Hillary in the Age of Consent

I am a democrat and a feminist, and I am an undecided voter who is pretty jazzed about electing the first woman to the office of President of the United States.  Even if I have some policy issue disagreements with Hillary Clinton, she’s certainly the most qualified candidate to run in my lifetime and will show everyone in the world just how capable women are.  But I’ve got a problem.  His name is Bill. The absolute last thing I would want to happen is for anything that Bill has done to compromise Hillary’s election chances.  But this is gnawing at me, and I can’t let it go.

Now I have been a Bill Clinton fan since my first presidential election in 1992.  But due to the shifting political climate that has brought much needed attention to the importance of consent and to the prevalence of sexual violence against women, I can no longer ignore Bill’s sexual indiscretions.  And by indiscretions I don’t mean the blue dress.  I don’t mean any of the however many consensual encounters he has had outside of the confines of marriage.  What I mean is rape.  The public evidence is sketchy if you are talking about convicting this man of a crime and sending him to jail, but that’s hardly surprising.  Many less powerful men than he have been allowed to hide behind the prejudices women face every day: beliefs that they wanted it, that they deserved it, that they changed their minds after the fact, that they are crying wolf. That if they cannot present a black eye or a blue handprint or if they did not scream loud enough to wake the entire district, that it wasn’t rape.

In the absence of admissible physical evidence, we have enjoyed the luxury of believing our former president to be the decent if flawed man we want him to be.  But I just can’t pretend anymore. The accusations of groping-and let’s call that what it is—sexual assault– and rape against Bill (I’m counting at least 5 in his wiki article) are simply too numerous to ignore.  We know that many women who experience sexual violence say nothing to anyone. We know that the number of women falsely claiming to be victims of sexual abuse is very small.  Hillary knows it too.  This is why she has said that women who claim to have been raped should be believed.

But what if they claim to have been raped by her husband? Does her silence and her wedding ring make her complicit in his actions?  It’s a tough question to ask.  Nobody wants to believe that Bill Clinton is a sexual predator.  Just as we did not enjoy watching Bill Cosby topple from his throne perched oh so far above our heads.  But there is no reason to hold a former president to a lower standard than America’s Dad.

If it is true that she has chosen to stay married to a rapist, I think it’s fair to ask why.  To protect him?  For her own political gain? Because she does not truly believe that his actions are unforgivable?  Are any of these reasons truly acceptable if you claim to be a supporter of women’s rights?

I expect-no-I demand that my president support and protect all women.  I demand that men who exert physical force to control the bodies of women against their will be held accountable.  This must apply to all men, no matter how politically powerful or personally connected they are.  It must apply to all men.  Even if their initials are BC.

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21 thoughts on “Hillary in the Age of Consent

  1. I’m actually concerned about the blue dress too and some of the other “consensual” ones as well. At best some of them are sexual harassment and situations with power differentials that would make full consent problematic. That said our perspectives on these issues in 2015 is very different from 1992 and we’re only in our 40s. Safe to guess theirs would be even more changed. How she might deal with those situations _today_ might very well be very different than she did in 1992. Certainly my perspective is very different now than it was then. I have pretty big concerns about him. I’d feel much better about her if she’d divorce him but it seems unlikely she will and to my knowledge there have been no new accusations. I don’t know. It doesn’t make me happy at all, but I don’t think we should elect Ted Cruz instead.

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  2. I LIKE IT! For your first foray into the blog-o-sphere, it’s a very powerful one, and states in no uncertain terms, what’s been on a LOT of people’s minds ever since HRC declared her candidacy.

    Keep this up, and WELL DONE!

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  3. Welll, I was going to argue with you about Bill, but I decided to read the Wikipedia article you mentioned first. Sigh. I just want him to be reprehensibly aggressive, but all those stories pile up. Even if one decides not to call those encounters rape (because there are disputed definitions), Bill is predatory. So, what does that say about Hillary? I’ve been watching her all these years, followed the Presidency (I voted for Bill twice), and here’s what I think: She believes in commitment and she loves her husband. That people see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe is no great insight. She chose to believe he was wrong, that he hurt her, etc., but that he was still worth standing by. She sees something there worth forgiving him for. If she were a DA and asked to prosecute this man whom she had never met, she would likely have a different attitude. As it is, she is a wife who chose her husband over all those women.

    Does that mean she doesn’t support women? I think folks compartmentalize — she can stand by her man and still support women with her power. (Wish I could outline the word power with a jagged blue and white line like you could in comics with the word “Pow!”)

    So, Ms.Pinkdogdem, I won’t dispute with you about Bill (how come we never hear about his womanizing anymore?), but I do believe Hillary can still speak for women and their rights in every sphere. Whether other people count her out because she supports her husband, well, each of us gets one vote.

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  4. How can you continue to support Hilary knowing that she has attacked the women that stepped up and bravely told their stories about Bill’s deviance. There’s a point that goes beyond defense of one’s spouse. I’m sorry but her actions make me question her qualifications. I’m curious how do you rationalizeher hhypocrisy?

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  5. I think I’m going to make Ben Coleman really mad. I want to bring up a couple of points. First, it’s hard to talk about “all those women” who accused Bill Clinton as a group. There were different scenarios for different women, Bill being very adaptable. As I remember it, there was a lot of consensuality going on in every instance I heard about. I do understand the imbalance of power being terrifically important. I do not know how many women’s lives he has messed up. That Bill was seductive, persuasive, or coercive — exploitative — none of those descriptions excuse him in the least — seems like looking at only one facet of the problem. Is it not the ultra of feminism to respect a woman’s ability to choose what she will do? Each woman I ever heard about in the news had weeks/months . . . of Bill. Time enough to analyze, and choose. (Yes, yes — that doesn’t men he wasn’t a cad and lots of other sad, bad words.)

    Now, Hillary. Back to choice. Is she not entitled a choice in her personal life that may not fit strangers’ ideas of feminism?

    I understand how she can love that particular sinner more than she sympathized with those particular women — not a unique story — and at the same time I believe she sincerely wishes to minimize the exploitation of women. There is a difference between the personal and the political.

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    1. I’m really not talking about all the women he had consensual sex with. I do think imbalance of power is an issue, but it’s not exactly illegal to ask a woman to sleep with you just because you happen to be POTUS. I think he raped women. And that doesn’t get a pass. Not ever.

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  6. This is what I know: Bill has lied about his sexual antics. Under oath. He has paid at least one woman off who he’s slept with. Women have accused him of sexual assault and rape. Statistically speaking, they are unlikely to be lying.

    This is what I speculate: Those women were telling the truth. Bill has covered up indiscretions we don’t even know about. Some of those were assault and rape. Hillary knows all about it.

    What kind of proof are you looking for? Video? Ripped clothing? Another 60 women coming forward?

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    1. No, don’t need ripped clothing. I know better than that. I did not know he had been publicly accused of rape. In which case, Certainly Hillary would have to know that. Whether she believes it or not, couldn’t say. I don’t have any other thoughts on this, except that Trump and Cruz are scary as hell.

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  7. glgraig, I’m with you. I made a comment on your daughter’s fb page, and she suggested I share it here. ” I’m with your mother. Women are not responsible for their husband’s moral failures or vice versa. I’m also not attacking spouses of other candidates – although Trump is tempting.”

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    1. Yea! Somebody agrees with me! Thanks, Casey.
      The older I get, the easier I find it to overlook other people’s shortcomings and to recognize the complexity and gray areas in life.

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  8. I don’t like Hillary at all, so I haven’t been agonizing over the issues you raise. But now that you raise them for me, I agree with you. Fortunately, we can vote for Bernie Sanders. I even think he has a better chance of beating the eventual GOP nominee than does Hillary. Her negatives put the international space station at risk.

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  9. I do like Hillary and would vote for her in a second if she gets the Democratic nomination. That said, I hope Bernie gets the ticket. I do think a female president would be amazing and I think it will happen in the next few election cycles, but I fear that Hillary just already has too much baggage.

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  10. That’s always been the problem for women. We’ll get to you later. Now is not the right time. Yada, yada, yada. Guess what, we’re tired of hearing that. We want a woman President now. We have the most qualified candidate ever – and people are still nit picking. Trust me, women have her back, and we are going to elect her. And our daughters who don’t go along will eventually thank us. I’m grateful that my daughter is on board.

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  11. There are 24 people who have accused him of assault since Oxford, so this was even before he was governor. Consensual affairs are one thing, assault is another. You can’t claim that women should be believed and then take 24 other incidents and throw them out as liars. Some probably, but not all.

    Hillary’s claim to the throne is her vagina. Other than that, her career as Senator was no different than Dick Cheney’s. She’s a Hawk. Benghazi had too many special operations people for the Intercepts (liberal mag) theory of gun running not to be true, especially with ISIS blowing up.

    Not to mention her treatment of Bernie Sanders and the inflammatory rhetoric heaped against a nice old man.

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