Lucy Flores told the story of her encounter with Joe Biden in an article she wrote for The Cut that was published today. In the article, she states that in 2014, she was the 35-year-old Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in Nevada, when Vice-President Joe Biden’s office contacted her campaign and said that he was looking to help me and other Democrats in the state, “I was grateful and flattered.”
Flores said that just before she was to go on stage at the rally, she felt Biden come up behind her and then was startled when he smelled her hair and kissed her head.
Just before the speeches, we were ushered to the side of the stage where we were lined up by order of introduction. As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. “Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?” I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual fuck? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?” He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. There is a Spanish saying, “tragame tierra,” it means, “earth, swallow me whole.” I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.
Although his actions reportedly “made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused” she only discussed it with her staff, not knowing where else to turn.
If Biden and I worked together in a traditional office, I would have complained to the HR department, but on the campaign trail, there’s no clear path for what to do when a powerful man crosses the line.
As the years passed, and more pictures of Biden doing the same thing to other women and even young girls came to light, Flores decided she needed to speak out on what happened to her. As you can see in the above photo, as well as many other photos, Biden is not above putting his hand on the side of a woman’s breast either. Flores does feel her case rose to the level of sexual assault but she does believe it was at the very least sexual harassment.
I’m not suggesting that Biden broke any laws, but the transgressions that society deems minor (or doesn’t even see as transgressions) often feel considerable to the person on the receiving end. That imbalance of power and attention is the whole point — and the whole problem.
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