From #BelieveWomen to #NeverHeardOfThisWoman

The Daily Beast contacted several feminist organizations who loudly promoted sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Cavanaugh to ask them about allegations against Joe Biden. You won’t believe what happened – or, more accurately, didn’t happen – next:

Women’s groups and prominent feminist figures have remained almost universally silent over a former staffer’s accusation of sexual misconduct against former Vice President Joe Biden—including those individuals and groups who came to express regret for how the Democratic Party handled similar accusations made against President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

[…]

The Daily Beast contacted 10 top national pro-women organizations for this story, including Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Organization for Women. Most organizations did not respond to a detailed request for comment about the allegation by Tara Reade, a former staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office who has accused the former vice president of forcibly penetrating her with his fingers in the early 1990s. Others replied and did not provide a statement. 

One prominent women’s political group cited a scheduling conflict and asked to be kept “in mind for other opportunities!” When pressed if the following day would work better, an associate said it would not, citing another scheduling conflict. 

The near-total lack of acknowledgement from nearly a dozen leading pro-women organizations comes as new corroboration has emerged with respect to the allegation, which the Biden campaign has categorically denied. Neither the Biden campaign nor Reade responded to requests from The Daily Beast for comment on Tuesday. 

Prediction: twenty years from now, when another conservative Republican is caught up in a sexual harassment or assault controversy, the same groups calling for his had will also express regret that they didn’t take the allegations against Biden more seriously.

Mediaite‘s John Ziegler calls out everyone involved – media outlets and Biden supporters downplaying the story, and Trump supporters who suddenly have the vapors about allegations that don’t even come close to what their guy is credibly accused of – for their blatant hypocrisy:

…in many ways, this story isn’t really about Joe Biden. It is about how nearly everyone in the political/media realm is a total and obvious hypocrite. #MeToo supporting Democrats are pretending this allegation has no merit because they don’t want to harm Biden’s chances against Trump. Republicans, usually much more skeptical of #MeToo, who backed Kavanaugh because the evidence against him was very flimsy, are jumping all over this story because it might benefit them politically. And news media outlets of all stripes are deciding, as usual, to shift their editorial standards not based on what the truth is, but on which narrative best fits their particular agenda.

2 thoughts on “From #BelieveWomen to #NeverHeardOfThisWoman

  1. M says:

    It’s frequently about expediency, plausible deniability, and proof or its absence rather than truth – and this goes for far more situations than one would like to acknowledge. Even in daily life, one sometimes feels that being “excessively” honest is almost considered a weakness…something that people will exploit. In the end, the person with fewer scruples often wins, partly because people tend to go by their impression about whether someone is honest, rather than doing their homework and finding facts. Or because it is expedient for them to side with the guilty party unless there is undeniable proof… plus, facing the truth about others might force some to confront uncomfortable truths about themselves.
    Going up against a socially favoured perpetrator, sexual or otherwise, without concrete proof can potentially make things worse, not better, depending on other people’s motivation to protect them. Especially if there is only one accuser, whose credibility and life may be publicly destroyed in the worst case. Along with the above, this further reduces the chances of perpetrators receiving (effective) consequences. And the fact that women participate in concealing problems when it doesn’t fit their agenda is not helpful at all.
    On the one hand, can one completely blame politicians for lying, knowing that honesty is effectively penalized? On the other hand, how can a society as a whole break out of this cycle? Predatory behaviours and the ways in which they are addressed (or not) stem from deeper underlying attitudes that can be difficult to change, partly because it takes considerable effort and courage, and partly because those who benefit from obscuring truth would likely oppose such changes. (And in this particular case: what are the alternatives?)
    Aside from the need for consequences for men who take sexual advantage, it would be nice (speaking as a woman) for the 100% decent men out there to get some recognition. We need to change the perception of what makes a “manly” man – someone personally strong enough and comfortable enough with themselves not to take advantage of others. Someone who doesn’t feel insecure about possibly being seen as weak among men by treating women as actual equals. A balanced, mature adult who knows that caring for and supporting others takes a lot more strength than using them. Otherwise the world can seem a little hopeless at times.

  2. M says:

    Erin Gloria Ryan has a very balanced, common-sense response today (DB). A well considered response to the allegations by Biden could break silence on the issue and send the message that he takes responsibility for his actions and can deal with his accuser respectfully and maturely. The US needs a competent president. It should be possible to acknowledge the truth and move forward sensibly for both Reade and Biden. Ignoring a potential victim is not helpful for anyone, and Biden could come out stronger if he approaches this sensitively.

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