Trigger warnings for sexual assault, sexual violence, and trauma.
Over the past month, survivors of rape, sexual violence, child abuse, sex trafficking, and child exploitation, have found themselves attacked and harassed on Twitter. A well-organized group of people decided that, because we don’t believe Tara Reade, we are all rape apologists. And it turns out, being called a rape apologist when one has survived sexual trauma is traumatizing on its own.
Some survivors have had to lock their Twitter accounts, remove information from their bios, and contact law enforcement. Others-myself included-have been unable to sleep, inundated with flashbacks of their own assaults. Far left trolls, with their rage and hypocrisy, bulldoze their way into online conversations, slinging hate and insults specifically designed to trigger rape and sexual violence survivors.
These people have a lot in common. They are white, they are Bernie Sanders supporters, they have a little red rose next to their name on Twitter, and they use the hashtag “Believe Survivors.”
Believe survivors. That should come with a caveat, something like “Believe survivors unless they don’t believe Tara Reade, then just try to break them into little pieces all over again.” Or “Believe survivors unless they’re not Berners then all bets are off.”
Who do we blame for this? I do not blame Bernie Sanders. I blame Ryan Grim and The Intercept, I blame Katie Halper, I blame every single pseudo-journalist with an agenda who trumpeted Tara Reade’s allegations without spending one moment vetting her. I blame Tara Reade, who actively sent these monstrous hypocrites after survivors on Twitter. I blame celebrities who embraced Tara because they hate Joe Biden, and magnified her lies.
Thursday evening, a story broke about Tara Reade. When she lived in California, Tara presented herself as an “expert” on domestic violence, and testified for the prosecution in twenty criminal cases. While she was under oath, she lied about her college degree from Antioch University. Tara Reade committed perjury.
Defense lawyers are already looking to reopen cases where Reade testified as an “expert.” From Politico:
But a number of California defense attorneys are considering challenging the convictions of their clients amid questions about whether Reade misrepresented her credentials under oath.
Reade, the former Joe Biden staffer who recently accused him of sexually assaulting her in 1993, stated she had an undergraduate degree that her college says she never earned and appears to have exaggerated her role in Biden’s office, according to trial transcripts in two court cases reviewed by POLITICO.
Six cases involving Reade’s testimony are already under review by the Sixth District Appellate Program, Executive Director Patrick McKenna told POLITICO Thursday. The state-funded office oversees appointed defense counsel in appellate cases covering four California counties, including Monterey County, where the prosecution often tapped Reade as an expert witness.
Imagine being a survivor of domestic violence and learning the woman you thought was on your side lied under oath. Imagine the fear those people feel right now, wondering if they will have to testify again, or see their abuser in court. There is also a fairly high chance that Tara Reade’s perjured testimony may have sent innocent people to prison.
How are the Red Roses on Twitter reacting to this news? They’re doubling down, spreading wild and baseless conspiracies, and of course, calling actual survivors of sexual violence who don’t believe Tara rape apologists.
I am not a rape apologist. None of the brave and courageous survivors I have connected with over the past month are rape apologists. For most of us, this isn’t even about Joe Biden. It’s about a woman who, throughout her adult life, has lied, cheated, conned, and manipulated nearly everyone she met. It’s about a woman whose lies may now force the reopening of domestic violence cases. It’s about a woman who has actively encouraged the harassment of survivors of sexual violence on Twitter.
This is about Tara Reade, a woman whose actions are more like an abuser than a victim. And we’re done pussyfooting around in order to placate the hateful, angry hypocrites on Twitter. If Rose Twitter comes for one of us, they will be confronted with a wall of solidarity. Because we-real survivors of trauma-are stronger than any troll, stronger than the hate. We’ve walked through hell, and we’re still here.
Don’t call us rape apologists.