“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.”
— Joe Biden, defending Dr Christine Blasey Ford during Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
By Arwa Mahdawi
The Guardian (3/28/20)
Why are sexual assault allegations against Biden being ignored? Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been accused of sexual assault by a former staffer. Tara Reade, who worked with Biden when he was a Delaware senator, alleges he inappropriately touched her and penetrated her with his fingers without consent in 1993.
“It happened all at once, and then … his hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” Reade recalled in an interview with podcast host Katie Halper on Wednesday. “He said ‘come on, man, I heard you liked me. For me, it was like, everything shattered … I wanted to be a senator; I didn’t want to sleep with one.”
Rightwing news outlets have gleefully seized upon the accusations against Biden; the story has also been discussed by leftwing commentators. However, the mainstream media has largely ignored the allegations. Instead there have been headlines like The top 10 women Joe Biden might pick as VP (CNN) and Joe Biden’s inner circle: No longer a boy’s club (AP).
It is hugely frustrating to see conservatives, who couldn’t give a damn about the multiple sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, weaponize the accusations against Biden. However, it’s also frustrating to see so many liberals turning a blind eye. The accusations against the former vice-president are serious; why aren’t they being taken seriously?
One obvious reason is that Reade’s accusations are very hard to prove. The incident happened a long time ago and there weren’t any witnesses. Reade also gave a slightly different version of events last year; she accused Biden of touching her neck and shoulders in a way that was inappropriate and uncomfortable, but did not say anything sexual took place. This inconsistency obviously doesn’t mean she’s lying; unfortunately, it is easy to use against her.
Reade’s story may be impossible to verify, but this is the case with the vast majority of sexual assault allegations. It is nearly always a case of “he said, she said” – and it is nearly always the “he’ that is automatically believed. The #MeToo mantra “Believe Women” doesn’t mean that women never lie; it means that our systems of power are biased towards believing men never lie. It means that it takes decades of allegations and scores of women coming forward for powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Cosby to be brought to justice. All the mantra means is that you shouldn’t automatically disbelieve women.
You know who has talked publicly about the importance of taking women seriously? Biden. During the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Biden stood up for Dr Christine Blasey Ford, noting: “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.”
Does this presumption not apply when the guy being accused is a Democrat running for president? …
- Interview: Biden Accuser Tara Reade: “I wanted to be a senator; I didn’t want to sleep with one” Link To 60-Minute Audio