Joe Biden blows his #MeToo moment

To summarize, a number of women have come forward to say that Joe Biden made physical contact without consent. He says he intended no offense:[1]

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that he’s not sorry for his past actions that some women have said made them uncomfortable, but that he’s sorry he didn’t understand more at the time.[2]

But he mocks affirmative consent,[3] “referenc[ing] the controversy with a pair of jokes, telling attendees that he had received permission to hug the union leader and put his arm around a child he invited up on stage.”[4]

Which is to say that, no, he doesn’t get it.

We can acknowledge his intentions, but his actions caused harm. He needs to apologize for his actions. Which he is explicitly not doing.

The problem of intention lies at the heart of the issue of consent. I have probably crossed a line or two myself in the very nearly sixty years I’ve been on this planet. And I have done so with a different understanding of how communication about touching should occur.

Sure, I was horny. Sure, I felt sexual attraction. Sure, I did not intend to rape. Sure, I never intended to sexually assault anyone.

I hope I didn’t. It’s not my call to say whether or not I did. That is for the women in question. And any other stance undermines their agency, their right to define and describe their own experiences.

What I need to do is to apologize for any actions I have taken that violated anyone’s personal autonomy.

Biden, however, in asserting the primacy of his intention, effectively gaslights the women he assaulted. He robs them of that right to define and describe their own experiences.

This is not okay. He needs to apologize unreservedly. As I do, here and now, without reservation.

  1. [1]Brett Samuels, “Biden: ‘I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done,’” Hill, April 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/437582-biden-im-not-sorry-for-anything-that-i-have-ever-done
  2. [2]Brett Samuels, “Biden: ‘I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done,’” Hill, April 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/437582-biden-im-not-sorry-for-anything-that-i-have-ever-done
  3. [3]See Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. eds., Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape (Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2008).
  4. [4]Brett Samuels, “Biden: ‘I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done,’” Hill, April 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/437582-biden-im-not-sorry-for-anything-that-i-have-ever-done

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

2 thoughts on “Joe Biden blows his #MeToo moment”

    1. Women have a shape that accommodates pregnancy and feeding babies. Yes, I admire that shape even if I intend never to have children (a decision made when Ronald Reagan was president and never regretted).

      That does not make women walking down the street in anything less than burqas guilty of “continual sexual assaults.” It does not even remotely excuse untoward behavior. It means I have to be a civilized human being, which entails the curtailing of barbaric behavior.

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