I really have come to believe that my brain is just functioning on a different wavelength than everyone else’s today. From Michael Vick being re-hired by Nike to the news that Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been released on his own recognizance, I really just can’t understand what the hell is going on.
I understand that there are certainly political motivations for wanting Dominique Strauss-Kahn out of the IMF picture. I get that. But what I don’t understand is why the young woman who accused him of forcing her to perform oral and anal sex is getting such a bum rap – and this time, not only from the usual suspects.
We know that victim-blaming and doubting is a major problem in the U.S., especially among the media. Comparisons between Strauss-Kahn and the Duke lacrosse team are emanating from the men’s rights types, and we heard today that the case could be dropped due to credibility issues from the victim – but what are those issues?
Reuters reported this morning that the prosecution had detailed the “inconsistencies” in the accuser’s testimony, relating to events that occurred immediately after the alleged rape. Reuters said that “The accuser initially told prosecutors and the grand jury she fled to the hallway after the incident and waited for Strauss-Kahn to leave, and informed a supervisor of what happened shortly after, prosecutors said.
“The complainant (accuser) has since admitted that this account was false and that after the incident in Suite 2806, she proceeded to clean a nearby room and then returned to Suite 2806 and began to clean that suite before she reported the incident to her supervisor.”
LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT. She was scared and didn’t know what to do, so she kept going on with her job? Well hot damn if that isn’t the strangest thing that could ever happen. AND ALSO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT – she told prosecutors that she told her supervisor right away. Again, what an oddity, considering that rape victims are typically not believed when they do something else (like shower, or try to freaking compose themselves) before reporting to the authorities.
Other points of contention – her West African upbringing in a hut, her lack of education, and her immigration status. Don’t even get me started. Let me guess? She had a boyfriend that she once had sex with, too?
Sheesh. I am overwhelmed by the lack of compassion and blatant victim-blaming by the media. I engaged in a conversation on Twitter with @irincarmon about the subject, and was really disappointed by what she had to say. Below is a brief summary of our exchange:
@aemccarthy RT @Reuters: FLASH: Dominique Strauss-Kahn released on own recognizance // This is the treatment alleged rapists get. Victims get badgered.
@irincarmon @aemccarthy @jaclynf to be fair, he didn’t exactly get red carpet treatment before prosecutors changed their minds about the case.
WHUT? The dude is staying in a palatial New York apartment while the victim gets doubted, dragged through the mud, and her entire personal history indicted. Strauss-Kahn, on the other, hand gets a different treatment – with the papers wondering whether or not his “flirtatious nature” reveals “something more sinister.”
When we live in a society where the vast majority of rape victims never see their attackers brought to justice, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t have sympathy for the foreign dignitary that had to do a perp walk and spend a night in Rikers. That just sounds terrible. Meanwhile, the rape victim has to live with what she describes as a brutal sexual attack.
Of course, he says it’s consensual and that this is all a giant political ploy by the United States. And maybe it is. But with NO other crime do we give the accused so much leeway – think of murder cases. Scott Peterson was guilty (in the eyes of the media) before he could even step foot in a courtroom. Same for Casey Anthony.
I’m not saying that pre-judging someone’s innocence or guilt is a good thing, but it would be nice for the victim to at least have the benefit of the doubt of the public! But no, until we get rid of this victim-blaming and ultimately misogynistic paradigm rape victims – men OR women – are always going to be treated like crap.
Ultimately, we’ll never know what happened in that hotel suite. But we can hope that the victim, and perhaps Strauss-Kahn’s other alleged victims can at least get justice – although it looks like that might be a pipe dream at this point.
(SIDE RANT: Am I the only one who finds the use of “chamber maid” to describe the victim highly patronizing? It seems like they repeat it over and over again – for what purpose?)
Amy is a social media strategist living in Dallas, Texas. She likes music, trashy TV, and ladybiz. tweet: @aemccarthy