This is a new VBA campaign in which we will be discussing a topical news article that is related to sexual assault/abuse. The articles that we discuss are related to countries with the 10 highest rates of sexual assault/abuse in the world; highlighted on the map we have displayed on the VBA homepage. Through this campaign, we are trying to acknowledge these global injustices.
Country: The United States of America (US) Case: Sexual Assault Claim Against Democratic US Presidential Candidate and Former US Vice President, Joe Biden Alleged Victim: Tara ReadeIn the past month, a sexual assault claim against Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been circulating international media platforms. This allegation details a situation of gender-based violence and sexual assault, which is said to have exposed Tara Reade to the brutal force of an influential figure. The claim specifically references an occurrence in 1993, during the time when Tara Reade was “a staffer for Joe Biden’s Senate Office,” (Crispin, 2020, para. 3). Here, Reade alleges that Biden “assaulted her while the two were in the basement of a Capitol Hill office complex,” (Ecarma, 2020, para. 1). The claim outlines a harrowing scene, where Reade recounts how “Biden thrust her against a wall and proceeded to grope and penetrate her with his fingers while the two were alone,” (Ecarma, 2020, p. para 3). This is an extremely distressing, and deeply personal incident to share publicly. Reade made her allegation against Biden official just last week, and filed a “public incident report with Washington, D.C. police on Thursday,” (Ecarma, 2020, para. 4). A victim’s story must always be given fair and impartial acknowledgement, from all relevant platforms and authorities. However, one of the most disturbing aspects of this story is the lack in legal investigation and response Reade has experienced since the official filing of her claim against Biden. As previously noted, Joe Biden is a Democratic candidate in the upcoming US presidential election, and therefore, is a powerful and high-ranking individual (Crispin, 2020, para. 3). Due to this, Reade has been snubbed by many in response to her requests for help, with neither reporters or politicians returning her calls (ibid). Additionally, the US non-profit organization named ‘Time’s Up,’ which claims to “assist women looking for legal representation to manage claims of sexual misconduct at work,” has also refused to offer Reade any assistance (ibid). On record, Time’s Up are said to have declared that they “could not help her without legally risking [their] not-for-profit status,” (ibid). This highlights the harrowing experience that many victims of sexual assault or abuse undergo from (1) the actual incident of sexual assault or abuse and (2) attempting to report their case. At Voices Beyond Assault, we want to stand up and help stop this cultural movement of victim-bashing. We are an organization which aims to help these victims in any way we can, and will work daily to end these cross-cultural and all-encompassing forms of sexual assault or abuse. This is our mission, and we welcome any individual to come forward and seek help from us if they need it. We are a non-judgemental and non-discriminatory organization, which will always work to welcome and aid any individual seeking help.