Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Chief of the International Monetary Fund, stands accused of forcible sexual assault on a hotel maid at the hotel where he was staying in New York City last weekend. According to her account, he chased her down the hall, pulled her into his room, and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
If it's true, she has been horribly victimized by a man who ought to have known better and from whom the entire world expected a lot. So why are we treating HER like the criminal?
Today, the New York Post revealed that she is living in an apartment building where all tenants have at least one household member who has HIV or AIDS, essentially revealing the location of a victim's home -- a big journalistic no-no. There have been numerous suggestions that she is framing him and only doing it to collect money from the disgraced banker.
It is despicable.
The Post quoted a lawyer who said: "She could make $6 million, maybe more, just by shutting her mouth."
Really, there are no words to describe how disgusting that comment is. Whether intentional or not, he invoked the assault and then suggested that she might be lying. It isn't the media's role to decide if she's telling the truth. We're obligated to show both sides and Strauss-Kahn IS innocent until proven guilty.
There are signs, of course, that this woman is telling the truth. Hotel video shows her running from the room. He was known as the "great seducer" for using his position to try to persuade women to sleep with him. He allegedly attacked another woman several years ago. The evidence, it seems, is there.
Is it a sublimely stupid move that's hard to imagine a person of that stature would pull? Yes. But stranger things have happened. It isn't the media's job to say whether she was raped or not. We should report the facts, but any "tone" that we take ought to be done responsibly.
There isn't a story I've read that gives any indication that she might truly be lying. So egregious is the "blame the victim" mentality here that the entire country of France has more or less decided to side with Strauss-Kahn. In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Stephen Clarke said:
They [the French elite] believe themselves so indispensable to the running of the country that trying to topple one of them is a bit like threatening to shoot a prize racehorse for nibbling your lawn. You’re meant to shut up and let them nibble. This is why the French establishment sees Mr. Strauss-Kahn -- rather than the traumatized chambermaid the police say he attacked -- as the victim. The same case would never have come out in the open in Paris. The woman would have been quietly asked whether she thought it was worth risking her job and her residence permit.
Standing for this is just plain wrong. There is no reason a woman should be made to feel like she asked for it or is lying or that if she tells the truth, she will be vilified. Strauss-Kahn is still an alleged criminal, but she isn't. Nothing has suggested that she is a liar or has anything to gain.
This blame the victim mentality is despicable.
Do you agree that she is being victimized again?
Image via YouTube