Trigger Warning: Sexual assault
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of bad news (coronavirus) to bring you some other bad news. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. The year 2020 does and she is one brutal bitch.
As you or may not have heard, there are new sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. You may not have heard of this because it’s not being widely covered by most major news networks. Well, we’re not most major news networks, so we’re going to breakdown what we know.
The woman who has come forward with these allegations is Tara Reade, a former staffer for Biden when he was a senator in 1993. Reade was one of the several women who came forward with allegations of inappropriate touching (read: sexual harassment) after Lucy Flores wrote about an incident when Biden came up from behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, sniffed her hair, and then slowly kissed the back of her head backstage at her campaign rally.
Flores’ piece ran in The Cut in March 2019, right before Biden announced his run for president. Many wondered if it would affect his ability to gain Democratic support for the nomination. Well, I guess we got our answer, as he is currently the frontrunner.
Reade’s original allegation was that Biden used to put his hand on her shoulder and then run his finger up her neck when she worked for his Senate office. Not what you want from your literal boss, or any person who you have not given permission to touch you, for that matter. Creepy thing to do! Anyway, now Reade has come forward saying there is more to her story.
Warning: this next part is graphic and upsetting. Please read with caution, and be kind to yourself.
Reade told her full story to Katie Halper on her podcast. In the interview, Reade recounts a time when Biden pushed her against a wall, stuck his hands up her skirt, and then penetrated her with his fingers, all without her consent. She also says when she tried to pull away he said something along the lines of, “I thought you liked me.”
Of course, since people still don’t seem to fully grasp that coming forward about sexual assault isn’t an easy and fun thing to do, the question of why Reade waited to share this part of the story has come up. Reade’s answer is two-fold.
First, she only shared part of her story because she figured that part would more likely be believed, as it matched what Lucy Flores experienced. And she wanted to stand with Flores, as she saw talk shows like The View defending Biden. Plus, she had witnesses and a filed contemporaneous complaint for those accusations. But still, after she came forward with the original accusations of sexual harassment from Biden, she received backlash online. People accused her of making it up and being politically motivated, pointing to a since deleted Medium post that Reade had written that praised Russia and Vladmir Putin.
Reade’s 2018 Medium piece said, “What if I told you that everything you learned about Russia was wrong? President Putin scares the power elite in America because he is a compassionate, caring, visionary leader. … To President Putin, I say keep your eyes to the beautiful future and maybe, just maybe America will come to see Russia as I do, with eyes of love. To all my Russian friends, happy holiday and Happy New Year.”
Reade is currently writing a novel based in Russia, and in the process had learned about Russia through a Russian friend. At the time, she says, she wrote the post in the spirit of world peace and solidarity with her friend. She has also pointed out that her writing shouldn’t make her unable to be the victim of sexual assault.
Nonetheless, after dealing with online harassment and disbelief from people, she decided to go silent. Until now.
Reade attempted to take her case to TimesUp, but was ultimately turned away and told that the organization could lose its nonprofit status for going after a presidential candidate (whether or not this is true is up for debate). Reade is trudging on without their help, but not a lot of news outlets are having her on. She did an interview with Krystal Ball on her left-leaning online talk show, “Rising,” which is worth listening to. But for the most part, this story isn’t getting a lot of traction.
A lot of the information comes from the coverage written by Ryan Grim for The Intercept, a publication that has been accused of attacking the establishment, particularly the Democratic establishment. Some people think this means we should take this story with a grain of salt. But even with that, this story deserves further investigation.
Joe Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential candidate. If these accusations of sexual assault are credible, the American people need to know. We need a fully covered, thorough investigation.
Reade said in her interview with Katie Halper that at the time of the incident, she told a friend, her mother and her brother. Her mother has since passed, but both the friend and brother confirmed to The Intercept that she came to them when it happened. There are ways to investigate here.
If time really is up, we should be eagerly searching for the truth, not ignoring it.