Believe Women, which came to prominence during the MeToo movement, recognizes the factors that discourage sexual assault survivors from coming forward to tell their stories. Women know that when they speak out, they will be attacked, discredited, and their character impugned, more so when their abuser is a powerful man like Presidents Clinton, Trump and now Presidential candidate, Former VP Joe Biden. What woman would ever want to face that? This brutal backlash forces most women to stay silent, and keep the pain and trauma to themselves, maybe telling a close friend or two, or maybe never telling a single person.
The MeToo movement revealed the magnitude of the problem. It was encouraging that women who came forward to report assaults by powerful men like Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and Jeffrey Epstein were supported, and finally, finally believed.
However, to our dismay, Tara Reade’s allegations were met first with indifference, then by the same attacks that women throughout history have had to endure. Her character has been impugned, she has been doxxed and her personal information posted online, and she has received death threats. In sharp contrast to the support, many elected Democratic leaders expressed for Christine Blasey-Ford and their immediate demand for an independent investigation of the charges made on Brett Kavanaugh, Democratic electeds, party leaders, and surrogates have reversed course and attacked Reade’s credibility in an attempt to protect the presumptive nominee.
The weight of evidence as it currently stands is on Reade’s side. Several individuals asserting they have heard this allegation from her at the time it allegedly occurred, or in the years immediately afterward. Seven other women came forward earlier saying Biden’s physical behavior made them uncomfortable. Biden’s denial of Reade’s allegation must be weighed against his dropping out of the 1988 presidential race for plagiarism and his misrepresentation of his civil rights record in the current presidential cycle.
Resisting the sexual advances of a powerful man is often met with retaliation. Reade has said that she faced retaliation when she rebuffed Joe Biden; she was demoted, her assignments were taken away and “her only job was to look for another job” which she failed to find on the Hill. Being retaliated against and losing a career for confronting sexual advances is unfortunately not unusual, and it is as serious as the sexual allegation itself.
Partisan politics cannot dictate how we respond to Reade’s allegations of sexual assault. Our Revolution Maryland joins progressive voices in the media to demand a thorough independent investigation into Reade’s allegations against former VP Joe Biden. Reade’s personnel file may contain the complaint filed against then-Senator Joe Biden and must contain some record of what amounts to a subsequent dismissal. These must be found, whether among Biden’s papers at the University of Delaware or in the Senate offices, and delivered to Reade to decide whether to release them publicly.
Bob Muehlenkamp is the Chair of Our Revolution Maryland.
Our Revolution Maryland will reclaim democracy for the working people of our country by harnessing the transformative energy of the “political revolution” in our state. Through supporting a new generation of progressive leaders, empowering millions to fight for progressive change and elevating the political consciousness, we will transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families. http://ourrevolutionmd.com
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