[She] called me in and said, ‘I want you to take this to Joe. He wants it. He wants you to bring it, hurry.’ And I said, ‘Okay,’ and it was a gym bag. She said ‘take the gym bag.’ She called it athletic bag. And she said he was down towards the Capitol and he’ll meet you. So I went down, and I was heading down towards there. And he was at first talking to someone, I could see him at a different distance and then they went away. And then we were in like this side area. And he just said, ‘Hey, come here, Tara.’ And then I handed him the thing and he greeted me, he remembered my name.
And then we were alone, and it was the strangest thing. There was no exchange really. He just had me up against the wall. And I was wearing a skirt and, you know, business skirt, but I wasn’t wearing stockings. It was kind of a hot day that day and I was wearing heels. And I remember my legs had been hurting from the marble, you know of the Capitol, like walking. So I remember that kind of stuff. I remember I was wearing a blouse and he just had me up against the wall. And the wall was cold. It happened all at once. The gym bag, I don’t know where it went. I handed it to him, was gone. And then his hands were on me and underneath my clothes.
He went down my skirt, but then up inside it, and he penetrated me with his fingers. He was kissing me at the same time and he was saying something to me. He said several things, and I can’t remember everything. I remember a couple of things. I remember him saying first before, like, as he was doing it, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’ And then him saying to me when I pulled away, he got finished doing what he was doing, and I kind of was pulled back and he said, he said, ‘Come on, man. I heard you liked me.’ And that phrase stayed with me because I kept thinking, what I might have said, and I can’t remember exactly if he said ‘I thought ‘or if ‘I heard’ but it’s like he implied like that I had done this like, I don’t know.
And for me, it was like everything shattered in that moment because I knew we alone. It was over, right? He wasn’t trying to do anything more. But I looked up to him. He was like my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes, and I couldn’t believe what was happening. It seemed surreal. I just felt sick because he, when he pulled back, he looked annoyed. And he said, something else to me that I don’t want to say.* And then he said, I must have looked shocked, and he grabbed me by the shoulders. I don’t know how I looked, but I must have looked something because he grabbed me by the shoulders and he said, ‘You’re okay, you’re fine. You’re okay, you’re fine. ‘ And then he walked away and he went on with his day.
And what I remember next is being in the Russell building, like where the big windows are, in the stairs by myself. My body, I was shaking everywhere because, it was cold all of a sudden, I was, I don’t know, I felt like I was shaking just everywhere, and I was trying to grasp what had just happened and what I should do, or what I should say. But I knew it was bad because he was so angry. Like when he left, I could feel, you know how when you know someone’s angry, they don’t necessarily say anything. Like he smiles when he’s angry. And you can just feel it emanating from him.’
These are the words of Tara Reade.