The Powerful Do Not Get a Pass on Sexual Abuse

We have seen the recent articles concerning former Vice President Joseph Biden (written previous to 2020 election) allegedly sexually attacking one of his aides over twenty-five years ago. The recent articles in The Guardian, The Nation Magazine, Salon, and Huffington Post provide a variety of analyses. The articles have raised a storm of wrangling in the comment section.

The Apologists

The apologists for Biden say Trump sexually abused more, so, in comparison, Biden is OK. Advocates for survivors call out the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party hierarchy and their double standard. Joining in the mix are the partisan and Russian trolls who muddy every exchange.

The powerful do not get a pass. Why doesn’t the Democratic Party throw Biden out like they did Sen. Franklin? How can those who viciously attacked Justice Kavanaugh for sexual abuse and then turn around and say Joe Biden should get a free pass? Because he is better than Trump? Not only is this argument hypocritical, but it is also insulting and disturbing.


The accuser, Ms. Reade has two people verify her account at the time. How does her accusation fail yet Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of Judge Kavanaugh must be believed? Both were based upon past historic events buttressed witnesses they told at the time.

The difference appears to be that one is criticizing a Republican and one criticizing a Democrat. Moral values and principle compel us to use the same criteria of belief for both Ms. Ford and Ms. Reade. Powerful politicians do not get a pass when they sexually attack their staff.

Cowards and Hypocrites

There is an easy answer as to why doesn’t the Democratic Party throw Biden out like they did Sen. Franklin. The Democratic Party hierarchies are cowards and have no moral center; their partisan politics overrule moral character.

The Uneven Road to Disclosure

I am a survivor, advocate, and activist. I am well aware that disclosure of rape and sexual assault is not a smooth or easy process. History and memories are uneven. Guilt, shame, humiliation, outside public shaming, all deform the presentation of the sexual abuse. This causes the victim to disclose part to one friend, disclosure of some other part to others, and, maybe the most limited sharing to public entities and organizations.

Such mixed disclosure of circumstances is very common with those sexually abused. It is not a refutation of the facts, just the human experience of trauma diffused in the telling.

Don’t let the oppressive ideology, culture, and language of sexual abuse in America be used against a victim.


April 26, 2020