Two more women say Joe Biden touched them in a way that made them feel uncomfortable.
The New York Times published a piece on Tuesday night outlining the accusations against Biden—one, by Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores noting he smelled her hair and kissed the back of her neck at a campaign event, and one by freelance writer Amy Lappos claiming he tried to, uh, rub noses with her. And there were two more: 59-year-old D.J. Hill says he put his hands on her shoulders and did weird things to her back, and 22-year-old Caitlyn Caruso says Biden put his hand on her thigh and gave her a lingering hug. Her thigh! What the fuck!
Here’s what happened to Caruso, per the Times (emphasis mine):
The list of women coming forward is growing. Caitlyn Caruso, a former college student and sexual assault survivor, said Mr. Biden rested his hand on her thigh — even as she squirmed in her seat to show her discomfort — and hugged her “just a little bit too long” at an event on sexual assault at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. She was 19.
And to Hill:
D. J. Hill, 59, a writer who recalled meeting Mr. Biden in 2012 at a fund-raising event in Minneapolis, said that when she and her husband, Robert, stepped up to take their photograph with the vice president, he put his hand on her shoulder and then started dropping it down her back, which made her “very uncomfortable.”
Neither woman said anything to Biden at the time, but both stressed that they did not like or welcome the creepy touching. Caruso was particularly upset, having just spoken about her own experience with sexual assault at the University of Nevada event. “It doesn’t even really cross your mind that such a person would dare perpetuate harm like that,” she said. “These are supposed to be people you can trust.”
The Times piece pointed out that though some women have found Biden’s touching uncomfortable, others say they see it as a sign of caring or support. Biden himself has responded to the accusations by claiming it was “never [his] intention” to make anyone uncomfortable and did not believe he’d “acted inappropriately.”
I was once on a flight to Colombia, and my seatmate, a 50-something man I struck up a conversation with during an extended delay, repeatedly put his hand on my thigh. I didn’t want to make a fuss and never told him not to, and perhaps he too didn’t think he was acting inappropriately.
But I cannot scream loudly enough now to make it clear that it is not OK to non-consensually put your hand on a person’s leg—let alone the leg of a 19-year-old college student who just gave a speech about being sexually assaulted—and the fact that Biden (and his ardent supporters) can’t see that is troubling, to say the least.