Italian dinner, Sheypuk noticed that he was sitting farther away from her than usual. And then, out of nowhere, he began to ask the following questions:

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
True

The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

@elenisabracos on TikTok

Look, it’s a sad situation for anyone to hear that Adele will not be gracing the stage any time soon. The beloved singer woefully announced on Instagram last Friday (Jan 21) that her planned residency in Las Vegas “wasn’t ready” due to coronavirus. Half of her crew had been infected, making it “impossible to finish the show.”

But for one fan in particular, who has tried—and failed miserably—to catch Adele live on three separate occasions, the news hit particularly hard. Luckily, her sense of humor proves that any tragedy can turn into comedy gold.

This story, with all its hilarious twists and turns, is quite the delightful saga. And though it doesn’t erase all the gutting disappointments left from pandemic cancellations, it does serve as wholesome entertainment.

Keep Reading Show less

This article originally appeared on August 14, 2016


Time travel back to 1905.

Back in 1905, a book called "The Apples of New York" was published by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It featured hundreds of apple varieties of all shapes, colors, and sizes, including Thomas Jefferson's personal favorite, the Esopus Spitzenburg.






Keep Reading Show less