Supporters of President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by multiple women, have seized on Biden and other Democrats’ past comments about believing women’s accusations as proof of hypocrisy. And victims fear that what they see as the botched handling of Reade’s allegations by fellow activists, the media and politicians has threatened one of the movement’s hardest-fought gains.

The debate is complicated by another factor: Some worry about the prospect of inadvertently advancing the political fortunes of a president who has been accused of assault himself, and is deeply loathed by feminists and Democrats.

“The disgusting behavior that Christine Blasey Ford had to deal with from the right is the disgusting behavior that Tara Reade is having to deal with from many on the left,” said Sarah Ann Masse, one of the numerous women who accused Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. “Survivors in the world watch this, and those who have not come forward publicly, those who have not shared it with their family or gone to the police or sought out mental health support, they see this and it silences them.”