There was a lot of rehashing of the Democratic primary and the general election campaign in the final weeks of 2008. In the process, even Howard Dean publicly acknowledged the sexism endured by Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
Reading Nicholas Kristof’s painful op-ed in the New York Times this new year’s morning on the brutal exploitation of teenage girls in Cambodia reminded me that Kristof – well known for his reports on the abuse of females in other cultures – joined his so-called liberal colleagues in the media in their concerted attempt to force Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race.
Gloria Steinem among others has since reminded us that no male candidate has ever been told to drop out.
In the meantime Obama named Clinton as secretary of state in his administration. That distinction did not inhibit Jon Favreau, the head of Obama’s speechwriting team, from joining a drunken male friend to sexually molest a cardboard cutout of Clinton.
Needless to say Favreau has not been fired for his adventure in hate speech; we hear the young man is busy working on Obama’s inaugural address.
It’s long been my contention that the repeated evidence of misogyny in America - reported worldwide - gives permission to other cultures to continue horrific treatment of girls and women.
We’re reminded of the 13-year-old Somali girl who was brutally raped by three men while on her way to visit her grandmother. The child went to the authorities for help and was charged with adultery. She was then publicly stoned to death.
To my knowledge Sen. Hillary Clinton was the only American official to write a letter to the United Nations on behalf of this child.
This morning, Kristof’s column is yet another on the abuse of girls and women in poor countries; this time he tells the story of Sina Vann, a teenager in Cambodia brutally forced into prostitution.
Among the ugly details:
“Sina is Vietnamese but was kidnapped at the age of 13 and taken to Cambodia, where she was drugged. She said she woke up naked and bloody on a bed with a white man — she doesn’t know his nationality — who had purchased her virginity.”
I’m left wondering if Kristof will ever take responsibility for his role -along with his sexist colleagues in the media - in the world’s continued ill treatment of girls and women.
I doubt it.