In partisan mudslinging, it is women who lose

At the end of the day, the problem isn’t the track record of Biden or Trump in their atrocious behavior toward women, and it isn’t the Democratic or Republican parties.

Former vice president Joe Biden (Left) and US President Donald Trump (Right) (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Former vice president Joe Biden (Left) and US President Donald Trump (Right)
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
As the United States heads toward a major election with profound implications globally, I must confess that I’ve done my best to avoid following the sexual-assault case against Joe Biden. With the mudslinging in every direction, it’s painful to watch another “trial by press” in which Tara Reade has become the defendant.
In the post-#MeToo era, I am both surprised and disappointed that so many Democratic Party leaders seem utterly indifferent to the fact that their candidate is an alleged sexual predator, and are fixated only on defeating Trump. Once again, the losers of the presidential election won’t be Democrats or Republicans, but women.
I’ve been an outspoken critic of President Trump on the basis of his treatment, history and overall attitude toward women for many years (prior to his presidency). I, like many, cringed in horror when I heard the recordings of his appalling, inexcusable comments about women. The press, Democrats and many Republicans, came out against this strongly.
Yet, ironically, what the press, society and the Democratic Party are proving today with the Tara Reade case is that Trump’s crass comments, in which he claimed that men in power can “do whatever they want” to women, are correct.
What we learn from the public treatment of Tara Reade is that men with power who sexually assault women, or grossly abuse their power, do not have to suffer the consequences. In fact, it’s the alleged victims who are put on trial with their every word and so-called “inconsistency” scrutinized, from Monica Lewinsky to Christine Blasey Ford to Tara Reade.
Reade alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Biden while working in his Delaware Senate office in 1993. She claims that he pressed her up against a wall, kissed her neck, and penetrated her with his fingers. Multiple people have corroborated that Reade shared about the incident both around that time and after.
She also claims she submitted a complaint about general inappropriate behavior, and suffered in the office as a result, and that she was afraid of sharing the entire story for fear of retribution.
Publicly, Reade began by speaking out against general “misconduct” by Biden, and later came forward with more details and the full story. Instead of viewing this as the common behavior of sexual assault survivors, Biden campaign staff, NPR, writers from Salon and Vox, as well as some of Reade’s previous coworkers, are using this to point out “inconsistency” in Reade’s story and discredit her.
MINIMIZING SEXUAL assault by leaving out specific details or glossing over a painful event as a generalized “he was inappropriate sometimes” or “I felt uncomfortable,” is a well-known coping mechanism for victims of sexual assault. There is a certain element of shame or self-blame, in particular, because victims don’t want to believe that someone they like or admire – whether a boyfriend or boss – would do such a thing. If it was the victim’s “fault,” then at least she was “in control” and can prevent it from happening again.
For Reade, it would have been even more difficult because women are socialized not to be perceived as whiny or weak in the workplace, and women who “make trouble” often face retribution, which Reade claims she faced before even coming forward with the full story. If Reade as a young professional in politics had come forward openly in 1993, does anyone honestly think she would have had any future career?
What struck me as particularly disturbing about the case of Tara Reade is that, unlike the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, the alleged assault did not occur when Biden was an intoxicated teenager, but while he was holding public office. Also unlike the Kavanaugh situation, a number of people have stepped forward to corroborate that they knew about this incident when it happened.
Nevertheless, Instead of supporting and believing Tara Reade, Biden supporters, his staff and Biden himself have outright denied all allegations and attempted to discredit Reade. Others have “questioned her motives.”
Whether with Christine Blasey Ford or with Tara Reade, it’s not for the public to “question the motives” of a woman who comes forward after sexual assault. The hypocrisy is stomach-turning. When Kavanagh or Trump were accused, there were marches, rallies, protests and social-media campaigns, but when it’s the Democratic candidate who is being accused, we question the accuser’s motives.
Truthfully, history is rife with great men (and women) in public life who were horrendous human beings in their private life. It may be that both Trump and Biden are sexual predators. It may also be that either could be a fantastic president of the United States in their ability to govern. But the American public shouldn’t be lied to about the integrity (or its lack) from these men, and Democrats and Republicans alike are harming women when they cover it up or minimize it.
At the end of the day, the problem isn’t the track record of Biden or Trump in their atrocious behavior toward women, and it isn’t the Democratic or Republican parties. The problem is that the American people believe that men who sexually assault women are still fit to hold the highest offices in the land. That’s why no matter who wins the election in 2020, it is women who will lose.
The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative.