I Thought We Could Do Better

It is disappointing that we still have to question how presidential candidates treat women.

Joe+Biden+and+Donald+Trump+are+similar+in+many+ways%2C+but+whether+or+not+they+respect+women+is+how+they+differ.

Matt Rourke, Patrick Semansky/AP

Joe Biden and Donald Trump are similar in many ways, but whether or not they respect women is how they differ.

By Quinn Volpe, North Allegheny Intermediate High School

When I saw that #BelieveBiden was trending on Twitter, my heart sank.

The party that I have generally supported on many different fronts changed their standpoint from #BelieveAllWomen to #BelieveBiden in order to benefit themselves. This behavior is almost bipartisan, as it can also be seen from the Republican Party under Donald Trump.

At least 25 women have made sexual allegations against Donald Trump since the seventies, and after the Access Hollywood tape was released in 2016, even more women came forward. Trump shut down each of these allegations, and on numerous occasions, he said that they were pushed by the mainstream media and his political opponents to make him look bad. 

Trump and his supporters say that if these allegations were true, the women who accused him would have come forward earlier. This is incorrect because it can be difficult for women to come forward about these situations as they are often deeply traumatizing. Movements like #MeToo have inspired women to come forward because they make victims feel supported and represented.

Now that American voters have to decide between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, I hope that they take into consideration how each of them treats women and what ideas they are putting into the minds of young girls and boys across the United States. Most of all, I hope that one day our country will get to a point at which voters will not have to question any of this.”

Trump supporters have failed to take a single allegation against him seriously. 

They continue to support him after he demeans his accusers by saying things along the lines of “she isn’t attractive enough for that to have happened to her” or “she just wanted the publicity.” He has even admitted to purposely walking in on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing room on the Howard Stern show but later said any accusations regarding this time were false. 

The notion that women frequently lie about sexual assault is completely inaccurate, and numerous cases of rape/sexual assault go unreported. The FBI has said that only 8% of rape accusations were found to be false after investigation. According to calculations by The Cut, only about 0.5% of allegations are false when we take into account only cases that are actually reported to the police. 

If we put either of these numbers into the figure that says over 25 women have accused Donald Trump of assault and/or rape, even if they are slightly off, the majority of his accusers have told the truth about what he did to them. The way that he has openly spoken about proudly harassing women contributes to this claim. 

Tara Reade worked for Joe Biden as a staff assistant nearly thirty years ago. She recently claimed that Joe Biden pushed her up against a wall, put his hands up her skirt, and nagged her even after she pulled away, saying “…I heard you liked me.” She is one of many women that have accused him of inappropriate hugging, kissing, or touching in the past year. 

Some of Reade’s friends have come forward to say that they remember talking about this with her closer to when it actually occurred. Reade has claimed that it was her mother that called Larry King and said that her daughter left her job after problems with a “prominent senator,” and that she filed a complaint about Biden while working for him. 

None of Joe Biden’s senior aides have been able to recall receiving complaints from Reade. Biden’s executive assistant, Marianne Baker, said: “I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager.” 

Joe Biden has a track record of making women feel uncomfortable. If any woman comes forward to accuse him of sexual assault in the future, we should not decide to “believe Biden” without any evidence. 

Despite the fact that none of Biden’s aides could recall Reade’s complaints, it is still possible that her accusation is true.

He said that if Clinton “can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” as if her ability to please a man determines her ability to be good at her profession. ”

What is utterly disgusting, though, is that Trump supporters are now pretending to care about Biden’s sexual-assault allegation because doing so benefits them. Instead of realizing that sexual assault is a serious issue, they are standing behind Trump while expressing their hate for Biden saying that he is creepy and that Reade is telling the truth. They’re insulting Biden without acknowledging that Donald Trump has done the same things at an even greater magnitude. 

The two men are similar in many ways. They both have a tendency to say things that can be very easily interpreted as offensive, they are close in age, and they’ve said questionable things regarding their family members or children. One concerning similarity, though, is that they both do things that make women feel uncomfortable.

What sets Donald Trump apart is that he uses rhetoric that is exceedingly anti-woman. He has openly insulted the appearance of women like Jessica Chastain and Stormy Daniels and the intelligence of women like Maxine Walters and Mika Brzezinski. He has also blatantly objectified the bodies of women including Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, and even his own daughter that was an infant at the time. 

Trump called his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, a “nasty woman” to rebut her ideas at a debate rather than presenting the audience with his own ideas. In a tweet that has since been deleted, he said that if Clinton “can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” as if her ability to please a man determines her ability to be good at her profession. 

On the other hand, Joe Biden has been involved in the fight to help victims of sexual violence. Biden’s leadership as Vice President to Barack Obama fueled reforms that were meant to make it much easier for victims of sexual assault to report what happened to them and to receive support. During his time in the White House, he created a task force to protect students from sexual assault and called fighting violence against women the passion of his life. Over twenty years ago, he authored the Violence Against Women Act. 

When Biden denied Tara Reade’s allegation against him, he also included “…women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced.” Instead of questioning her motives or demeaning her as a person, he made a statement that said we should always treat women with respect and let their stories be heard. 

I wish that the American people did not have to choose between two men who have even possibly assaulted women in any way. I wish that we hadn’t chosen a president who has been accused of sexual assault by over twenty-five different women and who constantly disrespects women and inspires sexism onto his impressionable constituents.

Now that American voters have to decide between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, I hope that they take into consideration how each of them treats women and what ideas they are putting into the minds of young girls and boys across the United States. Most of all, I hope that one day our country will get to a point at which voters will not have to question any of this.

This story was originally published on NA Eye on May 8, 2020.