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Alyssa Milano is a feminist force to be reckoned with — unless you're her friend Joe Biden

It hurts me, as someone who has been assaulted and appreciated Alyssa Milano’s outspoken feminist activism, to see her dismiss women to stand with an accused man

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver
New York
Tuesday 02 April 2019 23:38 BST
Lucy Flores alleges Joe Biden kissed the back of her head in 2014 at a campaign rally

Alyssa Milano is a feminist icon. From her fierce, feminist acting on Charmed to her bold takes on Donald Trump, her work with Time’s Up, demands for Brett Kavanaugh to be held accountable, and her activism against draconian abortion laws, Milano is a force to be reckoned with if you’ve been accused of assault.

Unless, of course, you’re her friend, Joe Biden.

In a short Twitter thread today, Milano laid out a defence for her self-described friend former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s been accused of making several women uncomfortable with unwarranted touching.

Three women have come forward: Lucy Flores, Amy Lapos, and now a young woman and activist who is currently using the pseudonym Cece. And if three women have already spoken up, how many are remaining silent? How many will choose to remain silent because they do not believe their truth will be heard?

Like these women, I have had many men, particularly older men in a position of power over me, touch me in a way that wasn't quite assault, but left me feeling unsafe and uncomfortable. Perhaps these men, like Joe Biden claims, didn’t know that their actions made me uncomfortable. But does that excuse the fact that I was touched without consent?

I believe Lucy Flores. I believe Cece. I believe Amy Lapos. These women have nothing to gain from coming forward and exposing themselves to accusations, hatred, and vitriol.

Milano claims she believes Lucy Flores, but stands with Biden regardless, writing: “But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women's experiences are the same.” It hurts me, as someone who has been assaulted and appreciated Alyssa Milano’s outspoken feminist activism, to see her dismiss women to stand with an accused man.

Believing women who come forward about sexual assault or unwanted touching because it benefits your political agenda is not believing women, it’s weaponising a horrific experience for personal and political gain.

As Milano is now defending Biden, we must ask: was her resistance to President Trump and Brett Kavanaugh performative because she disagreed with their politics or because she truly champions women? Can women who’ve been assaulted trust Milano to speak on their behalf any longer?

The American left is treating these women the same way the American right treated Christine Blasey-Ford, calling these accusations "political hit jobs" — and there is little outrage on their behalf. What many fail to understand is that believing women is not, and never will be, partisan.

Joe Biden, who Milano sees to be “a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years” is part of the problem.

Alyssa Milano, and other so-called feminists, in defending him and dismissing Lucy Flores’ claim, are a larger part of the problem.

That is not feminism, no matter how Milano may try to frame it. She is enabling rape culture by denying that these women were made uncomfortable because it benefits her politics.

As Milano tweets, “I believe that Joe Biden's intent has never been to make anyone uncomfortable, and that his kind, empathetic leadership is what our country needs”, she fails to realise that the intent behind these gross boundary violations is not what matters, but the fact that women were made uncomfortable by these actions in the first place.

When women come forward, you believe them, trust and verify their claims, because sexual assault and unwanted touching is absolutely unacceptable, regardless of what side of the political aisle instigates it. Empathy and kindness do not excuse violating women’s boundaries. Empathy and kindness are not synonyms for consent.

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