During Wednesday night Democratic presidential primary debate, Former Vice President Joe Biden made his stance on addressing domestic violence clear, but perhaps not in the way he expected.
During a diatribe about how men need to stop committing violent crimes against women on college campuses – an issue Biden apparently thinks is a serious problem facing the electorate – the 77-year-old stated “we need to keep punching at it, and punching at it, and punching at it” while making striking gestures with a closed fist.
The monologue’s punchline was met with an uncomfortable smattering of laughter from the audience, to which Biden responded, “No I really mean it, this is a gigantic issue.”
Fellow candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris appeared to be suppressing laughter as Biden went to on to state “we will be on top… we will not tolerate it.”
Whether the “punching at it” line was unscripted, or whether Biden was even aware of the poor choice of words is unclear. No statement about the gaffe has been issued by Biden the campaign at press time.
An earlier portion of Biden’s diatribe made the assertion that “no man ever has the right to raise a hand to a woman” except in “self-defense,” which Biden stated “almost never happens.”
Data on domestic assaults against heterosexual men is hard to come by due to the stigma of reporting abuse at the hands of a woman, but multiple studies do show that men suffer from violence by an intimate partner at similar rates to women.