Claims against Schneiderman follow common pattern in domestic abuse

- Former Attorney General Schneiderman's accusers described him as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"—publicly he supported women, privately they say he was an abuser.

Experts say this pattern of behavior in domestic violence is common as the abuser uses power to try to control a victim, starting slowly and escalating with time.

The allegations forced Schneiderman to resign. He has denied the accusations.

The New Yorker magazine reported that two of the women required medical treatment after the alleged assaults but they said they were too afraid to go to the police.

Rachel Goldsmith is the associate vice president of domestic violence shelters at Safe Horizon. She said that domestic violence "thrives in silence" so it happens more often because we aren't talking about it.

"When you are dealing with a person who has a lot of power in society, those stakes can feel so high and it can feel that much harder to come forward and speak out," Goldsmith said, adding that the claims made by the women accusing Schneiderman fit a typical pattern of domestic abuse.

"When you read those stories, reading the allegations, it definitely felt like many of the cases we see in domestic violence all the time," she said.

Schneiderman responded to the women's claims on Monday right after the New Yorker story posted.

"In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone," Schneiderman said in a statement. "I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."

Does that sound like role-playing to Goldsmith?

"If someone feels unsafe, that's their perception of the situation that they're not safe, and many of the allegations are very serious things that put a lot of fear into the alleged survivors of the abuse," Goldsmith said.

The women accusing Schneiderman, who had been a supporter of the #metoo movement, seemed to have been inspired to come forward by his alleged hypocrisy.

Goldsmith said the #metoo movement has increased the number of calls to the Safe Horizon 24-hour helpline: 800-621-HOPE.

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