by Gina Guest
I'm getting more
than a little tired of this "why are feminists silent?" nonsense.
not been silent! They are simply refusing to say what the radical
right wants them to say, so what they have said is simply ignored.
To recap -- when Paula Jones first made
her charges of sexual harassment against Clinton she was not ignored by
feminists -- the leaders of N.O.W. asked to meet with her and hear her
story first hand.
A telephone meeting was arranged but when
the call went through Paula Jones' lawyer told N.O.W. leaders that his
client was out shopping and he would speak for her. His
"speech" consisted of a demand that NOW provide Paula Jones with
money and moral support without expecting her to speak to them.
Apparently to the right wing backers of
Paula Jones, feminists were simply supposed to support any woman making
any allegation of sexual misconduct without even hearing her story first
hand. When it didn't happen that way the right wing got yet another
stick to beat feminists with.
Despite this, feminist leaders have supported
Paula Jones's right to have her day in court and have a judge and jury
hear her case. When Clinton's lawyer suggested he would grill Paula
Jones about her sexual history, feminist leaders protested immediately
and loudly and he quickly back pedaled from that position.
Monica Lewinsky has stated under oath that
she did not have a sexual relationship with President Clinton. She
has never charged that the President encouraged her to lie.
Linda Tripp, who
commited a felony by taping Monica Lewinsky without her knowledge and was
immediately given full immunity for that felony by Ken Starr, and
at his urging (for which he did not have judicial authority), repeated
her illegal acts has said that Monica Lewinsky told her she had a sexual
relationship with Bill Clinton and that he urged her to lie about it. Linda
Tripp illegally taped these conversations at the suggestion of her literary
agent, a woman who has repeatedly and publicly stated she is out to "bring
Clinton down," in order to make a anti-Clinton book Tripp has been
trying to market for more than 3 years more sellable.
As for Gennifer Flowers, Clinton did not
say he had never had an affair with her, he said he had not had a 12 year
affair with her but admitted he had made "mistakes" in his marriage.
Hair-splitting on his part? Yes, but why was it an issue to begin
with? She didn't work for him nor did she claim the relationship
was anything other than consensual. None
of the other candidates running for national political office were asked
to confirm or deny their faithfulness to their spouse, nor did
Clinton make any of his statements about Gennifer Flowers under oath.
Perhaps Clinton has sexually harassed women,
but to date there is no proof that is the case. If such charges are proven,
I expect that feminists will react as they have in the past and demand
justice to be done, but to do so before such charges are proven is irresponsible.
And despite the stereotypes of feminists spread by the right wing, we are
not irresponsible, irrational man-hating harpies who act without
thinking and without proof.
There does, however, exist substantial
proof that Ken Starr who is supposedly investigating this matter has consistently
abused women (and his position).
The widow of Vince
Foster was put through years of agony while trying to cope with her grief
over her husband's suicide. Her
house was searched, she, her family and friends were repeatedly questioned,
her husband's private possessions were taken from her. His good character
was questioned and her privacy was destroyed. All in an effort by
Ken Starr to prove that Richard Scaife's conspiracy fantasy had some basis
and despite the earlier findings of the police, the F.B.I., the coroner
and another independent prosecutor that Vince Foster had committed suicide.
Even after Ken Starr concluded for himself
that Foster committed suicide, he delayed making his report public for
several months (until after getting his lucrative job offer from Richard
Scaife), completely ignoring the continued suffering and injustice he was
inflicting on Mrs. Foster and her family.
Then there is Susan McDougal, who the woman-abusing
Mr. Starr who has kept in prison for 16 months by repeatedly lying to a
judge that he has new evidence that justifies continuing to imprison Mrs.
McDougal for contempt -- evidence he has yet to present to the Grand Jury
despite extending its term twice.
has spent much of that time in solitary confinement, deprived of medical
care and treated in a more severe manner that convicted serial murderers
because she refuses to give the
testimony Starr wants her to give, even though she has repeatedly stated
that what he wants her to say is not true.
Finally we have Monica
Lewinsky, a woman who has had her most basic legal rights to privacy taken
from her by Mr. Starr despite the fact that he had no judicial
authority to wire an informant to tape her private conversations. He
has publicly threatened and harassed her, called her family to testify
against her and probably is responsible for leaking details he illegally
obtained in order to pressure her.
commented on this proven abuse of women. Their objections have been
So what is it that feminists are being
asked to do -- ignore the proven abuse of multiple women by Mr. Starr,
demand the removal of the President of the United States without proof
that he has done anything illegal or immoral, and bash Hillary Clinton
because she chooses to believe the man she has spent most of her adult
life with rather than those who are his declared enemies.
How stupid does the right wing think we
Gina Guest, 1998