The #MeToo Story That Wasn’t Me

Stephanie Carter
4 min readMar 31, 2019

It happened again two weeks ago. I was at an industry conference comprised of my female peers — what would be my last time there as I had announced my intent to start my own company — when a friend ran up to me joyously stating she had “seen me”. I assumed she was referring to a recent piece in an industry newsletter about my retirement from my firm and transition to entrepreneurship, but she quickly let me know that it was again that picture which Jimmy Fallon had shown the night before.

Last night, I received a text from a friend letting me know that picture was once again all over Twitter in connection to Lucy Flores’ personal account of a 2014 encounter with Joe Biden. Let me state upfront that I don’t know her, but I absolutely support her right to speak her truth and she should be, like all women, believed. But her story is not mine. The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful. So, as the sole owner of my story, it is high time that I reclaim it — from strangers, Twitter, the pundits and the late-night hosts.

Visiting Arlington National Cemetery February 17, 2015 Photo Credit: DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt/Released

On February 17, 2015, my husband was being sworn in as the Secretary of Defense — a job his years of work at the Pentagon had prepared him for and the crowning achievement of his career. I could not have been prouder and I had gushed to friends that it was like “seeing Secretariat run the Kentucky Derby”. We had started the cold, snowy day at Arlington Cemetery in Section 60 visiting the graves of our fallen. It was somber and quiet and the weight of Ash’s new responsibility was palpable. Upon our arrival at the Pentagon, I had slipped and fell on some ice — which a few journalists were nice enough to tweet about. Later, we went to the White House for the swearing in and I was feeling self-conscious and tentative (not a normal state for those who know me) about the fall — and perhaps about how much our life might change. As we walked in the room, reporters were staged and a young woman from Huffington Post shouted to me to ask if I was doing all right — I was somewhat thrown (did I not look all right?) but quickly remembered news of my fall on the ice had traveled. By the time then-Vice President Biden had arrived, he could sense I was uncharacteristically nervous- and quickly gave me a hug. After the swearing in, as Ash was giving remarks, he leaned in to…