Monday, 11 July 2011

Is the jury really still out?

Can I just say in my defence that I've resisted weighing in on the case against Dominique Strauss Kahn for some weeks now. The reason for this was primarily because  there is no shortage of so-called factual accounts and opinion pieces on the matter. Everyone seems to be adding their two cents worth of what they think happened or didn't happen, and who they believe is credible etc etc. I feel as though it's all getting a little tired to use a popular expression. So forgive me for going back on my word but as the media backlash gets nastier with Le Monde deciding to publish a photo of DSK's accusatrice together with an account of a visit to her impoverished village, I can't help but express my opinion and outrage at what's being bandied about in the media, both American and French.

So we've all read theories from the claim that the whole affair is part of a rather cunning plan by DSK's political opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy to the stories of DSK's Accuser being a dishonest sex worker who lied on her asylum application and associated with a known drug dealer. It's been quite a 180degree turn from most of the press; the story started with a woman that was a devout muslim and became one of someone that could not be trusted because she had lied about her asylum application and made reference to her intention to benefit from DSK's wealth in a private conversation. To be fair though, the French media has been consistent in condeming her and doing their best to reveal her identity in order to secure the backlash. Having said that, their stance was in part to do with their rivalry with the Americans and their treatment of the would-be French President; from the dreaded 'perp walk' (the parading of an Accused person for all to see) to the moral high ground many Americans took over French attitudes towards "ow you say...ze sexual indiscretions" of a public figure.

Without wanting to go into the merits of the case itself, there are some issues that I feel in desperate need of a healthy dose of realism.

Starting with the District Attorney's doubts about her account which have stemmed from the lies she told on her US asylum application - which somehow means that she could not be truthful about a rape and by extension anything else, even if a rape allegation is supported by physical evidence. In effect what such a conclusion suggests is that if there was bruising consistent with someone having grabbed her private parts (which is what was alleged), this would be worthless evidence because she had lied on a matter completely unrelated to these events.

Secondly there's the issue of a private conversation she had a day or two after the incident which reveals that she was at that time aware of DSK's status and wealth and hoped to benefit from it - for argument's sake let's assume she is in effect a gold-digger. If my memory serves me, there have been countless women who approached rich men (assuming this was the case although there's no evidence to suggest it), and were subsequently raped by them - remember Mike Tyson who was convicted of raping a beauty pageant queen who visited him in his room at 2 a.m. Likewise English footballers will attest to the countless women who've accused them of rape which often took place in these men's hotel rooms. Yet the location and the women's  motives for going there in the first place did not dissuade prosecutors from bringing rape charges. Perhaps the standard for rape has since changed but the last time I checked, telling lies in an unrelated matter and being a gold-digger does not bar a person from being a credible rape victim, ...until now that is.

The notion of having lied on one's asylum application is too laughable to even discuss in detail. It's like being told that people lie on their CVs...... - to which my response would be: "no shit Sherlock" . Yes people lie on asylum application because their futures are on the line - often times it's a choice between economic hardship and opportunities to better their lives and the lives of their families. How is that any different to the countless middle class parents who lie to get their children into one school or the other? Surely lying for personal benefit whether it's to secure the right to remain in a country or to secure a better furture for our children is something we're all familiar with whether we care to admit to it or not.

Another matter that has me asking 'wtf' stems from the fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has never denied having sex with his Accuser. So whether this was a set-up or not, his lawyers can confirm that she didn't make up the fact that there was some kind of sexual act; the question that arises is whether it was consensual or not. Now while I appreciate that tastes vary, can someone please confirm the number of times they've seen a young attractive woman jump on an old pot-bellied man simply out of an uncontrollable sense of attraction? Granted there may well be exceptions to the rule but generally the older man-younger woman equation involves atleast one other element, - money. Yet DSK is not saying that he paid her for sex or that she even asked him for money and he refused but that consensual sex simply happened So I have to conclude that she found him so irresistible that she thought 'Yeah...why not random old naked man in room I'm cleaning, why don't I just have sex with you, that sounds like a fun thing to do.' I mean really? Really people? What are the chances? Or have I missed a new trend? Are old men the new Brad Pitt/Boris Kodjoe?

Whatever the outcome of the trial, if in fact the case goes to trial, I wish the media would just stop the hypocrisy and double standards. Either we have certain standards that we uphold regardless of who we're dealing with or we don't. We cannot have a 'No means no!' motto for certain victims of rape and have a 'Well it depends on what kind of a person you are' for others. Let's deal with the facts pure and simple and if race and power are going to come in to play then for goodness sake, let's call it like it is instead of hiding behind lies and false theories.


JBH said...

My thoughts exactly! I bet the story would be different if she had been a young, hot blonde Swedish woman. But an African.... Asylum seeker at that!? Gotta be some gold-digging, shady person. All this while knowing DSKs alledged sleazy reputation. What baffles me is I've heard comments from fellow Africans doubting her story because of the fib she purportedly gave on her Asylum application. Baffled because I'm sure they must know that some people do that or will say anything to live in the US or UK or whatever & the more harrowing & pitiful the story, the better chance they have at an asylum approval. So does lying once or whatever cancel out any tales of subsequent rape? A rape victim is a rape victim even if 'hooking' is her line if work. IMO, they shagged. Whether it was consensual, forced or for money (which as one story goes, it was & he refused to pay). Who'd want someone like that for a leader?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your post and JBH's comment completely. So what if she did or didn't lie on her application? Even, if she had decided to jump on this old man (as unlikely as that seems), and at the last minute decided that she didn't want him, that would mean that she was raped. It's so despicable that a woman must be dragged through the mud and scrutinized every single time she accuses a man of rape... or any sexual violation. Is it any wonder so many rape cases are unreported?