I am a rape survivor who doesn’t believe Tara Reade. Yet.
Apparently, my skepticism about a woman with a conveniently escalating, and ever changing narrative means I’m the lowest of the low, and as such need to be constantly inundated on social media with men attacking me and proclaiming me a supporter of rape. I am supposed to bow down to these men and ignore my gut feeling that Tara Reade doesn’t belong grouped in with the rest of us wretched survivors of rape. Nobody cares to ask why I feel distaste for the narrative Tara recounts, why her many changes leave me giving her story the side-eye, or why I just don’t feel like I owe her anything more than she’s already gotten. See, I believed Tara the first time.
From The Union:
Reade said Biden’s senior staff protected the senator. She was considered a distraction. Reade said she didn’t consider the acts toward her sexualization. She instead compared her experience to being a lamp.
Her story and the stories of the other women matched, there was a pattern of Biden being overly “affectionate” to the point where he crossed a line, invaded personal space, and touched women inappropriately, though not sexually. I’ve been waiting for someone else to speak out, someone to say #MeToo, because Lord knows a sexual predator never strikes just the one time. That is not how things go. As of yet, we have no new or old victims telling a story of being pushed against the wall and assaulted, we have no real corroboration, and what little we do have that appears to back her up, comes from unknown or anonymous sources. Or sources that take several days to remember the most important part: The Assault.
Tara once had a different Twitter account and while using that account she liked several tweets about her former boss, Joe Biden. I cannot say that this means she’s a liar, only that it’s one small bit of weirdness that gives me pause when it comes to believing her.
Her appearing to praise Joe Biden for his work on the Violence Against Women Act gives me pause and causes consternation; Tara does behave like a trauma victim, that is certain, but she doesn’t behave like any rape survivor I’ve known has ever behaved when it comes to their attacker. That alone doesn’t lend itself to discounting her story, not at all, but if you read the story in full, you’ll see some things that make you wonder what the truth is.
While Tara now says she left her employment because she was frozen out, when she was telling her story about another man, her husband, he was the one responsible for her departure from Biden’s office; she says she left to live her life with him.
Soon I received an offer to work on a Governor’s race in California and I almost accepted. Tate kept me up that night, pleading with me to go with him while he managed the Congressman’s campaign. I agreed and we moved to the frozen tundra of the Midwest. I would not even last a full winter.
Why has the blame shifted to Joe Biden? Which story is true? Does it even matter?
I don’t know the answer to the first two questions, but I do know the answer to the last; yes, it does matter. It matters because much of her story hinges on the poor treatment she says she received, the fact that she says she was frozen out for rejecting the advances of a powerful Senator, and that she found herself unable to find another job, thus forcing her to leave DC. As if that weren’t enough, Tara has given at least one more reason for her departure from DC, and boy is it an interesting one.
I resigned my position and took myself out of the Washington DC beltway. Why? First, I started as an actor in classical theatre, an artist and writer before Washington DC. This work in the arts has always been my first love and best vocation. Second, I saw the reckless imperialism of America and the pain it caused through out the world. Third, I love Russia with all my heart. I love the people, the history, the culture and even my attempts to learn the language. I could not stand to watch the deception and xenophobia that came from my own American government. It is so sad and destructive to revile another culture or country for no reason but economic gain.
What the hell is going on here? We have three discrete narratives that are completely independent of each other; if one story is true, then the other two are not. And if one of her earlier stories is true, then the tale she tells about being frozen out of her position collapses. Do we believe her original story, the one unconnected to current events? Do we believe story number 2, the one where she expresses her love for Russia and disgust at America? Or do we believe this new story, the one that popped up right in time to derail Biden, if only she could get Democratic activists and women solidly in her corner? I don’t know. I do know she retracted the one about Russia, saying basically that she had immersed herself in all things Russia and an Oliver Stone documentary, and that caused her to say those unwonderful and untrue things.
Ms. Reade indicates here that her story about leaving DC due to Love for Russia was, in fact, false, and she told that tale because she had been writing a novel and immersed herself in “Russia stuff” for her work. This is one of the main reasons I don’t believe her story; it wasn’t until she immersed herself fully into Bernie fandom culture that her accusations escalated beyond the same ones being made by everyone else who accused Joe of improper touching.
I find it baffling that people aren’t more skeptical of a story from someone who admits they lied and made up a false story because of being influenced by immersion in “Russia Stuff”, when their new story contains new accusations against the opponent of the man, Bernie Sanders, whose fandom culture she has been immersed in for months.
Then we get this…
Why was timing her accusation so important to Ms. Reade? Why does it appear that she was timing it for maximum impact? When have you ever witnessed a rape victim timing their story’s release for a time when they were likely to get the most attention, do any of us really want attention from the media in that contrived way? Sure, we want to be heard, yet most of us aren’t super interested in media appearances, unless we plan on filing a case against them or want to warn other women to watch out for this predator. I have not witnessed Reade show concern for others who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Joe Biden, I haven’t even witnessed her call for other victims to come forward.
If we go back to the fall of 2019, Tara was trying to make a completely different case about Biden, one involving his son and Ukraine, along with some mysterious crime she continuously implies he was involved in when she was employed with his office.
Here Tara is trying a completely different tactic; rather than accuse Biden of sexual assault, she claims to have something to say about what she “saw” rather than what she supposedly experienced. She claims to have told 2 supervisors and Senate Personnel about seeing something that cause her to be silenced and lose her job.
Here again, she is making ominous claims about something that was witnessed, something she saw, and it doesn’t speak well for her credibility.
Again, here she is, this time reaching out to the Trump White House, pushing for a criminal investigation of Biden for something unknown having to do with Ukraine. She also complains about a blog writing an unflattering story about her, as if she has no idea why her writings about Russia and Putin wouldn’t be viewed as suspect by her fellow Americans, especially considering the election interference in 2016.
By March, she seems to have settled on her story about Joe Biden sexually assaulting her; these new tweets were completely different in substance than any others before. To some there is no issue with Tara and her ever changing story-line, or the frantic way she appeared to seek attention.
They say memory is tricky, that we cannot conclude she is lying simply because she cannot remember where or when this incident happened, while every other fellow rape victim (unless they are unconscious or some other factor makes this impossible) can remember exactly where they were; they have no choice but to remember, and many wish they could forget. They say it is trauma that causes her to forget where she was, yet remember every single word he said to her in that unknown location. That she recalls the exact dialog between herself and her mother while forgetting what time of year this occurred is suppose to be ignored, inconsistencies brushed away, and the denials of all other staff of her reporting this to them are also to be ignored. Yet, there is one thing I cannot ignore, and it is a feature I have never experienced being missing from any narrative of any other victim I have met in my life is missing from Tara and her story. Concern for other women.
“Other people got different treatment with less cooperation,” Reade said in a phone call over the weekend, describing her experience of coming forward as one that has rattled her faith in the political system. “I can’t tell you that feeling of sort of abandonment, just existentially. Because of who my perpetrator is, there’s silence.”
Wat. Everyone gets treated like absolute trash, even the #MeToo women, with the increased solidarity it brings, got trashed and still do. Dr. Blasey-Ford expected attacks and had to go into hiding because of death threats; she has only appeared in public twice since testifying. Also? This is curious. The political system isn’t the system victims normally utilize to obtain justice for a crime committed against them, and one would expect a lawyer to know that we use the legal system for such matters.
Reade said she feels abandoned by a party that she had long considered herself a part of and stymied by circumstances that she feels leave some people reluctant to take her claims seriously.
It is as if Reade is from another planet or a naive young girl who has not experience the bitter taste of rape culture and felt the weight of misogyny pushing her down for all the decades she’s been on this earth. This brings to mind another issue with Tara’s tales; why would Tara leave Joe Biden’s name off of the police report that she obtained on April 9th?
Tara Reade filed a report with the police and there is not much in it at all, not even Joe Biden’s name, though she does say there is a longer version where she gave a detailed accounting that is pages long.
Theories for why Biden would not be named as her assailant range from the probable, yet unknown (filing false reports is illegal, so she couldn’t name him), to the highly inappropriate, yet unknown (she is being paid to do this).
Personally, I believe someone who has a Juris Doctor after their name shouldn’t be less savvy than a layman like myself on how to go about maneuvering within the justice system and get closure, some measure of it, even for an incident from so long ago. In fact, for one who completed Law School, Reade appears both completely inept and calculatingly contrived when it comes to how she is using the system, and using #MeToo & #BelieveWomen as shields from questions about her inconsistencies, changing story-line, and lack of corroboration from her office colleagues. By not naming Biden she prevents opening herself up to having to give sworn statements, testify under oath, or being sued herself for defamation.
Another thing… Why report to the DC Metro Police rather than Capitol Police? I was under the impression, from that time some Berniebro falsely reported me to the FBI and I was contacted by the Capitol Police, that the Capitol Police had jurisdiction over the Capitol Building and the entire Capitol Complex. Indeed, it is little things such as this that causes my hackles to rise, raises my shade eyebrow, and skepticalizes my entire face. And then there is the “Look at me!” aspect of it all, the conflicting stories by those she says she told at the time, and her being more concerned with shutting people down on Twitter who are skeptical than in actually pursuing a case.
To date 21 former staff members who were working there at the time have been contacted by AP, and to date not one recalls any incident of sexual harassment, or of Tara mentioning anything to them; not even a warning to the other young women working there. I find that troubling. I was always told by other women, often older, though sometimes younger, who I needed to avoid in the office, who was grabby, who was going to try to date me or fuck me or play me. I listened.
Two interns, other office employees, Melissa Lefko, a former staff assistant (who said she did not remember Ms. Reade), Denis Toner, Ted Kaufman, and Biden’s assistant Marianne Baker (who Reade says she complained to) all say they were never told of any sexual harassment or abuse. The complaint Reade’s says she file has not been located and she said she wasn’t given a copy, and if you listen to the interviews with NPR and Katie Halper, she indicates filing more reports, yet again, nothing has turned up. There is one friend, who insists on remaining anonymous, that says she was told at the time about an assault, along with Tara’s brother, who remembered being told about Biden putting his hand under her clothing a few days after his interview. They partially back her claims up, yet even the brother doesn’t corroborate the penetration aspect of her story.
In another recent interview, Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton, said she told him in 1993 that Biden had behaved inappropriately by touching her neck and shoulders. Their mother urged Reade to contact the police, Moulton said, adding that he felt “ashamed now for not being a better advocate” for his sister. Several days after that interview, he said in a text message that he recalled her telling him that Biden had put his hand “under her clothes.”
The Washington Post has a story on Reade, and this one ALSO gave me pause for some of the details. Reade said she felt “shut down” by the writer of the article in The Union, and so did not share her experience with sexual assault at the hands of Joe Biden. Yet…Why didn’t she reveal this sexual assault to the Washington Post?
The Post has interviewed Reade on multiple occasions — both this year and last — as well as people she says she told of the assault claim and more than a half-dozen former staffers of Biden’s Senate office. In interviews with The Post last year, Reade said that Biden had touched her neck and shoulders but did not mention the alleged assault or suggest there was more to the story. She faulted his staff, calling Biden “a male of his time, a very powerful senator, and he had people around saying it was okay.”
Did the Post also shut her down and not allow her to tell her story? There has to be some reason her accusations escalated, yet the only conclusions I can reach are not pretty.
I’ll just say until she clears this jumble of madness up, I don’t believe her because I CAN’T believe her, her actions have made her unbelievable.
There are a number of reasons why women lie, again, I am not saying she is definately lying about the assault, but as things stand, it’s not looking like she’s ever going to clear up anymore of her inconsistent statements.
Material gain: to receive money, professional promotion or other material benefits.
Producing an alibi: a false allegation is used to cover up other behaviour, such as being late or absent to an appointment.
Revenge: to retaliate against a disliked person by damaging the reputation, freedom or finances.
Attention: an attempt to receive any kind of attention, positive or negative, by anyone.
Sympathy: a special kind of attention-seeking whereby the complainant tries to improve a personal relationship with a specific individual.
‘A disturbed mental state’; this may include false memories (“sexual hallucinations”) or pathologic lying.
Relabeling: consensual sex is relabeled ‘rape’ to the police, because of its ‘disappointing or shameful character’. De Zutter et al. argue that a distinction should be made between some acts during a consensual sexual encounter that a participant did not want or had no desire to engage in but nonetheless gave consent to (e.g., to please their partner) on the one hand, and rape (nonconsensual sex) on the other, but that many lay people and even some scholars do not make this distinction and confuse the two. It is often when accounts of such ‘unwanted consensual sex’ are told to friends and family that the latter interpret it as rape, and put the complainant under pressure to file an allegation.
Regret: after having had consensual sex, a complainant experiences negative feelings such as disgust, shame, and sorrow; when others notice this and ask about the source of these negative feelings, they are prone to view the encounter as rape and put the complainant under pressure to file an allegation.
I won’t get into which reason I would guess this case falls under, I am just reminding you that believing women only goes so far, especially when there is weak or non-existent corroboration, conflicting statements, or another reason to doubt someone’s claims.
It happens. A woman will share her story and it will give us pause; many of us felt this way during the Duke Lacross Team Affair; we did not believe her. We were right. We felt the same during the Hofstra Affair, and once again; we were right. Neither time did my disbelief come from my perception of the young men involved, honestly, I didn’t pay them much attention. My disbelief came from the women and how they told their stories, and also how their stories changed over time. When you are raped there is only one story: The Truth. The truth never changes, it can’t. The truth does not bend to our will, and it is also never convenient.
Before I go, let me state clearly that I do not know if Tara Reade is lying, I only know that she has not convinced me, and I’m a rather easy touch. I supported Kamala Harris first, and while I have never subscribed to the idea that we must Believe Every Woman No Matter What, I advocate taking women seriously, because factually, most women are telling the truth. Rape, at it’s lowest estimate has about a 1.5% rate of false allegations, I get that number from Theilade and Thompson’s 1986 study, and at its highest the rate is 10.9%, that number is from a study by Harris and Grace in 1999. In my opinion, the first figure is likely the more accurate number, rape is very difficult to discuss, and most women would not be wiling to put themselves through that hell of reporting unless there were conviction and truth on their side. Nevertheless, there will always be that one or two women out of a hundred who are absolutely full of shit. It happens.
It also happens that inconsistent stories are told, yet the women are telling the truth about the attack, but for various reasons they did not tell the truth about some of the events, or they are just people who have told many lies in their lives. This doesn’t mean nothing happened to them, it doesn’t mean they were not completely honest about the most important part, it just means there will be skepticism, fewer people will believe, and even fewer will rally for them. I hope Ms. Reade is able to clear up much of this mess, it’s not easy to tell your story, especially to the media about a powerful man, and by the same token, it’s very hard to disprove an assault occurred 30 years later if you happen to be the man in question. There are no easy answers in this case, and since Ms. Reade is the one speaking out, she will be the one asked the most questions, as was the case with Dr. Blasey-Ford. It happens.