Consent just a joke for Joe Biden

Joel Bautista | The Ticker

Joel Bautista | The Ticker

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been in hot water since last week after multiple women accusing him of inappropriate conduct in recent years came forward. The allegations range from non-consensual kissing on the back of a woman’s head to touching other women in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.

Various political commentators have downplayed these reports, suggesting that they pale in comparison to the allegations made against Harvey Weinstein and President Donald Trump.

Few would argue that Biden’s behavior is comparable at all to the behavior of those men, but it doesn’t mean that his actions are acceptable.

While this misconduct may not be explicitly sexual in nature, it’s a pattern that undoubtedly crosses a line by continually invading a woman’s personal space. No person should have to endure a kiss anywhere on their body without consent.

It’s possible that Biden is just being overly friendly, but placing your lips anywhere on a person you barely know extends beyond friendliness.

This applies even more so when there is a clear power dynamic at play. At the time of many of these alleged incidents, Biden was the vice president of the United States. These women may have felt that because his actions did not rise to the level of sexual assault, they could easily be brushed aside as friendly gestures.

Even now that they have come forward, there are many Democrats and Republicans alike who are dismissing these allegations. Needless to say, most of these people are men. Yet, it would be interesting to see how they would react if a man did the same thing to them. If their boss kissed them on the back of their head or tried to rub noses with them, it’s unlikely they would dismiss the behavior as innocuous. As is so often the case, there is an evident double standard when it comes to this issue of “just being friendly.”

The fact is that throughout their lives, women are constantly told to “lighten up” whenever a man puts them in an awkward position. The majority of people who have a problem addressing this reality are the ones who exploit it the most.

The man who puts his hand on a woman’s back every time he has to pass by or the guy who is constantly making girls feel uneasy with all of his physical expressions of affection doesn’t see anything wrong with Biden’s behavior.

That’s because he, whether he is aware of it or not, does not respect women’s personal boundaries. These men would never touch another man’s back when walking past them and would never dream of resting their hand on a male friend’s thigh for any reason. Women should be treated the exact same way. It isn’t too much to ask for men to keep their hands to themselves, especially in a professional setting.

Biden is not Trump or Weinstein or any of the other predators caught up in the #MeToo movement. He is, by all accounts, a decent man who wants to make this country better.

That can all be true, while simultaneously admitting his history is inappropriate and deserves to be addressed.

Regardless of whether or not the American people can forgive Biden, the conversation regarding women and uncomfortable physical displays of affection is worth having. Biden has offered up several half-hearted apologies since these allegations arose, proving that he still just doesn’t get the magnitude of his actions.

On April 5, Biden took to the stage and hugged the president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union. “I just want you to know I had permission to hug Lonnie,” he joked.