The nasty rhetorical trick of 'her truth'

On Joe Biden, Tara Reade, and the nefarious possessive

Joe Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

"What is truth?" Pilate asked and did not, as Francis Bacon observed, stay for an answer. I have a slightly different question. What is Tara Reade's truth, and what is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand suggesting when she invites the former Senate staffer who has accused Joe Biden of sexual assault to enter a "space for all women to come forward to speak their truth"?

What does it mean to suggest that Reade and other women who claim to have been sexually assaulted have a truth all their own, one to which something other than a definite article is prefixed? What rhetorical work is being done by the possessive adjective there? Is there some implied distinction between metaphysical capital-T truth, the fact of the matter as it were about what happened between Reade and the former vice president, and whatever it is Gillibrand so kindly deigns to solicit?

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