One thing a woman can't do. Hard choices, indeed. By Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America

One thing a woman can’t do. Hard choices, indeed.
By Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America
posted on HuffPostPol

YOU CANNOT police a man’s penis.

Ask Hillary, or Camille Cosby, or Huma Abedin.

What does a woman do when allegations against the man she’s married to include unprovable and alleged crimes that make her ashamed?

Mrs. Cosby has chosen to deny, deny, and then her lawyers petitioned and got a stay on her deposition in the defamation suit brought by 7 Cosby accusers. But what does she think of the women who are victims of her husband? Mrs. Cosby is quoted as saying she “stopped being embarrassed long ago” during years of Bill Cosby’s serial philandering. The public now knows this includes allegations from over 50 women, including that he drugged and sexually assaulted them.

No one’s blaming Camille Cosby.

Hillary’s not so lucky.

…Flowers accused Hillary of being “an enabler that has encouraged [Bill] to go out and do whatever he does with women.” – Karen Tumulty and Frances Stead Sellers [Washington Post]

That’s because Hillary wants to be president. So when she told the Des Moines Register that Donald Trump has “demonstrated a penchant for sexism,” a whole new discussion blossomed, which includes people using Hillary Clinton’s own words against her.

Remember this tweet back in November?

Donald Trump has now created an Instagram video that targets Hillary Clinton using her husband, also featuring Bill Cosby and Anthony Weiner.

Thursday in Iowa on the campaign trail, former President Bill Clinton was asked to comment and he said, “If he wins the Republican nomination we’ll have plenty of time to talk about it.” Betting that Trump won’t win even if the state-by-state polling doesn’t support that point of view, the Clintons were surprised that Donald Trump would go where he did and quickly recalibrated.

Trump’s strategy is to separate Hillary Clinton from women supporters by using her husband’s behavior, over which she had no control. Will it work?

It depends whether women voters are going to hold Hillary Clinton accountable for her husband’s “bimbo eruptions,” which are separate from the allegations of sexual assault being dragged out of the past and dusted off to hurt the first woman politician to have a viable chance to be the nominee of her party.

“Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported,” Hillary tweeted, so does that mean we should give Juanita Broaddrick the benefit of the doubt? Yes, but there remains no proof.

When the Rolling Stone rape article came out, “Jackie” was believed and she should have been. Until her story started falling apart. As a feminist, I always consider the sexual assault charges true when made, but it’s the 21st century and we also have to encourage and expect women who are victims of sexual assault to come forward with proof to back up their claims. It’s how we stop the cycle.

Back decades ago when Bill Cosby was allegedly assaulting woman after woman we were living in a different era. The same goes for the allegations made against Bill Clinton. Ms. Flowers, as well as Monica Lewinsky, were both consensual relationships.

What does a woman do who loves a man who can’t be faithful? She accepts it or leaves. What about when allegations surface that he’s done something worse? Camille Cosby is standing by her man. Back in the early ’90s, Mrs. Clinton infamously said to Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes,” “I’m not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.” Hillary continued, “I’m sitting here because I love him and I respect him.”

Does her president husband, a much-beloved man around the world and in the Democratic party, campaigning as her top surrogate demand the Clintons address the past allegations? More importantly, does the resurrection of allegations against Hillary’s husband disqualify her from trumpeting her signature slogan, “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights,” without looking like a hypocrite?

It depends on whether you believe a woman can police her husband’s behavior.

Why does a woman stay with a man who cheats on her over and over again? When he’s been accused of sexual assault, why would a woman stay?

It’s the question I received most often from women when I was on the front lines of the 2008 Democratic election cycle. Religious faith and marriage vows don’t cut it today because more and more young people see “faith” as spirituality that’s unmoored from traditional religious rules. Marriage is a different institution today too because women have the money to leave, which changed everything.

Explaining the Clinton marriage in the modern era isn’t easy.

Blaming Hillary because of what her husband did isn’t fair.

For women looking on and considering the first woman president, as the cable airwaves and social media rehash the sordid sexual drama of an American marriage, it’s a reminder of what it took for Hillary Clinton to make it out of the shadows of her husband. Who now represents part of a patriarchal system that used to treat women as second-class citizens.