Tara Reade, who accused former Vice President — and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee — Joe Biden of sexual assault last month, told Fox News in an interview this weekend that the Senate’s treatment of Anita Hill, who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, kept her from coming forward with her own allegations.
Reade says Biden sexually assaulted her while she served as an aide in his Congressional offices in the mid-1990s, several years after Thomas’ confirmation hearings. Although Reade has little evidence to substantiate her claims, she has produced a number of family members, a coworker, and neighbor, all of whom say Reade gave them a contemporaneous account of her allegations.
“Hill came forward accusing Thomas, her former supervisor, of sexual harassment during her time working at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission amid his Senate confirmation, which was led by then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Biden,” Fox News explained.
Biden, notably, doubted Hill’s allegations, raising concerns about her attacks on Clarence Thomas in a speech to the Senate — a speech which came back to haunt Biden during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, also accused of sexual assault.
“I really believed Anita Hill and I thought she was treated badly,” Reade said in her interview with Fox News. “I think a lot of women felt the same way. They were watching that — that were professionals, you know, I was a young professional at the time.”
“And I didn’t like the way Joe Biden dealt with her, but I also didn’t like how she was dealt with in general, right?” Reade continued. “And what it did was that it made us more silent. What it did was show us was, ‘Okay when you try to go up against this, this is basically what you’re gonna face.’ So it was an example of… a deterrent.”
“There was a silencing,” Reade added about Hill’s situation. “There was like a ‘let’s go back to square one’ in how we’re going to deal with this and the whole thing about what’s considered vulgar, what’s considered sexual harassment. All of the definitions were still fluid and they were still deciding. And even now, here we are in 2020, you have major reporters that consider themselves liberal feminists, they’re neo-liberal feminists and they’re saying that the hugging, touching, massaging, kissing, unwanted is that… It’s not sexual harassment. It is sexual harassment. If you look up the definition, that’s the very definition of sexual harassment. So it’s just interesting how, like, even the definitions are being massaged to suit the perpetrator. That’s how I view it.”
Reade went on to say that her mother urged her to file an official police report against Biden after hearing of Reade’s alleged assault. She resisted, saying that, “Mom, you don’t understand. This is Capitol Hill” and telling her mother that Senators are “immune from a lot of crime.”
Eventually, Reade filed a claim with the Senate’s human resources office — a claim which remains in Biden’s official papers, housed under seal at the University of Delaware — but, she says, that claim contains no information about sexual harassment or sexual assault, only questions about her eventual dismissal from Biden’s office.
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