Tuesday, April 14, 2020

F**k you, Michelle Goldberg and the anti-woman pony you rode in on

Back in November of 2017, Michelle Goldberg wrote a column entitled "I Believe Juanita."  I gave Michelle credit for writing it in real time.  I might  have noted that Michelle could have helped Juanita Broaddrick at any time by noting it before then -- long before then.

Ava and I have covered Juanita.  Ava has an excuse -- I don't -- and that would be the fact that she wasn't even an adult when Juanita Broaddrick came forward to reveal that she was raped by Bill Clinton.  I believe Juanita.

I believe Bill had, in his mind, rough sex with Juanita Broaddrick.  I believe he crossed a line and he raped her.

I'm not Ava, I wasn't a child when Juanita came forward.  I wasn't in the country, I was out of the country before it started and when  I came back Juanita had already had the tiny moment that the US media was going to give her.  I don't think I ever even heard her name after I was back in the country for the rest of that decade.

I became aware of her in the '00s.  I didn't rush to find out anything.  I'm focused on Iraq, blah, blah, blah.

But in May of 2016, Ava and I did look into what had been reported.  And we made it an issue at THIRD.  We have returned to the topic many times since -- here and at THIRD.

I have noted that the country was just exhausted -- from impeachment and Bill's affair with Monica Lewinsky and his lies about that affair -- and there was a just sense of move on.  I have even falsely said that was my reaction until a friend reminded me that I left when impeachment was about to start and I didn't return until months after it was over.

I'm sorry that Juanita didn't get the hearing she deserved.  I'm sorry she was belittled and made fun of.  That's to be expected when you step into the public square, I know.  But she really didn't have the champion that she needed.

Tara Reade has accused Joe Biden of assault.

Some will say rape.  I won't argue with them on that term.

I'm not minimizing what she said happened.  I'm pointing out that we have evolved.  And so when people attack her and say, "Well she says she called it harassment and not assault back then!"

Well, others could have called it the same thing in 1993.  Her mother attempted to correct that with her.  You can't do that.  If you know anyone who's survived rape or assault, you know when they are talking about it, when they are addressing their pain, you don't tell them what happened.

I have a friend who showed up at my home at three in the morning back in 199* (*blurring year because a child's involved and I don't want friends speculating about who I've written of).  She was in tears.  She described what happened.  A man she'd met at a party had asked her out.  They'd gone out with a group.  He revealed himself to be no one she would date or like.  So that was it.  Three weeks later, hours before she came to my house, he crawled through her window (backyard window that she'd had open because she loved fresh air), went into her bedroom where she was sleeping and -- her words -- "had sex with me."  She woke up and began hitting him -- not even knowing who it was at first -- but she couldn't get him off -- or out -- and he finished what he was doing and then left.

As she told me what happened, she then began saying, "It wasn't rape."

And that's because she believed she couldn't be raped.  Only weak women get raped, that had always been her opinion.  That opinion, by the way, doesn't justify what happened to her and it wasn't 'well I guess she learned' time either.

Regardless of her opinion on that or anything else, she didn't 'ask' to be raped, she didn't 'deserve' to be raped.

But my point here is that I could -- and did -- talk about going to the ER and going to the police -- noting that he broke into her homes.

It was not my place to tell someone who is dealing with rape -- and, yes, she was dealing with it even then while in denial -- that they need to call it rape.  It is not my role -- or anyone else's -- to interpret a violent experience for someone who is still dealing with it.

Now in therapy, they can do that.  People are trained in raising topics like that.

But with a woman who's just been raped, hours ago, it's not my role as a friend to insist that she call it "rape."  She needs to process it on her own.

So, in 1993, some people would not have considered what Joe is alleged to have done to Tara rape (they would have at least considered it -- as she did then -- harassment)

It may take some survivors years to come to terms with what was done to them -- and that's with the help of trained therapists.

A survivor does not have to come out with something on your terms or as you would do.

Michelle Goldberg has a new column: "What To Do With Tara Reade's Allegation Against Joe Biden?" -- link goes not to THE NEW YORK TIMES but to THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

Michelle doesn't know who to believe.  That's fine.  Feminism doesn't require you to believe anyone.  She can wait it out and, maybe someday, maybe twenty years too late (as she was with Juanita), she may come to an opinion.  She may never.  And that's fine and that can be feminism.

But here's what not fine, here's what's never fine and is never, ever feminism:

There have been a number of sneering columns accusing liberal feminists of hypocrisy for not championing Reade as fervently as they did Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed, during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination fight, that he’d sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. It’s a sly rhetorical move that dares feminists to violate their own ideals by publicly weighing one woman’s credibility against another.
The truth is, if Ford had been so inconsistent in telling her story, feminists might still have believed her, but they likely wouldn’t have made her a cause célèbre, and Democrats on Capitol Hill never would have invited her to testify publicly. Advocates for victims of sexual harassment and assault would worry that using such an ambiguous case as a political weapon would undermine their cause.

Personally, I’m just left with doubt: doubt about Biden and doubt about the charges against him. But the one thing I have little doubt about is the bad faith of those using this strange, sad story to hector feminists into pretending to a certainty they have no reason to feel.

No one's hectoring you to feel anything.  You're being called out on hypocrisy, Michelle.

I never believed Christine Blasey Ford.  I never made it my point to trash her here. As a feminist, I am required to support her right to tell her story and to get a fair shake in the media.  In most cases, I believe the victim.  She's one of the few I have not been able to believe.  I didn't attack her.  I didn't drag her through the mud.  And if she'd needed support getting her story out, I would have helped.

She didn't, though.  Her story was shaky and yet the press accepted it as gospel and ran with it.

As a feminist, I know the default position is to not believe a woman who says she was raped.

If a woman's come forward to tell her story and she's getting beat up for doing so, it's my job to stand up and say "NO!"

This is not open to debate.

I am not a deity nor do I have some crystal ball to gaze into and see what happened in the past.

It is my job to be supportive of women who come forward.

Do I have to believe them?


I don't know right now who's telling the truth between Tara Reade herself and Joe Biden's campaign.

I have no idea.

But I do know that Tara's being ripped apart.  Visit Pig Boy Ken Olin's Twitter thread and you'll find that Tara is someone who looks like she'd take money from the GOP and she's someone who could be a Russian asset and she's this and she's that --

As a feminist, it is my job to say, "Oh, hell no."  It is my job to say, "This is the allegation and let's judge that."

I said visit Ken Olin's Twitter thread -- but you don't have to.

You can just read Michelle's anti-feminist column.

"Wacky."  That's the word she uses to describe (insinuate) about Tara.  She brings up Russia for reasons unknown.  Russia has nothing to do with the charge of assault.  Tara was not in Russia with Joe.

That has nothing to do with anything.

Equally true, no feminist should ever include a comment or claim that a man is innocent of what a woman has accused him of -- not when the man didn't say it himself.

Joe Biden has not said one damn word.  The media needs to stop quoting his campaign.

And feminists need to start demanding that he respond.

Assault is a serious charge.

But apparently Michelle Golberg doesn't think so because while she smears Tara for this and for that, she never makes the basic point that if someone's innocent of a charge, they usually have a great deal to say.

It's not raking Joe Biden over the coals to note that he has refused to speak to this topic.

Are we saying assault and rape don't really matter?

Is the topic so beneath him that he doesn't need to respond to it.

Stop quoting his campaign or some statement issued.  He can go on camera from his own damn basement and release a statement from his own damn mouth.

Juanita never got that, Michelle.  You do grasp that, don't you?

Bill Clinton hid behind a spokesperson to avoid ever speaking on the topic.

And now you're going to let Joe Biden get away with that too?

I'm a feminist.  I don't let people treat assault and rape as accusations that don't have to be answered to.

Michelle, you need to be ashamed of yourself.

You actually typed this sentence as a reason not to believe Tara: "She also told The Union, a California newspaper, last year that she didn’t feel sexualized."

Rape isn't about sex -- it's never about sex.  How stupid are you, Michelle?  It's not about sex.  A woman who has been raped or assaulted has not been "sexualized."  Put down your PENTHOUSE FORUM and other rape-porn.

She has been traumatized.

She has been terrorized.

Michelle, repeating, how stupid are you?

What Tara Tweeted about Putin is not relevant.  Nor is some blog post she wrote about him.  And terming her writing "public worship" of Putin is beyond stupid.

I just titled this piece ("F**k you, Michelle Goldberg and the anti-woman pony you rode in on").  I was hoping this would be a dispassionate piece where I could stay calm and work my way through it.

But I can't.

Juanita didn't get the support she needed.  I can say I'm sorry here.  Juanita, you deserved to be heard and I do believe you.  I'm sorry I wasn't there when it counted.

That's all I can do for Juanita.

But I can help future Juanitas by refusing to let another woman get attacked while trying to tell her story.

Michelle is attacking Tara -- words like "fringe" and "wacky" and so much more.  I think I prefer a pig boy like James Carville to Michelle.  James will just blast his sexism without a care.  Michelle hides her own sexism in the pretense of caring and reason.

Tara Reade may be lying through her teeth.  I have no idea.

What I do know is she's making a very serious allegation and that allegation deserves to be considered and heard.  It is not feminism to mock or ridicule her.

You want to do that after we have a serious public debate?  I'm not going to have a problem with that.  I don't demand that you believe her.

I do demand that you focus on the allegations.

I do demand that you stop attacking her.

I do demand that you stop defocusing with comments on Russia and every other thing under the sun.

I especially demand that you stop saying that Joe Biden has denied the allegations because he hasn't.

That's offensive.  It's offensive because who wouldn't deny it if it were a lie and it's offensive because he's a politician running for the highest office in the US and seems to think that topics like rape and assault are beneath him i.e. women don't matter.

That's what it says.

"Let it blow over, we'll just issue statements from the campaign, Joe."

Grasp that when a man asked Joe if he wanted to take away people's guns, Joe responded with cursing and threats.

But he's accused of assault and he has no comment?

I find that strange.  I find that very strange.

Until Joe Biden addresses this subject with his own mouth, every report on the allegations should include what Tara has stated and then include this sentence, "Thus far, former Vice President Biden has not commented publicly."

Because he hasn't.  Things issued by the campaign are not statements from Joe's mouth -- for one thing, the press releases proceed logically from one sentence to the next.

In 2017, Michelle wanted you to know that she believed Juanita.  Too little too late?  Possibly.  And I've got a finger pointing at myself on that one too.  But the difference here, Michelle, is that I will fight for any woman to be heard.  And I will step up and defend a woman from attacks that have nothing to do with her allegations but are being repeated to try to discredit her so no one will take her accusation seriously.

Tara Reade has a made a serious allegation.  Feminists should be in agreement on that and on the fact that it requires a serious hearing in the public square and it requires a response from Joe Biden himself -- not a read out from one of his flunkies.