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.

The story of a little prick

The country’s highest court has ruled that if your partner consents to sexual intercourse with protection, and then you tamper with the condom in some way, you are guilty of sexual assault:

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by a Nova Scotia man who was convicted of sexual assault for poking holes in his girlfriend’s condoms.

The case involved Craig Jaret Hutchinson, who was sentenced to 18 months in jail in December 2011, after he admitted damaging his former girlfriend’s condoms in an attempt to impregnate her so that she would not end their relationship.

While the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the appeal was unanimous, the seven justices were divided into two camps in their reasons for the decision.

The majority ruled that Hutchinson’s decision to sabotage the condom exposed his girlfriend to an increased risk of pregnancy and constituted fraud.

“We conclude that there was no consent in this case by reason of fraud,” the judges wrote in their decision.

The three other judges wrote that the question in the case was not whether the girlfriend’s consent was “vitiated,” or invalidated, by fraud, but whether the girlfriend had consented to “how” the sex had taken place.

[…]

The court was also clear that merely deceiving a sexual a partner — for example, by lying about one’s marital status – would not be enough to warrant a sex assault conviction.

The justices writing for majority noted that their decision recognizes that not every deception “that induces consent” should be criminalized.

“To establish fraud, the dishonest act must result in a deprivation that is equally serious as the deprivation” in this and similar cases, they wrote.

Full decision here.  The ruling makes sense to me – in this case, while the woman consented to sex, she clearly had not consented to it being carried out in such a potentially harmful manner.  (She became pregnant, chose to terminate the pregnancy and then wound up with a uterine infection.)

The question is, if this were the other way around – if the female partner somehow tampered with the condom, in the hopes of surreptitiously getting pregnant – is there any reason why she wouldn’t be guilty of sexual assault?  What if she said she was unable to have children, or lied about being on birth control?  What if the male partner lied about being sterile?  It will be interesting to see how this case is applied.