In a move that experts say is empowering to sexual assault victims everywhere, Taylor Swift is moving forward with her lawsuit against a DJ she says groped her at a public appearance.
Taylor appeared in a Denver court on Tuesday as a jury was finalized for her case, NBC News reports. In the suit, Taylor claims that former radio DJ David "Jackson" Mueller groped her during a 2013 fan meet-and-greet before a show in Colorado.
According to Taylor, David lifted her skirt and grabbed her bare butt while a photo was being taken.
"I remember being frantic, distressed, feeling violated in a way I had never experienced before," she said of the alleged assault in her 2015 deposition, which was obtained by Billboard.
According to NBC News, David claims that he was fired over the alleged incident, saying that he was falsely accused and that Taylor should have called police instead of his bosses if she was assaulted.
His lawyer also suggested that Taylor may have misidentified who touched her. David filed his lawsuit first, seeking $3 million in damages, and Taylor countersued for assault and battery, according to the Washington Post. She’s seeking $1 in damages.
Taylor's attorney, Douglas Baldridge, told jurors that the singer is "absolutely certain" she was sexually assaulted. "That's the one and only story we have to tell you—that Mr. Mueller grabbed her rear end,” he said. Taylor’s lawyer also claimed that David changed his story multiple times and destroyed taped conversations with his bosses about the alleged incident. "What's wrong with this picture? A woman gets assaulted, a woman reports it, and she gets sued," Baldridge said.
This case is making headlines not only because of the people involved, but because of how unusual this type of lawsuit is.
According to Jane Anderson, attorney advisor for AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women, this kind of case wouldn’t set a legal precedent but it can send a “bigger, broader message about groping." This is significant because many victims who experience groping, verbal harassment, and inappropriate touch don’t feel empowered to pursue legal action, says Laura Palumbo, communications director at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
"Although what they experience is violating, humiliating, and wrong, these cases are rarely brought forward or prosecuted," Palumbo says, adding that a good portion of people don't even think groping or fondling is sexual assault. "This is why cases like this are so important in educating the public."
That seems to be Taylor's intent—according to her countersuit (which was obtained by People), she and her legal team hope that the outcome "will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts."
As for the $1, Anderson says a person might sue for such a small amount of damages because the defense team often argues that a person is suing for money. “By suing for so little money, you’re probably trying to quash that narrative and make that completely unlikely,” she says.
The trial is expected to last nine days, according to USA Today.