I’ve noticed many of my vocal liberal friends are not wanting to talk about Tara Reade and I’m going to be honest…I’m struggling too. I think I have been secretly have just been hoping something discredits her? I know. That’s shitty.
But. I have to. First? Because my daughter brought it up and if it’s bothering her, it needs addressing. And second? There are many uncertain things in this situation but one thing that is 100% truth is that if we gave women like Tara Reade the support they deserved decades ago, we wouldn’t keep having to figure out how to process allegations against men in power 20+ years after the incidents occurred.
There are a few things I (think?) I can say for certain.
- It’s not my job to decide legally who is a rapist/assaulter and who is not. It is also not my job to try to argue with others about whether or not a person did something that we can not legally prove either way. It is only my job to make sure my daughter and all of the women in my life know I will support them if (god forbid) they ever have accusations they have to dole out. The best way I can make sure they know I will support them is by supporting other women who I do not know, even if it goes against my political interests. So I am choosing right now to believe Tara Reade.
- Fox News (which my Mom watches non-stop so I’m very familiar) is being very biased when they say that Tara Reade’s story is corroborated but Christine Blasey Ford’s story was not. They tow this line to try to shame Democrats. BUT…the simple truth is…they are both women who did their best to support their accusations decades after the fact. They both are putting a lot on the line by coming forward. They both had people they told about it and they both had people who can vouch for that. I do believe it’s hard to staunchly support one woman and not the other, which is why I choose to support both.
- It is – however – the fault of decades of unchecked misogyny and toxic masculinity that contributed to building a culture where women didn’t feel like they could come forward about sexual assaults as soon as it happened. If we hadn’t terrorized the few that did by victim blaming – we wouldn’t keep having situations where we have to try to decide how to handle allegations from decades ago now that the culture is (thankfully) more accepting of women’s stories. If we had been more supportive of women coming forward decades ago, if we hadn’t ignored rumors of powerful men abusing their power, If we hadn’t slut-shamed women who reported assaults, if we had punished college athletes who rape women instead of worrying about their careers…maybe we wouldn’t constantly be facing delayed accusations against men in power now. This is why we have to make sure women of TODAY know they can come forward before their memories fade and their stories are harder to corroborate.
- Just because you may find yourself voting for the “lesser of two evils” does not make it enjoyable, or even something you’re proud of. If you believe Tara Reade but don’t want Trump to be President again because he’s dangerous so you vote for Biden anyway…do not feel like you have to put his sign in your yard. Do not be shamed into campaigning. Disregarding the effects of past traumas or rape culture or culturally supported toxic masculinity is what got us into this mess to begin with. Your disgust is valid. Remember that.
- I would never shame anyone for not wanting to vote for Biden because they believe Tara Reade. I definitely shamed people for not voting for Hilary. And I still stand by that. But if Trump becomes President because a lot of people just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for someone with a believable assault allegation against him? I will not blame THEM, the voters. I will blame HIM and I will blame the rape culture that kept him unchecked and I will blame toxic masculinity. I WILL NOT BLAME WOMEN WHO COULDN’T BRING THEMSELVES TO VOTE FOR HIM IF TRUMP WINS.
- I believe that the Democratic party is underestimating how hard it will be for women to check his name on a box now. I believe if nothing comes up that fully discredits Tara Reade, then we will lose. Because up until now I was constantly arguing with people by saying that anything other than a vote for Clinton/Biden is a vote for Trump but I will not shame women who won’t vote for Biden now. And If I’m feeling that way? Someone who was a VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO person from the moment Trump got the nomination in 2016? THEN WE ARE IN TROUBLE.
Honestly…as much as it pains me to say this because for a split second I thought we might have a chance with him…I want him to resign. Here’s the thing…he and Bernie were at the bottom of my list so I don’t love either of them. I now feel depressed and like we’re screwed either way but maybe we can unite around Bernie easier without the constant reminder that we’re the party of Believe Women running a candidate with a credible accusation against him? I don’t know. But I do want Biden and the party to recognize that millions of women have worked for touchy-feely men (I joined a few women to report one to a supervisor decades ago and he still holds the position of power today) and can easily believe how that could turn criminal in a moment. I want him to see no matter how much those women fear/hate Trump…past traumas might keep them from checking Biden’s name.
Unless something comes up to really discredit Reade, and it gets a LOT of traction, it’s just going to be hard. My daughter is only exposed to politics on TikTok and even she has heard about Tara Reade and she’s very depressed that it’s between Trump and Biden and while she isn’t old enough to vote, she is exposed to politics/news in many of the same ways young voters are and if we can’t sway them, they’re going to stay home.
And honestly? I don’t blame them.
EDITED TO ADD: I am voting for Biden. There is no need to try to convince me. I never said I wasn’t. I’m just offering empathy to women who are struggling.