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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Thursday, August 20, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Biden Accuser Tara Reade Blasts DNC, Says 'RAPE CULTURE Thriving' Under Democratic Party
Biden accuser said she would 'absolutely' speak at GOP convention upon an invitation
WHAT ABOUT HER?
Joseph A. Wulfsohn
EXCLUSIVE:Tara Reade, who rocked the presidential primary race early this year with sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden before her story faded from the headlines in the face of adamant denials, voiced disappointment in the Democratic Party's handling of claims from her and other survivors as its convention draws to a close.
As the former vice president prepares to formally accept the Democratic nomination Thursday night, Reade discussed her thoughts on the convention program, her experience since coming forward with allegations and more in an interview with Fox News. She said witnessing figures celebrate the man she claims sexually assaulted her has been "traumatizing."
And she said the party has been "complicit" in what she described as "gaslighting" survivors.
"I've communicated with other people who are watching this who had very visceral reactions to what's happening and how sexual assault survivors. ... We're being gaslighted, right, collectively," Reade told Fox News. "They're pretending that they're the upholders of the 'Me Too' like a shield but meanwhile, some of their main Democratic elites, some of the main powerful people involved with the party are actually perpetrators themselves. And it's this denial, collective denial and gaslighting of survivors, that's been so concerning to me.
"And frankly, I think the Democratic National Committee is complicit because they're not just ignoring it. They're participating in it ... and enabling those perpetrators," she said.
Fox News has reached out to the DNC and Biden campaign on Reade's comments but has not received a response.
Reade called the inclusion, for instance, of former President Bill Clinton -- who has also been accused of sexual misconduct and assault and has denied those claims -- in the DNC speaker lineup "pretty unconscionable" and a "slap in the face to survivors."
"I'm a sexual assault survivor, so to me, what the speaker lineup showed is kind of like a thumb in all of our faces. It was ... really disappointing," Reade said. "Rape culture in the United States is thriving under the Democratic Party. I feel that they are not only enabling but they are allowing that behavior to continue just by virtue of who they lined up as speakers who have credible sexual assault and harassment allegations against them and I feel like there's an abandonment of the voices that are trying to be heard that really wanted systemic change."
Biden allies, however, have sharply challenged the credibility of Reade's claims ever since she came forward.
In March, Reade accused Biden of sexual assault when she served as a staffer in his Senate office back in 1993. She had previously come forward with seven other women in April 2019, accusing the future Democratic nominee of inappropriate touching.
Both Biden and his campaign have repeatedly denied her claims.
"They should start out with the presumption they are telling the truth, then you have to look at the circumstances and the facts," Biden said in an interview at the time regarding the merits of such accusations, but added that, in this case, "There’s so many inconsistencies."
Among them is Reade's escalation from claiming inappropriate touching to sexual assault.
Numerous reports since Reade came forward have appeared to challenge her credibility ranging from accounts of past interactions with landlords who described her as "deceitful" and "manipulative" regarding her failure to pay rent to accounts of her participation in past court cases in California as a "domestic violence expert witness" where claims she had made under oath were being revisited.
Reade suggested such reports were "bait-and-switch" as part of the media's effort to not address what she said happened to her in 1993.
Reade accused some in the media of taking a biased approach to her claims. "Many of those so-called feminist writers have just left me standing alone," Reade told Fox News. "And it's been isolating and frightening and heartbreaking."
In recent days, Reade had openly expressed interest in speaking at either the Democratic National Convention or the Republican National Convention upon an invitation to discuss women's issues and sexual assault so that it's easier for victims to come forward.
"We need to figure out a different way to have the conversation," Reade said regarding what she would say. "It's not so much about 'believing' someone before it's been investigated. It's more about how it's approached. For instance, in my case, you shouldn't have to lose everything to come forward. You should be able to tell your history of what happened without your life being destroyed and your family's life being destroyed."
She noted she was a "lifelong Democrat," and described her experience as "excruciating ... because I want to continue to have the representatives to vote for by my belief system."
Reade said her offer to speak at the GOP convention next week is "absolutely" on the table, saying she would be "more than happy to do so."
"I think survivors need a voice and I would be humbled and honored to help raise and lift that voice if that's possible," Reade added.
She stressed that sexual assault is a "nonpartisan issue" and perpetrators come from every party.
"What I find really astounding has been the hypocrisy around the sexual assault and sexual harassment that I brought forth," Reade told Fox News. "When there were Republicans being accused of that, the media and the reaction from the Democratic Party was quite different and quite aggressive and quite hostile to the perpetrator, potential perpetrator before it was even investigated. In my case, the hostility was directed right towards and I was basically silenced and erased by using classism and so on."
She said, "I lost everything coming forward. I lost my work, housing, money, everything because I spoke out against one of the most powerful members of the Democratic Party."
Ever since she came forward, Reade faced a barrage of online harassment and threats, forcing her to relocate from her home. A GoFundMe campaign was launched last month where 50 percent of proceeds will go to the Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC), a "nonprofit that gives survivors of sexual assault physical, emotional and legal services." The rest "will go to Tara for safety and security costs, then to her legal costs, then to helping her reclaim her reputation."