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"I replay the incident over and over in my head," Ashley Solis said in her first public statements. "The nightmare is real."
TONY BUZBEE: Of course, many of you know this is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. There has been a proclamation from the White House about sexual-assault victims.
I have with me, of course, some of my colleagues. I'll have them introduce themselves. Maria.
MARIA ELENA HOLMES: Maria Elena Holmes.
TONY BUZBEE: She is a lawyer here at firm.
CRYSTAL DEL TORO: Crystal Del Toro.
CORNELIA BRANDFIELD-HARVEY: Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey.
BRITTANY IFEJIKA: Brittany Ifejika.
TONY BUZBEE: And there will be a few other individuals that we will introduce you to momentarily, but the first person-- in fact, I believe the most important person that I want to introduce you to is Ashley Solis. Ashley Solis is the reason we're all here. Ashley Solis came to me and gave-- told me a very troubling story about Deshaun Watson. I spoke to her many different times. I discouraged her from coming forward. I discouraged her because I knew this would be the reaction.
Ashley Solis is a very brave person. She's very brave. She was the first individual who filed a lawsuit. It is because of her bravery that we are here. She has been a pioneer.
You have heard from the Watson team that they want to know the identity of these victims, that maybe they don't even exist, that we've been trying to hide their identity. Well, that is not true. I introduce you Ashley Solis. She will not be bullied, and she has a statement she would like to read.
ASHLEY SOLIS: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Ashley Solis. Remember that name. I hope every woman and man out there who is a survivor hears my story, and I hope my story gives them courage to speak out. It has taken me a long time to get to this point to come out publicly and speak my truth.
I know a lot of you are probably wondering who I was or if I even existed. I was afraid. I'm not afraid anymore. I do exist. I'm here to take back the power and take back control. I am a survivor of assault and harassment. Deshaun Watson is my assaulter and my harasser.
Deshaun Watson assaulted and harassed me on March 30, 2020, in my own home doing what I love most, massage therapy. I am a licensed massage therapist. Now that profession that I love so much has been forever tainted.
I'm deeply saddened but not surprised to see so much victim blaming in the press and by online commenters, and they have absolutely no idea what I'm going through or what happened to me, no idea. This incident has impacted me in many ways, and those ways are hard to describe. I feel a range of emotions-- guilt, embarrassment, shame, courage, anger, sadness, and numbness. Some days I feel like a hero. Other days I feel like a failure.
I replay the incident over and over in my head as if I'm trying to wake up from some horrible nightmare, only that nightmare is real. I blame myself at times, which is insane. Society has groomed women to believe that it's their fault when they're harassed or assaulted, as if somehow we asked for it or that somehow we could have prevented it.
I can no longer practice the profession that I love the most without shaking during the session. My hands whenever I place them on the client, and I have to cut the session short. If you only knew how heartbreaking that is to me.
I got into massage therapy to heal people, to heal their minds and bodies, to bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me. He tainted a profession in which I take enormous pride.
Flashes of Watson's face rush to me in the moment. I think of his penis touching me. It sends me into a tailspin. I suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. I'm in counseling as a result of Deshaun Watson's actions. I hope he knows how much pain he's inflicted on me emotionally and physically, and I hope he knows how much pain he has inflicted on these other survivors.
My father, who was once a diehard Texans fan, can no longer mention his name without turning red, seething with disappointment. I think that that's the most heartbreaking aspect of it all. We were all deceived into thinking Deshaun Watson was a good guy, and unfortunately we know that good guys can do terrible things.
This incident is a part of me, but it's not all of me. I will not let Deshaun Watson define who I am. I will not let him win. He needs to be held accountable for his actions. I will not let him take my power away. I'm stronger now, and I know who I am.
People say that I'm doing this just for money. That is false. I come forward now so that Deshaun Watson does not assault another woman, and I come forward now in hopes that no other human being will assault another in the future. I want to prevent this type of conduct.
I come forward now to bring change in our society. I'm seeking justice not just on behalf of myself, but for all survivors. I stand with you all. This is about having my voice heard. This is about having other survivors' voices heard. And my name is Ashley Solis, and I'm a survivor, me too. Thank you.