The political quagmire that is the result of accuser Tara Reade making allegations of sexual assault against Joe Biden raises a lot of questions that are simply begging for answers. These answers are vital to advancing the movement and expanding third party support for survivors generally.
As activists we are duty bound to seek these answers and detail the considerations to allow the survivors we support to have the best information possible. We also need to demonstrate that we are more than just ideologically driven demagogues. The first step in this process is to gather the basic facts.
Donald Trump is currently the US President and has proven to be detrimental to the rights and well being of women generally. We could also include the environment and the rule of law generally as having suffered under Trump's presidency. Trump has been accused of sexual assault by a number of women.
Joe Biden is the leading candidate in the US Democratic primaries and if successful will face off against Trump in the upcoming US elections. Unfortunately Joe Biden is a confirmed crosser of boundaries who states he has reformed but is now currently facing accusations that are transitioning Biden from pest to predator in the eyes of many.
Tara Reade is a former staffer of Joe Biden who claims she was sexually harassed and assaulted by Joe Biden in 1993. Tara Reade's recent accusations have divided the anti- sexual abuse activism community for various reasons and now sit in the middle of the US / global politic. This leads us to the position where we as activists have to make choices.
The first thing to recognize is that generally speaking we as activists and or survivors have to make choices between unpleasant outcomes and nasty outcomes. The statements we make and the actions we take have serious and far reaching consequences. If we are not seen to be aware of that reality we are seen as incompetent at best or dangerous at worst.
Every situation has to be judged on its own merits according to its own circumstances. The entire believe "survivors / women" by default ideology is eating into this movement like a cancer.
Conversely the rape machine wants all survivors treated as liars by default and to resolve that conflict, we as activists need to form consensus and act according to what is required not what we think we may want.
Although nearly all activists are survivors most survivors are not activists. For those of us who are activists, it is important to never lose sight of the fact that when we present as survivors we are presenting from a position of self interest and as activists we are representing the needs of others.
This situation is about the wellbeing of others and so must be addressed from the activist viewpoint. As activists we cannot afford to think as survivors. It is this ability to separate the two dynamics that makes a quality activist. A prime example of this is as follows:
The Profane Feminist is clearly putting her own issues as a survivor to one side to stay focused on her activism goals and the wider issues.
Feminist High Priestess Sam also has her focus on the wider issues and raises very relevant points that cannot be simply dismissed without addressing. It is clear that we as activists are conflicted as the result of the invidious situation that we are tasked with responding to.
Yet respond to it we must. Why? There is no one else who both can and will do it. On that basis I will now raise the issues that surround the case of Reade v Biden and what they mean for us as activists in the field.
The fact is I am never prepared to take a person based solely on their word in the absence of supporting evidence. That would require me to trust people. I do not trust people. There is no automatic right of claim on an activists trust, only our reasonable consideration.
Tara Reade has stepped forward to make allegations against Joe Biden. Having regard for the circumstances that apply what rights can be reasonably claimed by Tara Reade as far as the movement is concerned?
First we must be clear as to Tara Reade's actual role in this matter. The fact is Tara Reade's primary role in this matter is accuser not survivor. A survivor who is seeking support as a survivor will generally receive unqualified support for the most part.
An accuser on the other hand is a different consideration as the accuser is essentially asking us as a movement to act in support of him / her against the interests of another named party who has their own inherent rights inconvenient as that can be.
In this case the situation is severely aggravated by the fact that acting against the interests of the named party in question could well result in a significant liability to women and various other interests globally.
The law looks at certain matters when actions are being decided against individuals. Did the accused do it? If so does punishing the accused serve the public interest? It seems evident to me that this model should form the basis of our activist considerations when faced with these matters.
The question in this case is whether supporting Tara Reade's allegations serves the interests of the wider survivor community. Supporting Tara Reade the survivor is one thing but supporting Tara Reade the accuser is another.
We all need to remember is that our demographic is hated and despised by the majority of people who see us an inconvenience at the best of times. The public do not want to listen let alone act in a way that will likely be detrimental to their own world view and position.
Therefore any excuse we give them through our own actions to dismiss us will be seized upon with unseemly enthusiasm.
If we as activists do not clearly demonstrate that we have a commitment to and an understanding of what is required in the public interest we will never achieve wide public support.
We as activists are required to put aside the survivor aspect of ourselves and judge and act upon the information provided with no consideration for fear or favor. Having said that we as activists are not required to pick up on every allegation that appears in the public forum.
At the time of this writing Alyssa Milano is being subjected to heavy criticism for her decision not to comment on the Reade v Biden case. It is true that Alyssa Milano is not immune to opposing political views and criticism yet it is also true that Alyssa as an activist does not have to act against the dictates of her own judgement.
It is truth that Alyssa is a survivor, actress, activist and mother not some Bot to be treated like a public facility. I say this because the way Alyssa is treated as an activist is a concern for all activists in my view.
Tara Reade has come to us through public disclosure with her allegations. Tara Reade is essentially a survivor who is now an accuser on public record. There is an expectation that the movement and activists generally will get behind supporting those allegations on the basis of the mantra #BelieveWomen.
Tara Reade as an accuser has exercised her right to raise allegations but as an accuser her position is one of self interest. An accuser is saying to us as a movement that what has happened to her is so bad and wrong that all other considerations become secondary to addressing the accusations in question.
It is reality that whenever any person calls upon others to assist them with anything they seek to achieve that there is a cost that comes with that. To rightfully claim assistance the accuser has the obligation to adhere to basic standards in matters of timing and evidence.
The problem I see here is that Tara Reade's allegations, even if truthful, do not meet the public interest test as a direct result of Ms Reade's own actions. It must be remembered that Tara Reade is a woman with considerable life and political experience.
Having regard for those facts the question of the timing of these allegations becomes a relevant consideration. The "MeToo" movement has been around for two and a half years. On the 3rd of April 2019 Joe Biden responded to allegations of inappropriate behavior.
The question that springs to mind is why Tara Reade did not make her allegations at the time the Metoo movement was running hot and allegations against Joe Biden were front and centre in the media.
Apparently the sight of a man who "raped" her making statements in the media that would amount to a snow job was not enough of a trigger to cause her to step forward. All of a sudden we now have these allegations presented for reasons that are far from clear.
The issue that I see is that Tara Reade has timed her allegations in a way that has caused significant issues for survivors generally. Of course Tara Reade has the right to raise her allegations but the consequences of her chosen timing cannot be ignored.
The question becomes does supporting Tara Reade as an accuser meet the public (survivor) interest? My conclusion is that important consideration has not been met. As activists we are required to act in a way that serves the interests of survivors generally.
Like it or not the fact of being a survivor does not entitle any individual to unreasonably demand their own requirements take precedence over the wellbeing of survivors as a whole. To argue that Tara Reade has the right to be believed just because she says so cripples the ability of activists to argue claims that have solid evidence behind them.
Everything that comes out of our mouths can be dismissed by the rape machine under the pretext that we take the word of accusers even if the evidence points to the vindication of the accused. The rape machine takes great comfort from that fact.
It is also highly relevant that the allegations in question are not meeting the evidential standard required. Not even close. As my other work to date shows I go right into people's allegations in search of the truth.
I note that I have yet to come across a single Silence Breaker whose story did not add up so far. The question is how to address the various concerns without falling into the rape culture trap. A stark example is the Melissa Schuman case.
In the case of Melissa Schuman, her detractors have argued that a couple of statements made by Melissa that were positive about Nick Carter amounted to evidence that shows she is lying. I refuted those allegations by demonstrating that Melissa was merely keeping up appearances.
Tara Reade has apparently made positive comments about Joe Biden which are now counting against her. Is it not true that Tara's situation is the same as Melissa Schuman's then? The answer to that is no.
According to the article provided here Tara Reade made positive affirmations of the work Joe Biden has done to combat sexual abuse in 2017.
There is a powerful and fundamental difference between putting on an appearance for appearances sake like Melissa Schuman did and Tara Reade actively promoting the man she is accusing as a champion for the sexually abused.
All things being equal if Reade's allegations are factual then it seems evident that Tara Reade was willing to promote a rapist as a being an asset to the movement and is now presenting to the movement as a victim in need of support.
I simply cannot reconcile the concept that any reasonable person would laud their assailant in this manner. If it was the case that Tara Reade was in fact sexually assaulted by Joe Biden then the inescapable conclusion is that Tara Reade willingly promoted a sexual offender as a hero of the cause.
Then there is the fact that Tara Reades allegations have changed over time without reasonable excuse. It is well accepted that adult accusers who change their stories (Jimmy Bennett for example) are not credible accusers.
I note that I have not seen any examples of any Silence Breaker who has changed their story in a material way. It is for this reason and more I have not had any issue with supporting various Breakers in their quest for justice and vindication.
However if I decided to run with Tara Reade's allegations on the basis of the evidence to date then I would be rendered ineffective as an activist by embracing the demagoguery that is the #BelieveWomen mantra.
The allegations made are not supported by the evidence. In fact the evidence points against the accuser in this instance. Labeling Joe Biden a rapist on the basis of the evidence provided is not supported and is harmful to survivors generally.
Activists are not dogs who bark at the command of anyone who snaps their fingers. We have obligations to the movement and the victims we support. We are not required to act against our own judgement. That right extends to Alyssa Milano for the record.
The only safe conclusion that I can reasonably reach is that the allegations against Joe Biden are unsupported, the accuser has changed her story and she lauded her "rapist" as a champion for the sexually abused. All this without even taking into account the political conflict of interest that is evident as well.
The article provided is evidence based and not merely just another enabler effort to denigrate a victim. Having regard for the allegations presented and the timing and actions of the accuser in this matter I can only conclude that activist support for Tara Reade is not in the public (survivor) interest.
There is a division in our community over this matter. Many survivors support Biden while others just as vocal oppose him. In this case of survivors v survivors the only relevant decider is the evidence in the case. It is my view that the evidence to date does not support Tara Reade's allegations and we must act in response accordingly.