Wednesday, July 6, 2011

He Say, She Say: The DSK Case

Rich man flirts with poor woman. Flirting becomes aggressive sexual advances. Agressive advances become F*** me and I'll pay you. Poor woman sees the payday and agrees. After it's all over she decides to cry rape.

Sound familiar?

No this isn't the scenario of the latest episode of Law & Order: SVU this is the case of one of the most powerful men in the world Dominique Strauss-Khan former head of the International Monetary Fund.

Nearly two months ago the man was pulled off his plane to Paris and arrested on sexual assault charges. The accusation was made by a hotel maid. Working in television news,I have followed this story closely. Immediately after his arrest, I ran a story in my show from France with women's reactions there. The general consensus was that this arrest was coming because he's always been a playboy; the kind of man that gets whatever girl he wants even if it is by force.

He was arrested, charged, spent a day in jail, and then released on a six million dollar bond, and put on house arrest in a penthouse in TriBeCa. As he stay holed up in luxurious confinement the case against him began to fall apart.

It was found out that the 32-year-old Guinean woman accusing Strauss-Khan of rape waited to report the incident. She cleaned Strauss-Khan's room, as well as another room, and then made a phone call from a pay phone saying she was about to get paid, all before reporting her rape to the police.

Furthermore, the Guinean woman is now found to be an illegal immigrant, one who did not gain asylum to be in this country and may find herself deported when all of this is over. Meanwhile, Strauss-Khan may be able to save his political career and run for President of France; another sexual assault case in his home country not-withstanding.

So what have we here, a potential rape victim who's lost all credibility because she's told more lies than Casey Anthony, and a playboy regaining his only slightly blemished reputation day-by-day by doing nothing.

This is a problem not only for rape victims and the justice system but the way society looks at such crimes as a whole. For the better part of the summer, women in the United States, Canada and elsewhere around the world have been holding "Slut Walks." The initial protest was against a Toronto cop's statement at a college campus safety event. The cop said, "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."

The sentiment is not one that women haven't heard before. The line of questioning for a rape victim that goes, "What were you wearing? Did you in anyway suggest sex?" For true rape victims these questions, I assume, are humiliating. No woman wants to be forced into sex against her will.

Yet when cases such as the one against the Duke Lacrosse Players or Dominique Strauss-Khan come about, the validity of rape as a crime as a whole is undermined because the victims have ulterior motives even if they are truly victims.

Strauss-Khan now joins a long line of men who have been able to take advantage of women, either by force, coercion, bribery, or charm and get away with it even after an investigation is initiated.

No one is winning in these cases. Not the men who get off freely or the women who are reduced to greedy whores and gold digging sluts. We are all losing. A violent crime is reduced to a game of who touched who first and how will the alleged victim profit from it.

Real victims are losing out at the hands of high profile would-be suspects and less than witness stand ready victims. The charges against DSK may be dropped come his next court appearance on July 18th, and his accuser may be deported, but what happens to the women just doing their jobs as a hotel maid, a secretary, a waitress, a teacher, an executive Vice President or even a CEO that is approached for sex by a colleague, a friend, or even a stranger and the advance is more sour than sweet, more power than love, and the aftermath is hatred and humiliation, shame and embarrassment? What happens to those women and their cases?

If we've learned anything from this DSK case it is that it is not the named suspects and victims that we should concern ourselves with over their guilt or innocence, but the ones whose names we don't know, whose statuses are not front page news, whose backgrounds are average, who are just like us, who are hurting more than any rich man and his accuser that sees dollar signs.

1. Do you believe DSK actually raped the Guinean woman?
2. Do you think the crime of rape is being trivialized by every high profile sexual assault case that falls apart?
3. If there was any blame who does it fall on?

blog comments powered by Disqus