Skip to main content

The public humiliation of Huma Abedin

By Lisa Bloom, Special to CNN
updated 5:27 PM EDT, Thu July 25, 2013
Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, hold a press conference on Tuesday, July 23, to address explicit online exchanges that were published by a gossip website. Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, hold a press conference on Tuesday, July 23, to address explicit online exchanges that were published by a gossip website.
HIDE CAPTION
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Huma Abedin stood by Anthony Weiner as he addressed new revelations of lewd behavior
  • Lisa Bloom: She has a right, but it's a craven political move, and it degrades her
  • She says we need to get rid of the wife-as-doormat visual; it is basically abusive
  • Bloom: Note to married male politicians who stray: Face the press alone

Editor's note: Lisa Bloom is an attorney, a legal analyst for Avvo.com and the author of "Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World."

(CNN) -- Isn't it time to call the spectacle of the suffering political wife, standing by her man in the media glare as he admits to his latest sexual offense against her, what it really is: spousal abuse?

Huma Abedin has the right to make any decisions she wants about her life, just as a victim of domestic abuse has the right to return for more -- but we don't have to stand silently by and condone it.

On Tuesday, she read from a script about forgiving her husband, New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, as he was forced to address allegations that he sent sexually explicit texts and photographs of his genitals to a woman he'd never met, a year after he'd resigned in shame for this very accusations in 2011 and publicly promised to stop. And after she'd given birth to their child, and after he'd presumably gone to whatever Twitter sexting rehab he found, and Lord knows what else.

Gallery: Politicians wives who've stood by their men, and those who haven't

Lisa Bloom
Lisa Bloom

Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, was reduced to the standing-by-her-man-at-the-news-conference archetype, a dated wife-as-doormat visual it's time to eliminate from our political theater.

Sure, she can keep him around if she wants to. But we don't have to bless their craven political move to stand together before the cameras to protect his career, nor do we have to play along as they both pretend that this is something other than more public degradation of her. That they are both consenting adults who participate in this behavior does not make it acceptable to the rest of us. (Simple test: Would you want your daughter in that tableau?)

Did Weiner's wife do the right thing?
With his wife, Huma Abedin, by his side, New York mayoral candidate and former congressman Anthony Weiner confirms on July 23 that some of the sexually explicit online exchanges that were published by a gossip website happened after previous revelations forced him to resign from the U.S. House in 2011. With his wife, Huma Abedin, by his side, New York mayoral candidate and former congressman Anthony Weiner confirms on July 23 that some of the sexually explicit online exchanges that were published by a gossip website happened after previous revelations forced him to resign from the U.S. House in 2011.
Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
Wives who stood by their men Wives who stood by their men
Who is Huma Abedin?
Weiner: Voters not interested in my past
Weiner apologizes with wife at his side

Opinion: Why does Abedin put up with Weiner?

We have the right to say that we will not enable this anymore; we will not endorse it; we will not bless it just because it is her "choice." Instead, we will call a public figure's cheating on his wife, then bringing her to the mea culpa press conference, not only offensive to her but a slap in the face to women in the electorate.

Who is Huma Abedin?

It was bad enough when Harvard Law grad Silda Wall Spitzer stood mutely beside then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer as he confessed in 2008 to patronizing prostitutes. Or when former hospital executive Dina McGreevey stood silently next to her cheating husband, then-New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, as he announced his resignation in 2004.

Some of us are trying to raise our girls to be more than voiceless partners sucking up their pride as their husbands trample over their dignity. Men like Weiner and Spitzer were well aware of the excruciating pain the disclosure of their thrill-seeking behavior would cause their wives while they were public figures, and they engaged in it anyway, via elaborate lies and artifices, eyes wide open. In the case of Anthony Weiner, a.k.a. Carlos Danger -- and maybe all of them -- that risk probably amped up the sexual excitement.

Why we act on stupid impulses

Here's the simple rule for male politicians: If you had your fun without her, man up and face the press corps without her. Ironically, each of these men calls himself a feminist. Respect for women begins at home, fellas.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinons expressed in this commentary are solely those of Lisa Bloom.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Sat September 13, 2014
Joe Torre and Esta Soler say much has been achieved since a landmark anti-violence law was passed.
updated 4:55 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
David Wheeler wonders: If Scotland votes to secede, can America take its place and rejoin England?
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Jane Stoever: Society must grapple with a culture in which 1 in 3 teen girls and women suffer partner violence.
updated 4:36 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking recently said the world as we know it could be obliterated instantaneously. Meg Urry says fear not.
updated 6:11 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Bill Clinton's speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president in 1992 went through 22 drafts. But he always insisted on including a call to service.
updated 6:18 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Joe Amon asks: What turns a few cases of disease into thousands?
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
A Scottish vote for independence next week could trigger wave of separatist tension in Europe, says Frida Ghitis.
updated 6:12 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
You couldn't call him a "Bond villain" in the grand context of Dr. No or Auric Goldfinger. They were twisted visionaries of apocalypse whose ideas were to be played out at humanity's expense.
updated 1:05 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
As a Latina activist I was hurt to hear the President would delay executive action to keep undocumented immigrants with no criminal record from getting deported.
updated 1:21 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Sally Kohn says bombing ISIS will worsen instability in Iraq and strengthen radical ideology in terrorist groups.
updated 6:24 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Stevan Weine says the key is to stop young people from acquiring radicalized beliefs in the first place.
updated 1:30 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Analysts weigh in on the president's plans for addressing the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
US Currency is seen in this January 30, 2001 image. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Lisa Gilbert says a million people have asked the SEC to make corporations disclose political contributions.
updated 12:55 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Christi Paul says unless you've walked in an abused woman's shoes, don't judge her, help her get answers to the right questions: Why does he get to hit her? And why does nobody do anything to stop him?
updated 3:32 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Mel Robbins says several other NFL players arrested recently in domestic violence are back on the field. Roger Goodell has shown he is clueless on abuse. He must go.
updated 1:59 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Newt Gingrich says President Obama has a remarkable opportunity Wednesday night to mobilize support for a coalition against ISIS.
updated 8:41 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
The Texas senator says Obama should seek congressional authorization for a major bombing campaign vs. ISIS.
updated 9:27 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Artist Prune Nourry's project reinterprets the terracotta warriors in an exhibition about gender preference in China.
updated 9:36 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
The Apple Watch is on its way. Jeff Yang asks: Are we ready to embrace wearables technology at last?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT