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April 29, 2020

The Sexual Assault Allegation we should All be Talking About.

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and cannot possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.

For more on this, check out the New York Times.

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It’s been weeks since Tara Reade came out with her story about sexual assault, and hardly anyone in the media is talking about it.

Fox News reports on it, for obvious reasons.

The allegations were made about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and Fox is markedly conservative and right-wing in their reporting. I probably wouldn’t have heard about Reade’s allegations if I did not frequent the NPR Politics Podcast. (You can listen to their full report here.)

I’m not one to pass judgment on the validity of the allegations made, especially with so little information. The alleged assault occurred back in 1993, and there is no way for the average onlooker to really know what exactly happened or didn’t happen.

I believe in listening to the victim and giving her a platform to tell her story. That’s why the #MeToo movement was so important. It gave people a safe space to tell their stories when they may not have had that before. Instead of being silenced or ignored or attacked, women and others were able to come forward and be heard.

I admit I am inclined to believe a woman because of my own personal bias and experience, but I try to keep an open mind and not immediately condemn the other side.

So I search for answers. Any information that may inform my opinion one way or the other. I mean, I may vote for this guy—of course I want to try to find out if this is true.

In my quest for knowledge, however, I found that there wasn’t much out there. After I listened to NPR’s story, I immediately searched to find other reports. I learned that hardly any major news networks were reporting on the story, which kind of turned my world upside down.

I know that news networks have bias. I’m not blind. But I am surprised that our country is so polarized that it would come to this.

I know so many of us do not want another four years of the current administration, but not reporting on this story feels like a step back for the #MeToo movement. This is the kind of story you would expect to be in the headlines: “A former staffer accuses the assumed Democratic presidential nominee of sexual assault.”

This is a big story. Whether or not it is true is beside the point. That is for the people to decide themselves. It is the media’s job to tell people what is going on in the world, and to omit a story this big undermines their integrity as journalists.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is all the more reason to report on this topic and this story.

Tara Reade first made these allegations public in late March. The story seems to just now, at the end of April, be slowly making its way into the mainstream.

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