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Lucy Flores: “Stop twisting my words and start talking about consent”

In a new opinion piece for Buzzfeed News, Lucy Flores, the politician who accused Joe Biden of inappropriately touching her, says her words have been twisted and manipulated into a discussion about hugging.

In the piece published last Wednesday and largely ignored by mainstream media, Flores is blunt about how she feels the media has treated her complaints. “When I decided to come forward with what it felt like to be on the receiving end of Joe Biden’s inappropriate behavior, ” she writes, “I knew I would face criticism. I didn’t anticipate that my truth would be so easily manipulated and distorted.”

Flores maintains that the media has largely ignored that in her last op-ed she said she didn’t consider his touching sexual harassment or assault. Rather, she intended it to be a description of what it was like to be “touched inappropriately” by a powerful politician about to declare his bid for the presidency. She said, while most people consider what he does wrong, the media has a tendency to joke about it and say it’s just “Biden being Biden.”

Biden himself, after her original essay, said, “Social norms have begun to change.”

But Flores contends that this behavior has always been considered wrong, but that women are just now feeling as if they have the power to report the behavior of these powerful men.

She continued that too often Joe Biden is characterized as just a hugger, and that people often brush it off because of his grandfatherly ways and his jovial personality. However, she adds, “But in my case, Biden’s version of a friendly hug was his hands on my shoulders, his body close to mine, from behind, smelling my hair and planting a slow kiss on my head when we had no personal relationship whatsoever.”

“For the other women who also had no previous personal relationship with Biden, it was his hand on the thigh of a sexual assault victim just minutes after disclosing her trauma at an It’s On Us event,” Flores continues. “It was Biden pulling in close to the face of a young sexual assault survivor while holding her hands. Biden pulling a woman’s face the back of her neck to his own, so suddenly that she was horrified that he was about to kiss her. Characterizing this behavior as everyday, run-of-the-mill friendliness is grossly inaccurate, and whether they knew it or not, every last public commentator who referred to Biden as just being a “hugger” participated in the classic strategy of discrediting women who speak out against powerful men by minimizing the behavior.”

Flores wrote that she’d intended her original opinion piece to raise the subject of consent. To bring a voice to women who have been touched inappropriately by powerful men in their lives, whether it’s boss, teacher, or a well-loved politician. She hopse that, although the discussions seems to have gone off the rails, she knows it will get back on track eventually.

She says she watched as celebrities like Alyssa Milano applauded Biden, saying he was empowering women by saying “he never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable” and that he was exactly the kind of leadership needed to for women.

However, at a recent speaking engagement in the wake of the allegations, Biden proceeded to make fun of the whole situation in a union hall full of mostly white older men, joking that he had “gotten permission” to hug some people there. “Hearing him joke about a serious situation and then hearing hundreds of men laugh about it was exactly the type of humiliation that women face in these situations. And Biden did it just a day after he swore that he would listen and that he would learn. Milano didn’t utter a word asking for accountability.”

Flores concluded that consent isn’t just about sex, but it’s about personal space and inappropriately touching other people. “Biden has never apologized to Anita Hill, and it appears he will never apologize to me or the other six women who came forward with their own stories.”

Also see Creepy Joe Biden Video.

Sarah Morton

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