There was a time, when women with unfaithful spouses had limited options.  The husband was the main provider, divorce was considered socially and religiously unacceptable, and most women did not have separate sources of income to start a new life for themselves and their children.  These women were pretty much stuck in a doomed and dubious marriage.

But in this day in age, why do so many women “stand by their man” when he defiles their partnership with painful, humiliating, and often repeated egregious sexual behavior?

Before exploring this question, it must be noted that there are men “who stand by their women” when they are not faithful, but the likelihood of a man taking a hike when his mate strays is exponentially higher.  Also, there are marriages that survive and even thrive after one of the partners has an affair, but these marriages are not what this column is about.

We are talking about women who stay with their man even after he has been exposed as a serial philanderer, harasser, and abuser of women.  We all know them…the wife whose husband has been charged with countless cases of sexual harassment and she believes or pretends to believe her husband has been unfairly accused…or the wife who knows her husband is having affairs or far worse, sexually exploiting women, but opts to ignore his behavior or act as though what she knows is happening, is not.

Sometimes, these women are at an age where they see their options as being few; other times, they long ago stopped caring about what their husbands did outside their marriage as long as the social and financial status was not harmed; or they do it “for the children.”

There are others who even go farther, like Hillary Clinton who some claim didn’t “stand by her man, she stood by her plan.”  Her husband was her gateway to power and high office; so she not only denied his lifelong infidelity, she vigorously went after the women with whom he had willing and forced sex…to silence, threaten, and destroy them.  Their marriage is a political partnership.  The “deal” Hillary made with her husband may have served their ambitions; but her eagerness to go after her husband’s victims and girlfriends morphed her into an accomplice.

For some women (and men as well) sometimes it is easier to ignore the obvious than making the effort to repair or build the marriage.  But that is between them and as long as they are okay with that arrangement and there are no victims involved, it should remain between them.

However, denial of blatant pervasive sexual harassment, by the harassers or their partners is not a victimless private “arrangement.”   The licentious comic and disgraced ousted Democrat from Minnesota Al Franken is contemplating running again for office.

Franken’s wife Franni, who stayed with him after a majority of his fellow senators demanded he step down when he was exposed as a dirty old man, said the following to a local TV station, “the resignation was difficult for the family.”

“It has been a challenge, but we do get to spend more time together, and I think there are times that both of  us would like to spend less time together,” she said.

The “resignation” was difficult for the family?  What about the humiliation of Franken’s abuse and exploitation of women for personal gratification and sick humor…didn’t that cause the Franken family any angst?

At what stage do these “stand by your man” women get promoted from pitiful dupes to enablers?

Perhaps when they publicly admit that there are times “when they would like to spend less time together with their husbands.”

It would be sad for Mrs. Franken if she was the only one made to suffer by her husband’s prurient behavior; but she isn’t.  And if the voters of Minnesota send Al Franken back to the senate, the are enabling his despicable behavior as well.  Why would they do such a thing?

Jayne Carroll hosted a daily talk show in afternoon drive time in the Portland, Oregon metro area for more than 20 years.  She wrote a popular conservative newspaper column for over a decade.  Her live shows and podcasts can now be heard at in addition to her political commentary, “Jayne Says“.  Jayne and her Producer Jeremy Scott can be contacted here.  Guest appearances and speaking bookings can be arranged via email at [email protected].