By Sandra Kobrin
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Maria Shriver asked for privacy this week in the matter of her breakup with Schwarzenegger over his "love child." Sandra Kobrin says sorry, but when a woman stays married to a powerful womanizer, the personal turns deeply public and political.
Sinclair has another chance to choose confrontation or complicity.
Banon, a goddaughter to Strauss-Kahn's second wife, stayed silent in 2007 on the advice of her mother. Now--spurred by the courage of a West African immigrant woman who stood up to speak her piece in New York court on Wednesday--Banon is planning to reopen her case and make a complaint. She has been quoted as saying she wants to put a stop to Strauss-Kahn's behavior like a "rutting chimpanzee." He currently faces charges for attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. He could face up to 25 years in prison.
Once a frontrunner in the upcoming presidential race in France, Strauss-Kahn attributed his difficult time in politics to "Money, women and the fact I am Jewish." He added: "Yes, I like women . . . so what?"
Likes women? I shudder to think how he'd act if he didn't like them.
I wonder what Sinclair's Tipper point might be? Or for that matter, many other women, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who, after silently supporting her adulterous husband through his numerous public affairs, suffered through the humiliation of him being impeached for lying about an affair with a young intern.
Elizabeth Edwards reached her Tipper point only months before she died. For years her presence at John Edwards' side protected the North Carolina politician and presidential aspirant from rumors that he cheated. Then came news of his "love child" and she was gone.
There are plenty of other wives to wonder about and wish they'd reached their Tipper point sooner.
Jenny Sanford of South Carolina did finally leave her adulterous husband Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, who became scandal-embroiled after he left his post under the cover story of hiking the Appalachian Trail when he was really visiting his mistress in South America--on the state's dollar.
Dina McGreevey's husband, Jim McGreevey, resigned as governor of New Jersey after he disclosed an affair with a man. Yes, she stood there by his side. But they too later divorced.
If women stand up sooner it could help women who try to speak up about sex harassment and sex assault.
Consider Mike Savage's radio talk show on Tuesday, which spent time on the host's theories that Strauss-Kahn was "framed" and gave air time to callers who trashed rape accusers as "liars."
The right-wing Savage has little in common politically speaking with the "caviar Socialist" Strauss-Khan. But when it came to the spectacle of an anonymous woman challenging a powerful man, Savage and his ilk circled the wagons.
Wives who don't stand up for themselves support a culture of impunity for male power and reprisal for women who dare to challenge them.
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Sandra Kobrin is a Los Angeles-based writer and columnist.
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