Let's be clear about the controversy swirling around former Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton. Clear on what it entails. And what it does not.
It is not about politics or power. It is not about fame or influence.
With public figures so routinely ensnared by their own stupidity/moral failings, it's tempting to muddle everything into one big public pit of sexual dalliance.
But this is not a tale of a golf hero chasing after a cocktail waitress.
Not thongs in the White House. Not expensive hookers. Not tangos with an Argentinean mistress.
What may be closer is a former Chiefs star accused of behaving badly toward women in clubs.
But that doesn't begin to compete with the charges at the root of this scandal — extreme violence against a woman.
Jetton is divorced. The woman in the story is going through her own divorce. This isn't about infidelity.
Some of the details from the documents in the case could make one wonder why the prosecutor isn't discussing a rape charge. It's clear that the woman is suggesting a date rape drug was placed in her wine and that she lost consciousness at times.
There are all kinds of people and all kinds of approaches to sex. As long as it is between consenting adults, doesn't involve animals or children, I don't care what people agree to do in private. But there is meanness and brutality in the details leaking out of Sikeston, Mo.
So set aside the inclination to snicker at details — like the idea of Jetton and the woman agreeing to utter "green balloons" to halt the sex acts if things became too rough.
Police noted the bruises on her breast and thighs. The woman told police she woke up on the floor with Jetton choking her.
But what most suggests that this was more than a sex game was the damage to her face. What woman emerging from a bedroom wants to go into public with welts, bruises and scratches across her face and neck?
"False allegations," according to the statement issued by Jetton's lawyer.
I'd guess sexual assault has as many perpetrators among liberals as conservatives. So the latest riffs about hypocrites within the party of family values pulls our focus from where it should be — on the alleged victim.
Whatever the legal outcome of this case, Jetton's public persona is wounded. But unwanted violence has forever altered a woman's life.