What Hillary knew

As first lady, Hillary Clinton created a children’s health insurance program that continues to provide health care to millions of American children; as a U.S. senator she secured the billions of federal dollars necessary to right the great damage done to the New York City and its residents after 9/11. But in addition to these great and good works, she must have looked at the facts about Juanita Broaddrick and decided to put them in the same locked box where she kept the truth of Bill’s consensual affairs. As a wife, she had every right to do that. But as a Democratic candidate for president—one whose historic campaign was largely centered on the glass ceiling and the rise of women—she had a Grand Canyon-sized vulnerability, as she learned a year before the general election when she blithely tweeted out this corker: “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”

That’s our Hillary—and that’s the woman that even some of her staunchest supporters have been gritting their teeth over for decades. (At least O.J. Simpson had the grace to spend a few months looking for “the real killer.”) Hillary had put the many women who’d credibly accused her husband of sexual misconduct into the forgetting hole and forgotten that women—progressive women and conservative women alike—have a very different view of rape and assault than they did 20 years ago. We don’t send victims who lack a police report or a photograph of their bruises to the back of the line. We understand that rape is so violent and so scarring that it can take years for a woman to come forward to describe it. We understand that—as with the women now accusing the U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sex crimes—it can take an abuser’s rise to greater fame and power that prompts them to stand up for themselves and tell the painful truth.