Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sexual Predators and the Women Who Love Them

How do you deter rape? Surely, the prospect of swift justice and severe punishment has a deterrent effect. So too does society’s revulsion at the crime and its willingness to ostracize those who commit it.

Recently, a group of feminists decided that they could strike out against rape by going on what they call SlutWalks.

They dress up in provocative clothing, scrawl the word “slut” on their foreheads, and march through a town or a city.

I am frankly amazed that they have convinced themselves that they can deter rape by making a public spectacle of themselves.

Everyone abhors rape. And yet, media discussions of it have had the unfortunate tendency to see two kinds of rape, rape that is excusable and rape that is inexcusable.

The question becomes difficult and poignant when we are speaking of a wife whose husband has been accused of sex crimes, whether rape or sexual harassment.

The question was recently raised in a New York Magazine article, and in two replies on the DoubleX blog.

How does it happen, thinking women are asking, that Anne Sinclair, the wife of accused rapist Dominque Strauss-Kahn stands by her man and supports her husband, morally and financially?

Does she consider him innocent until proven guilty? Does she believe that spousal loyalty trumps all else? Does she simply not care what he does when she is not around? Does she believe that he is being framed by his enemies? Or, does she have her own personal reasons to overlook his criminal behavior?

Surely, Anne Sinclair must understand that in the court of public opinion, she is beginning to look, if not like an enabler,like a woman who is willing to condone her husband’s criminal sexual behavior.

Writing on the DoubleX blog, Rachael Larimore makes an important distinction, one that we often overlook. In the case of Anne Sinclair we are not talking about a wife whose husband fell in love with another woman, had an extramarital fling, fathered a child with a woman not his wife, or was caught frequenting prostitutes.

The case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn is significantly distinct from the cases of Mark Sanford, David Vitter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elliot Spitzer and John Edwards.

All of these men betrayed their wives. None of them was accused of sexual harassment and even rape. The American politician who was accused of criminal sexual behavior was: Bill Clinton.

Not only has Bill Clinton not been ostracized. He is much beloved, even lionized.

Larimore addresses the salient point: “The ‘harsh judgment’ directed toward Sinclair and, many years ago, toward Hillary Clinton, is justified. They have stood by men accused of far worse things than adultery—remember that it was Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton that gave us the Lewinksy scandal, and that Juanita Broddrick gave an interview to Dateline alleging that Clinton raped her in 1978.”

If you were watching the unfolding Clinton scandals from a foreign country, what might you have thought you could get away with in America?
Following Hillary Clinton’s lead, American feminists and liberals rushed to defend Bill Clinton. Would they defend other men accused of rape. Strangely enough, Vanessa Grigoriadis spends a great deal of her New York Magazine article demeaning and insulting the women who accused DSK of rape.

When it comes to sex crimes America has a double standard. If you are a man of the left, like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, you might have understood that if you are a liberal or a socialist, then, anything goes.

Larmiore explains the double standard: “Every time a conservative politician is outed as a philanderer, liberals rail against the hypocrisy. It’s no less hypocritical for liberal women who champion feminist ideals to not only stand by but to vigorously defend their husbands against claims of sexual assault or intimidation.

One might imagine that these women are blinded by love. Perhaps Anne Sinclair and Hillary Clinton are so madly in love with their husbands that they cannot believe anything that would cast doubt on their love.

Or, is it that they cannot accept that they could have so thoroughly misjudged their men? Both Sinclair and Clinton knew that their husbands were womanizers, but that is a long way from engaging in criminal sexual behavior.

In the end, it could be that both of these women are merely defending their own personal ambitions.

Surely, Hillary Clinton came out of the Lewinsky scandal untainted. No one ever dared ask her about the accusations leveled by Juanita Broaddrick. She came close to becoming president of the United States. Today she is Secretary of State.  

If her goal was to maintain her own political viability, she has succeeded.

As for Anne Sinclair, Vanessa Grigoriadis suggests that her goal was to have her husband elected the first Jewish president of France since the 1930s.

Jessica Grose understands that this might be a good reason to stay with you husband when he is credibly accused of committing acts of sexual violence.

In her words: “No one ever knows what goes on behind the scenes in a marriage; for Sinclair, her dream of a Jewish head of France seems like as reasonable a justification as any to stay with something that is likely causing her a lot of pain.” There is no recognition of the pain he might have caused to other women.

To her mind Sinclair’s dream of a Jewish head of state is sufficient to excuse all manner of criminal behavior. But why wouldn't she also want to be the power behind the new president, the woman who turned a rough-hewn piece of human timber into a great man.

Over the years of their marriage, Anne Sinclair has devoted her energy and her considerable fortune to producing this end result.

Grigoriadis explains: “The price, for Sinclair, of admitting that Strauss-Kahn is, if not a rapist, some sort of cretin who behaves in a disgusting way with women may be too high—a loss of identity, admitting that this is the end of her dream.”

Neither Grose nor Grigoriadis seems in the least concerned that these women are numbing our horror at the crime of rape in order to promote their own political ambition.

Nor do either of them consider that if Sinclair were to admit that her husband is the kind of monster that several women have described, then her own judgment would have been severely compromised by her lust for her own dream.

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