Author: has written 5284 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

232 Responses

  1. Anon21
    Anon21 July 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Bang-on post. I read the NYT article last night and was kind of wondering whether there was more stuff that she had lied about, specific to the actual rape, that weren’t reflected in the article. But no, it really seems like the reason they aren’t pressing this is because her drug connections and past lies about totally unrelated stuff will make her a bad witness. (Side note: not sure how to feel about how the DA is handling this either. Does it do more damage to the cause of making women feel their rape reports will be taken seriously, and making predatory men fear that they will be caught and punished if they rape someone, to drop the charges, or to put the accuser through hell on the witness stand, then have DSK get acquitted anyway?)

    If I had any faith that the reporting and blog coverage on this was going to wise up to the actual facts as we know them, I might be more sanguine about how this is playing out; however, the received understanding of this is already becoming that prosecutors think that she she lied about the rape, which is just not true, as best I can tell. Thus, this will be trotted out as an example of a “false accusation,” which it probably isn’t, and, as you say, used as an excuse not to believe the next woman who is brave enough to come forward. Really awful.

  2. Amz
    Amz July 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Depressed now.

  3. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston July 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    The Times really screwed up their reporting of this story. The DA announced earlier this afternoon that DSK’s accuser has lying about her actions in the immediate aftermath of the incident, both to cops and prosecutors and to the grand jury. It seems pretty clear that those lies are a big part of the problem for the prosecution right now. But the Times had none of it, even immediately before the press conference this morning.

    It’s another in the long line of bungled New York Times stories about high-profile rape cases, in other words.

  4. Tony
    Tony July 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

    Thank you. I was one of the ones fooled by this article. When I saw the news and started reading this article, my mind was made up. Only later I realized that none of these facts pertain to the actual alleged rape in question. This post explains it clearly, as do the Tracey S and Peter comments to that story. There is nothing more here than a character attack on the alleged victim, the kind that repeatedly comes up when the subject is rape. Back to square one.

  5. ks
    ks July 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm |

    I heard about this on NPR this morning and had pretty much the same reaction. I wondered what your take on it would be.

  6. ks
    ks July 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm |

    Let me clarify: I figured what your take would be, but I wondered about the analysis.

    And Tony is right; this is nothing more than a character attack on the victim.

  7. DSK and the “only good girls get justice” narrative at Hugo Schwyzer

    […] UPDATE: I’ve been waiting for Jill Filipovic (an attorney in New York City as well as a feminist blogger) to weigh in. And she doesn’t disappoint. See There Are No Perfect Accusers. […]

  8. Hugo
    Hugo July 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm |

    Jill, do you think Cyrus Vance is afraid of being “Nifong-ed”? Is he playing the “Look at how honest my office is! We’re being soooo up front with the defense team!” card? The comparisons to the Duke Lacrosse case are inevitable (race, class, imperfect victim) — so maybe he’s overly eager to show he’s not like the disgraced and foolish North Carolina prosecutor?

  9. emily
    emily July 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    I’ve been struggling for a while with a quote from a different recent news item – that of the virginity checks during the uprising in Egypt; ever since that piece broke I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around what sort of cultural background this makes sense:

    “We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place.”

    Many have blogged on how bizarre is the idea that non-virgins cannot also be raped. But this piece bridged that gap for me: it’s (among other things) a credibility issue. Prostitutes can’t be raped; lower-class foreigners with ties to drugs can’t be raped; slutty drunk college girls can’t be raped… As a society, we still put so much emphasis on purity and virginity – rape is seen as bad, I fear, not primarily from any sort of issue of personal rights/space violation, but rather just because it’s something that ruins purity. If you’re already impure, that negative is missing… and so rape clearly is not so big a deal.

    I guess we’re not all that far off from being a society in which one could actually say, and have it make sense, that non-virgins cannot be sexually assaulted or raped.

    I’ll mirror Amz: Depressed now.

  10. Emolee
    Emolee July 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    This story also made me think of the Egypt/virginity checks quote that emily mentions above. The general also said something along the lines of “These girls are not like your daughters, or mine.” This DSK business is just more of the same “only the pure or upper class or [fill in the blank unrelated characteristic] are not lying about rape. I get it that many witnesses’ credibility comes into play. But when the crime is sexual assault or rape, the presumption seems to be, unless you have lived a “perfect” life (which includes no lying of any kind), you are lying now. Not the case with other crimes.

  11. why
    why July 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm |

    The tone of this post makes it seem like you assume DSK is guilty. Why?.

  12. mephistephanies
    mephistephanies July 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    emily:
    I’ve been struggling for a while with a quote from a different recent news item – that of the virginity checks during the uprising in Egypt; ever since that piece broke I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around what sort of cultural background this makes sense:

    Many have blogged on how bizarre is the idea that non-virgins cannot also be raped.But this piece bridged that gap for me: it’s (among other things) a credibility issue.Prostitutes can’t be raped; lower-class foreigners with ties to drugs can’t be raped; slutty drunk college girls can’t be raped…As a society, we still put so much emphasis on purity and virginity – rape is seen as bad, I fear, not primarily from any sort of issue of personal rights/space violation, but rather just because it’s something that ruins purity.If you’re already impure, that negative is missing… and so rape clearly is not so big a deal.

    I guess we’re not all that far off from being a society in which one could actually say, and have it make sense, that non-virgins cannot be sexually assaulted or raped.

    I’ll mirror Amz: Depressed now.

    Yes to this. And it’s a terrifying thought. I’ve been vocal all my life about female sexuality, including my own…does that make it okay to rape me?

    Would they dig up naughty pictures I sent to a boyfriend and use that to prove that I was asking for it?

    I do so hope that a time never comes where that would be the case, but I feel like unless I was a doe-eyed, white Protestant virgin, anything I did that was remotely “unseemly” would make it okay to rape me in some peoples’ eyes. What the hell.

  13. Surfagirl
    Surfagirl July 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    Lying to the police, having 100,000k plus in black market money in your bank account, using 5 different phones and talking to a serious drug trafficker in prison about profiting from a rape accusation that you made are not the actions of a less than perfect human being, they are the actions of a career criminal. It looks like feministe and various commentators here are the ones blaming the victim.

  14. Tom
    Tom July 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    But I have a hard time believing that a woman with the exact same past would be considered too lacking in credibility had she accused someone of robbing her apartment or mugging her or beating her up. I have a hard time believing that if a man was punched in the face by a stranger on the street that prosecutors would drop the case if it came to light that the victim had cheated on his taxes seven years ago.

    Rape is different for a very simple reason: the exact same physical act is either a lawful, and common, activity or a crime based on the existence or absence of consent. People do not generally consent to having strangers enter their homes and take their property or to assaulting them on the street, but people engage in sexual activity all the time with near strangers. All of the physical evidence present normally will equally support either scenario: of a consensual sexual encounter or of a rape, and the only determinative element that will make it the latter is the absence of consent, which has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The only way you are going to be able to prove that in the typical he said-she said case is with the alleged victim’s testimony. If she’s not a credible witness, then there’s nothing left to support the claim that the sexual encounter was rape and not consensual.

  15. bhuesca
    bhuesca July 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    I’m reminded of the Duke lacrosse case, Anita Hill, Tawana Brawley, Kobe Bryant…cases where police and prosecutors and media acted MUCH MORE QUICKLY and then were stuck backpedaling when past lies came out.
    I’m also remided that “past behavior is a great predictor of future behavior” and how I apply this in my everyday life, and in this case it seems that she has a history of lying and he has a history of abusing/intimidating women- should I expect him to stop abusing women, and should I expect her not to lie on the stand??

  16. Tori
    Tori July 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    Yeah, I saw this article this morning and was equally disgusted.

    Victim reports sexual assault by someone with a lot of kyriarchal power. Before trial, victim’s credibility is publicly attacked with “evidence” that does not directly relate to the assault. Without any evidence altering discussion of the crime itself, it suddenly appears that the prosecution will have trouble giving a damn about proceeding with this case.

    Thus, rape culture triumphs again.

    Does anyone else smell bullshit?

  17. Lori
    Lori July 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    You nailed it, Jill. The NYT story was really disturbing to me for its victim blaming. Has anyone said she wasn’t raped? No, but she might not be perfect in other aspects of her lives. Disheartening, to say the least.

  18. Quick Hit: DSK Case & Rape Culture Reporting - The Pursuit of Harpyness

    […]  Jill @ Feministe nails it, as always: Even though these aren’t the typical “she’s a slut” attacks (although I’m counting down the minutes until someone suggests she’s a prostitute who had sex with DSK for money), there’s still an unreasonable level of virtue that we demand from any woman who says she was raped. This woman, like a lot of folks, has lied to save her own ass under dire circumstances. She called someone in jail to discuss the pros and cons of going forward with the rape accusations — something that sounds questionable unless you consider that the incarcerated person may have been her closest confidante, and I would certainly have that exact same conversation with my best friend if I were thinking of getting embroiled in a criminal case. There’s still physical evidence of sex, and physical evidence of assault. But it doesn’t matter, since she owns five cell phones (DSK owns seven) and lied about an unrelated issue and has some shady friends. Nothing that has come out about her indicates that she wasn’t raped. It just indicates that she’s no longer our ideal victim, and that’s enough to prevent the case from going forward. […]

  19. why
    why July 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    Jill: She called someone in jail to discuss the pros and cons of going forward with the rape accusations — something that sounds questionable unless you consider that the incarcerated person may have been her closest confidante, and I would certainly have that exact same conversation with my best friend if I were thinking of getting embroiled in a criminal case.

    Well, that may be the case. But you also left out some key details that have come out.

    She did not contact her friend in jail merely to discuss the pros and cons of going forward with a rape accusation. The way you wrote that implies she was discussing what kind of legal or personal issues she might face in pursuing a rape accusation. She was specifically discussing the financial benefits of a rape accusation.

    Also, contrary to your statement that her lies involved “unrelated issues,” she has also admitted lying previously about being the victim of a gang-rape in her native Guinea. The conditional probability that somebody is lying when that person has previously lied about the exact same thing before is much, much higher.

    Unless there is unambiguous evidence of sexual assault, these cases almost always hinge on witness credibility. We cannot ship people off to jail on the mere word on an accuser. Like it or not, by any objective measure her credibility is terrible, and the prosecutors made the right call (based on the evidence that has been discussed in the media).

  20. Mike
    Mike July 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    To clear something up, the New York Times has printed the prosecutor’s letter to the defense, it is available here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/07/01/nyregion/20110701-Strauss-Kahn-letter.html?ref=nyregion

    In reality, the accuser not only lied about her past, but also about the events immediately following the attack. In her initial account, she hid until she saw Mr. Strauss-Kahn leave the floor of the hotel, and then immediately contacted her supervisor. Later, she admitted that she actually cleaned an adjacent room, then returned and cleaned Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s room (an act that could easily be construed as evidence tampering) before contacting her supervisor.

    This lie has nothing to do with her past, and everything to do with the credibility of both her accusation and the physical evidence available to police at the time the investigation began.

    This does not excuse media attacks on the accuser’s character, nor does it mean that her relationships with incarcerated individuals are relevant. It does, however, mean that her lies extended directly to the matter at hand.

  21. Tom
    Tom July 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    A common complaint of the criminal justice system’s handling of rape is that it denies alleged victims the chance to “tell their side” of the story. There might be value in instituting some sort of non-criminal, and potentially non-legal, process for that purpose. It would be very dangerous to deform the standards of the criminal justice system concerning the presumption of innocence or the standard of proof to “lower the bar” in rape cases, something that we can see all too clearly in cases going back to the Jonesboro Boys. The civil justice system remains available, however. Alternatively, if victims want to publicize their accusations, perhaps they should be given a forum to do so. I think that we’re still culturally tied up with the idea that rape victims are or should be subject to some sort of particular shame or need especial protection, e.g.: as represented in the media’s typical refusal to name accusers. That may be a legitimate and worthwhile goal, to protect what little privacy may remain to victims, but if the concern is in giving them a forum to tell their story and they’re willing to waive or not take advantage of those typical protections, then maybe they ought to be given the chance to do so.

  22. Gray
    Gray July 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    “there’s no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime”
    WHAT? It’s proven she lied to the Grand Jury about what she did after the alleged rape! Turns out she cleaned up another room AFTER that, and then she even returned to DSK’s suite when he was gone. She now admitted that’s the truth. And there’s a recorded phone call from the say after the “rape” in which she asked for advice about how to make money from the issue. Even without the other credibility issues, her corrected story doesn’t sound very plausible now.

    And the forensic evidence can be explained with consensual sex (is protistution of hotel maids totally unheard of?). This raises more than reasonable doubts. This case has hit an iceberg and is sinking faster than the Titanic now.

  23. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston July 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    I mentioned it above, but I think it’s important to note again and more specifically: The DA’s decision today was based in part on evidence that she’d lied to them about her behavior in the immediate aftermath of the assault.

    The complainant originally told police, prosecutors, and the grand jury that after she fled DSK’s suite she took refuge in a hallway, where she waited until she saw a supervisor, who she told what had happened. But according to the DA’s office, she’s recently admitted that this was a lie — after she left the suite she cleaned another room, then returned to DSK’s and started cleaning it. Only then did she make the complaint to her supervisor.

    Does any of this mean she wasn’t raped? No. But it is — assuming the DA isn’t lying — evidence that she gave false testimony directly relating to the attack to the grand jury. This isn’t just a matter of character assassination.

    As I said above, the NYT badly bungled their story on this last night, and left us all with a seriously distorted picture of why the prosecution reversed itself today.

  24. Poeschl
    Poeschl July 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    @Jill – “… so high-profile that Vance thinks it’s not worth the political risk.”

    Exactly — political risk not only to Vance’s career but to future U.S.-French relations if DSK were tried for rape and acquitted. The problem is less about the accuser’s character than about DSK’s continued fairly-high standing in French political circles. In France, the fallout from a possible acquittal could reduce U.S. leverage with the French government, especially with a future Socialist government.

    @Why – “… you assume DSK is guilty”

    In addition to Jill’s reply, it should be noted that there is still unambiguous DNA evidence of a sexual encounter between DSK and the accuser. The only question remaining is whether it was consensual.

  25. becky
    becky July 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    The german press was equally disgusting about it, leaving completely open what she had allegedly lied about (for everyone to assume that those lies concerned details of the potential rape) and portraying her as a gold digger… Lying during your application process for asylum is the best bet for many people to get out of horrible situations. I personally can see nothing wrong with that, given the racist attitudes refugees encounter and the ridiculously hard process (at least in Europe) they have to go through to actually qualify for a short-term stay… Furthermore, I don’t understand what the big deal is about her discussing the advantages and disadvantages or pressing charges against DSK (albeit with a dodgy acquaintance or friend). Given the prominent status of DSK, the fact that she was probably aware of the potential implications and consequences of accusing someone with his political status and power of rape (maybe – and this is mere speculation because I obviously don’t know anything about her – even a particularly difficult thing while she is still battling for a more permanent residence permit, for example?), and then having to defend herself against public humiliation (e.g., against the inevitable victim blaming and “honeytrapping” bullshit that inevitably followed – rape culture, always a pleasure), I think it is absolutely imperative for people in difficult situations to talk to someone as to how to proceed (and, don’t get me wrong: this is due to the disgusting behavior victims are confronted with and is a horrible thing, not something people should be accused of). Argh…

  26. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston July 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm |

    Gray, what’s your source for the claim that she was looking for advice on how to make money from the case? The NYT stories don’t allege that, and I haven’t seen it elsewhere.

    And Why, the gang rape allegation isn’t as cut-and-dried as you suggest either. She says she lied about the circumstances of a past rape as part of an asylum claim, altering details to make it more likely that she would be allowed to stay in the US. That’s hardly “the exact same thing” as the current allegation.

  27. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin July 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    I’m reminded of the Civil Rights Movement and Rosa Parks. Rosa was not the first choice to not move to a seat in the back of the bus. Another woman was selected first, but was scrapped because she had a sketchy past.

    What troubles me here is that we get ourselves so incensed when things like this happen. Not that this isn’t worth getting angry about, but we are so emotionally attached to the case that in outcomes like these we feel demoralized and despondent. The truth is that for every Duke Lacrosse Case there are fifty where the defendant is not lying. But even so, I wonder if there’s a way we can avoid riding this exhausting roller coaster the next time a high profile rape case is being decided.

  28. Joel
    Joel July 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm |

    The victim-blaming rhetoric is always bad, but all the prosecutor did so far with the case was loosen the pre-trial restrictions on the accused. That can happen when the defendant has good lawyers and a lot of money.
    Decisions to go forward with any prosecution have more to do with the ‘winnability’ of a case than anything else. Since 1991 when Lisa Frohman revealed much of the taken-for-granted sexism that goes into prosecutors’ decisions not to charge or go to trial, many prosecutors offices have benefited from local pressures from crisis centers and/or the installation of a victim-witness advocate position. There is a lot of work yet to be done, of course. In this case I am concerned that the prosecutor seems OK with a public acknowledgment of the weaknesses of the primary victim-witness. He should have kept his mouth shut about it.

  29. becky
    becky July 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm |

    @Comrade Kevin: Huh, I think this is kind of oversimplifying and conflating things, actually… Claudette Colvin wasn’t “selected,” actually, but protested on her own, and her arrest then caught the eye of activists. As to “sketchy past”: She was a pregnant teen, so some NAACP activists thought that might be a problem, since she was 15 years old and unmarried (SHOCKING!); but also that she was simply too young to make a public case against bus segregation with her as the prime example (and Rosa Park’s experiences proved that this was a good idea). /derail

  30. JDP
    JDP July 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    Mike:
    To clear something up, the New York Times has printed the prosecutor’s letter to the defense, it is available here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/07/01/nyregion/20110701-Strauss-Kahn-letter.html?ref=nyregion

    In reality, the accuser not only lied about her past, but also about the events immediately following the attack.

    But I think the fact that she has provided coached fraudulent testimony with respect to an alleged rape in the past under oath and upon penalty of perjury is the most important point here. I don’t see how someone who has given fraudulent testimony pertaining to a rape and who has been coached to give fraudulent testimony pertaining to a rape can credibly present testimony to a jury.

    This has nothing to do with slut shaming. No one’s talking about her clothes or blood alcohol level. They’re pointing out that she has committed perjury in the past in a directly analogous circumstance, has presented motive for committing perjury in this case, and that some of the testimony that led to the indictment was fraudulent as well.

  31. Peter
    Peter July 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    Jill: If that’s the case [that she discussed financial benefits], it wasn’t in the article I linked. I’ve seen that implied elsewhere, but I haven’t seen it substantiated.

    The NYT:
    “According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him.”

    That sounds different than discussing the personal pros and cons of continuing with your closest confidant. The bias may be in the the reporting, making it sound shifty. But that’s definitely how it sounds.

  32. Iris
    Iris July 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    I’m not sure why people are depressed about this new development.
    This woman is a hero. The guy was managing director of the IMF and supposedly a strong contender for the French presidency.
    Now – he’s just an ugly old white guy that can’t keep his pecker under control.
    There must have been a lot of physical evidence of rape or he would have never been arrested and incarcerated. I believe the prosecutor’s office said something like that.
    Yeah – many men want rape to not be a crime – maybe because it’s a little too close to home. And many women want to believe they’ll never be raped (or never be raped again) so they prefer to treat all rape accusations as fiction.
    Some of us have to be the light bearers – some of us have to stand up and say the truth – whether we are believed or not. Whether or not we get our day in court – whether or not the criminal goes to jail. Our future depends on it.
    Why be depressed – honor this woman for her bravery – let’s keep her in mind as an example of bravery in face of violence and class warfare. She’s not perfect – who among us is?
    How about a civil lawsuit for pain and suffering? Jill?

  33. wembley
    wembley July 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm |

    This post is fantastic. Ugh, this case makes me so sad and so angry. Not a surprise that this IMF douchebag will probably walk (and go on to rape more women.) UGH.

  34. becky
    becky July 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm |

    “possible benefits” does not mean and does not imply “financial benefits.” the benefits might be: defending yourself against being sexual assaulted. bringing the perpetrator (somewhat and only rarely) to justice for their crime. starting a therapeutic process. trying to be an example for women who were assaulted themselves, maybe especially a certain group of female immigrants that has to work for minimum wage (or less) and is treated horribly in return. i can think of many things besides “uhm… so do you think that’ll get me some money?”

  35. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston July 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm |

    Peter, the phrase “she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him” is a masterpiece of insinuation. It says nothing while implying everything. And when a reporter crafts a sentence like that, the sensible thing to do is to be on guard against the possibility of deception.

    The phone call was recorded. Its contents will be revealed eventually. But for now all we have is a Times reporter’s vague paraphrase of an anonymous law enforcement official’s paraphrase of either [1] the phone call itself or [2] someone else’s description of the phone call.

    Whatever gloss we may arrive at on the contents of the call is fourth-hand at best, and quite likely fifth-hand or worse.

  36. wembley
    wembley July 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm |

    Also, actually, I really like Iris’ comment. I’m depressed because I want this woman to get justice and I want this douche to be locked away so that he doesn’t hurt any more women. However, maybe Iris is right, maybe I’m setting the bar too unrealistically high. She is really brave and for at least a moment (ideally, forever), DSK’s reputation is ruined. I’m worried he’ll bounce back, though, due to all the power he holds.

  37. Gray
    Gray July 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm |

    “Gray, what’s your source for the claim that she was looking for advice on how to make money from the case? The NYT stories don’t allege that, and I haven’t seen it elsewhere.”

    It was in one of the reports I found with Google News, Angus. Will try to find that again.

    As for the NYT – as you pointed out, they have omitted some important details…

  38. Anthea
    Anthea July 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

    Lying during your application process for asylum is the best bet for many people to get out of horrible situations. I personally can see nothing wrong with that, given the racist attitudes refugees encounter and the ridiculously hard process (at least in Europe) they have to go through to actually qualify for a short-term stay…

    The truth of the matter is, unless you are highly qualified or have some skills in demand in the host country, nations have no need for (and do not want) economic refugees. And this applies to most all nations, not only the ones in Europe (racism? perhaps, but regardless of where you come from, if you turn up with shitload of cash, any country will roll out the red carpet to welcome you). The South Africans were none too thrilled when Zimbabweans made their way to their country. Lying may be understandable, but you’re setting yourself (and your family) for a nasty fall if and when the truth gets out (and you’d be surprised on who does the ratting….).

    In this matter though, I do not see why her lying is linked to the trial, but then I am not a lawyer, although it has been pointed out that the problem lies with her supposed discussion of benefits by accusing DSK, and more importantly, her inconsistent version of events right after the alleged sexual assault/rape (but still, to my non-legal mind, I do not understand why this would be an issue if there is no doubt she was not lying about the attack itself, or is there?). Of course, I also wonder if it has anything to do with not pursuing a case that is not water tight, and which could be a waste of public funds/not in public interest/etc. I just don’t know the whole truth.

  39. why
    why July 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    Just FYI, maybe they were wrong, but CSM explicitly said they discussed financial benefits.

  40. Gray
    Gray July 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    At the Torygraph:
    “Prosecutors, previously bullish about the strength of the claims made by the Guinean maid, are now preparing to admit to Judge Michael Obus at New York supreme court that they “have problems with the case”, the newspaper said.

    It said that the woman had a recorded phone call with “an incarcerated man” within a day of her encounter with Mr Strauss-Kahn, when she “discussed the possible benefits” of pursuing charges.

    The man, said to have been arrested over possession of a huge amount of marijuana, was also among several people who made cash deposits into the maid’s bank account, it said.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/dominique-strauss-kahn/8610143/Dominique-Strauss-Kahn-sexual-assault-case-on-verge-of-collapse-amid-doubts-over-maid.html

  41. Anthea
    Anthea July 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    Yikes, I don’t know what happened …. the comments are in ugly red ……. apologies, and here they are again.

    becky:
    Lying during your application process for asylum is the best bet for many people to get out of horrible situations. I personally can see nothing wrong with that, given the racist attitudes refugees encounter and the ridiculously hard process (at least in Europe) they have to go through to actually qualify for a short-term stay…

    The truth of the matter is, unless you are highly qualified or have some skills in demand in the host country, nations have no need for (and do not want) economic refugees. And this applies to most all nations, not only the ones in Europe (racism? perhaps, but regardless of where you come from, if you turn up with shitload of cash, any country will roll out the red carpet to welcome you). The South Africans were none too thrilled when Zimbabweans made their way to their country. Lying may be understandable, but you’re setting yourself (and your family) for a nasty fall if and when the truth gets out (and you’d be surprised on who does the ratting….).

    In this matter though, I do not see why her lying is linked to the trial, but then I am not a lawyer, although it has been pointed out that the problem lies with her supposed discussion of benefits by accusing DSK, and more importantly, her inconsistent version of events right after the alleged sexual assault/rape (but still, to my non-legal mind, I do not understand why this would be an issue if there is no doubt she was not lying about the attack itself, or is there?). Of course, I also wonder if it has anything to do with not pursuing a case that is not water tight, and which could be a waste of public funds/not in public interest/etc. I just don’t know the whole truth.

  42. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston July 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    Gray, the Telegraph is quoting the NY Times in that passage. And Why, the article I found at the Christian Science Monitor says “she was tape-recorded discussing with a prison inmate the possible financial benefits of pursuing the charges, according to news reports.”

    Neither of those sources conducted any original reporting on the question, in other words.

  43. EJ
    EJ July 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm |

    I don’t really see how the NYT article is engaging in victim-blaming. As you point out, there’s no “she’s a slut” or “she wanted it” or “she shouldn’t have worn x” or “she shouldn’t have been there by herself” tone to the story at all.

    There’s this quote from the prosecutors:

    Prosecutors said they still believed Mr. Strauss-Kahn had forced the woman into sex, but that inconsistencies in her past and account of the moments following the incident could make it hard for jurors to believe her.

    As I read it, the implication of the article is, at least according to prosecutors, DSK probably did rape the woman, but due to her major credibility problems, including, come on, admitting to having previously falsely claimed she was raped, she’d get destroyed by any decent defense attorney. Based on what’s been disclosed, that’s a reasonable belief, regardless of any society-wide tendency to hold rape victims to a higher standard of honesty. Nowhere is there any implication that if in fact she was raped, she deserved it or brought it on herself.

  44. tg
    tg July 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    You left out that she has also lied on tax files claiming a friend’s child as her own in order to increase her tax refund. Further, she has lied about her income in order to continue to occupy a residency reserved for people with AIDS.

    And I’m not sure if you eluded to this but she also has lied about rape incidents in the past.

    “Additionally, in two separate interviews with assistant district attorneys assigned to the case, the complainant stated that she had been the victim of a gang rape in the past in her native country and provided details of the attack. During both of these interviews, the victim cried and appeared to be markedly distraught when recounting the incident. In subsequent interviews, she admitted that the gang rape had never occurred. Instead, she stated that she had lied about its occurrence and fabricated the details, and that this false incident was part of the narrative that she had been directed to memorize as part of her asylum application process. ”

    But yea, nobody’s perfect and we all lie so her credibility should not be an issue in a he said/she said case.

  45. anna
    anna July 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm |

    “possible benefits” does not mean and does not imply “financial benefits.”

    Quite so. She may have been thinking, “OK, I’m totally going to be smeared and trashed for going ahead with this. Will it actually benefit anything? Will he actually go to jail, or face a serious consequence? Or will he just be able to get the charge dropped?” But by putting it like that – possible benefits – instead of being specific, they get to imply she’s a golddigger. If she really was and they had proof, I think they’d be specific and say “she discussed how much money she might receive if she won the case” or something like that.

  46. Gray
    Gray July 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm |

    ““possible benefits” does not mean and does not imply “financial benefits.””
    Ok, that’s a point. Well, what other benefits can there be? Prolonging her stay in the US, maybe? Guinea has a democratically elected government now, the situation has stabilized, asylum seekers will habve to return home soon…

    Is cynically trying to exploit the issue in any way, on the day after the alleged rape, typical or at least likely for a real victim?

  47. JDP
    JDP July 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm |

    The letter from the DA to the defense simply discloses the circumstances in which the alleged victim has perjured herself in the past and with respect to this case. No mention is made concerning the recorded conversation.

  48. why
    why July 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    Angus Johnston: not the

    No, page 2 of the prosecutor’s letter to the defense states that the rape she claimed had happened never occurred. This, even though she “cried and appeared markedly distraught” during the interviews where she claimed the rape occurred.

  49. anon this time
    anon this time July 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm |

    This lie has….everything to do with the credibility of …her accusation….

    No, it does NOT.

    She…cleaned another room before going to her supervisor. So the fuck what? I waited months before telling my parents that my brother was hiding under my bed and sneaking the bathroom window open in order to watch me undress. And when I did tell them, I minimized – among other things – how long I had waited before telling them.

    There is no one right way to be a victim, jackass. And insisting there is is a big part of why victims lie about details like this.

    Peter – even if she decided to go after him because it would be in her benefit to do so, that doesn’t mean he is not guilty. People decide all the time to report stuff to the police – or not – because of how they may benefit from doing so. I’m really sick of the idea that the *only* good reason for reporting rape to the police is because That’s What Good Girls Do (go to big strong men for protection?) – it’s just more of the same shit that says only Good Girls Get Raped.

    I finally told my parents what my brother was doing simply because I needed it to stop and wasn’t able to make him stop by myself, but if I had told them in part because I wanted to get back at him for something else – which is a perfectly normal reaction for a 13 year old – that wouldn’t have made it less true.

  50. Sure, of course you “knew it.” « stop! talking.

    […] at Feministe has written a great post about it, “There Are No Perfect Accusers,” and I personally just have a couple of things I’d like to […]

  51. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston July 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    Yes, Why, I know. But she says she was raped under different circumstances in her home country, and tailored the account to be advantageous to her asylum petition.

    Is that true? I have no idea. But it’s at least plausible, and it provides an alternate explanation for her tears when discussing the incident.

  52. Anthea
    Anthea July 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    The sad truth is, if this case were to be dismissed, the people who will be most affected will not be the woman who made the allegations or DSK, but the hundreds of chamber maids who (I assume) had placed their faith on this woman, and hoped this case would make their harassment they suffer at the work place be taken more seriously by their employers (I remember seeing them on TV, jeering, rightly or wrongly, at DSK when he made his first court appearance). And their anger will not be directed at either DSK or the DA; no, I’m afraid their anger will be directed at the accuser.

  53. Angry Black Guy
    Angry Black Guy July 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm |

    She lied under oath about material facts that occurred directly related to the incident and those facts were used by a grand jury to make a man sit in jail without bail for a period and be paced on home arrest for a longer period.

    We as a society can cut no slack to those who lie under oath in cases that hinge on our need to believe the victim’s story.

    You can’t have it both ways. Clearly, we need to take seriously accusations made by victims under oath and make sure that justice is served.

    But if you lie under oath and those lies are used to indict or convict someone, you should receive no sympathy, including sympathy from real victims who were brave enough to step forward and tell their stories honestly, regardless of how weak or strong their versions of the story was.

    She should be indicted for perjury and the case should be dismissed immediately.

    And I am fairly certain that that is what will happen.

    I hope we can avoid days of women’s rights advocates (and I consider myself one) defending a woman who shouldn’t be defended. It weakens our claims in other instances.

    Sometimes people just lie about being attacked for their own reasons. We’ve got to accept that it happens and it is not as rare as we would like it to be.

    That doesn’t mean disregarding rape accusations. It means that we cannot protect people who lie about facts surrounding a rape accusation in any way.

  54. Angry Black Guy
    Angry Black Guy July 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    To be clear, the author of the post says:

    “even though there’s no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime”

    That is exactly wrong. She lied about what she did immediately after the crime and that is directly relevant to the grand jury’s determination.

    Let me say that I would have bet almost anything that this guy was guilty. And I kind of wanted him to be. He seemed like a jerk. But intellectual honesty requires real fairness. This lady lied under oath about circumstances related to this rape and has lied about rape in the past.

    Put those two things together and you have to assume that nothing she’s said can be believed without some third party support.

    In a he said/she said, you give both party’s the benefit of the doubt until one person tells a material lie, then you have to give the other party the benefit of the doubt. If the person who hasn’t lied says it was consensual, you have to give that greater weight now.

    if that seems unfair to the accuser, don’t worry. It is not. All she had to do was tell the truth to avoid this happening.

  55. JDP
    JDP July 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    I don’t know how much this can inform discussion, but it should probably be noted that the accuser’s first attorney recused himself.

  56. Iris
    Iris July 1, 2011 at 5:01 pm |

    Ok – I know we all have short attention spans. Does no one remember they pulled him off the plane to look for wounds to corroborate the accusation. After he was medically examined, they kept him in jail. He was at first denied bail.
    I don’t know how many of you have ever been a maid in a hotel. I have. I can guarantee you there is no time to be bed hopping with the customers.
    I could, and I think I will, postulate she was in shock, was worried about losing her job if her productivity slipped, and was focused on something within her control.
    Some of you will forever believe it is the plot of another evil woman to bring down a guy who just wanted a good time. Knock yourself out.
    Oh and the boyfriend? The one in jail? $10 says he brought up the benefits aspect of the attack, if there was a discussion about money. $20 says he told her the attack was her fault.
    She is my hero – she stood up to the managing director of the IMF – something entire countries refuse to do.

  57. Mike
    Mike July 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    Jill, you are unfairly construing the gravity of her changed testimony:

    “Many people are focusing on the fact that her story about the immediate aftermath of the rape has changed. But that’s not uncommon — many rape victims continue to go about their business after being assaulted, and in a state of shock do things that many people don’t believe seem to sufficiently reflect trauma.”

    All of this may be true, but this isn’t about the alleged victim “going about her business” it is about her returning to *the crime scene* and “cleaning it” and then lying about her actions to investigators.

    If she had lied about actually waiting on another floor, or being in an adjacent room, or the amount of time it had taken her to report the issue, this would probably not be as big a problem. But she returned to the location of the supposed attack and “began to clean” with all the implications that has on the availability (and believability) of physical evidence to investigators. This goes way beyond “going about her business” and unquestionably enters the realm of impropriety.

  58. Iris
    Iris July 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

    Mike:
    Jill, you are unfairly construing the gravity of her changed testimony:

    “Many people are focusing on the fact that her story about the immediate aftermath of the rape has changed. But that’s not uncommon — many rape victims continue to go about their business after being assaulted, and in a state of shock do things that many people don’t believe seem to sufficiently reflect trauma.”

    All of this may be true, but this isn’t about the alleged victim “going about her business” it is about her returning to *the crime scene* and “cleaning it” and then lying about her actions to investigators.

    I am puzzled – cleaning the room was her business. That’s what she does – she cleans hotel rooms. She was attempting to clean the room when she was attacked.
    People respond to shock in different ways – what makes you the expert on interpreting her actions?
    You take a lot for granted. It wasn’t a Motel 6. It was a suite.
    Maybe she did not clean in the room where the attack took place.
    You seem to have a lot invested in her supposed improprieties.
    Maybe you could lead the vanguard and post a handy dandy dos and don’ts list for those of us who are violently attacked. That way we could shrink it down, laminate it, punch a hole through it and wear it around our necks. You know, so we won’t commit any improprieties afterwards.
    Thanks in advance.

  59. Yonmei
    Yonmei July 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    If one of the most powerful men in the world rapes one of the most powerless women in the world, would anyone seriously expect that the courts would convict him? It’s quite astonishing that the case got as far as it did. Not much help to that poor woman, and terribly satisfying to all these gloating men showing up to rub their hands over the battered body of the case, but then they saw themselves as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, not as the victim.

  60. Doctress Julia
    Doctress Julia July 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    Gods, you know?? I feel sick, and I am crying. I’ve had a tough week, I feel sick already and this FUCKING TURD might get away with this?

    I am really terrified and fucking enraged at the direction we are going in. When will we make this shit end? When will we MAKE these fucking animals stop hurting women?

  61. Mike
    Mike July 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm |

    Iris,

    You have already made your feelings on the matter clear by writing:

    “She is my hero – she stood up to the managing director of the IMF – something entire countries refuse to do.”

    It is fairly obvious you are not interested in the justice, only blood.

    I apologize if I believe that we should actually examine the possibility of evidence tampering, and you know, try and give Mr. Strauss-Kahn a fair hearing.

    If you simply wanted the head of the IMF convicted of something, and didn’t much care what, then there’s no reason you should be concerned with propriety or even truthfulness in testimony.

  62. Doctress Julia
    Doctress Julia July 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm |

    Yeah, that’s the first thing that came to mind after I was raped- not doing anything ‘INAPPROPRIATE’.

    How can you be so willfully clueless about this to say something like that?! Must be nice up there on your privilege chair. /s

  63. Ruchama
    Ruchama July 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm |

    Is cynically trying to exploit the issue in any way, on the day after the alleged rape, typical or at least likely for a real victim?

    Sure. I can easily see someone trying to find something good that can come out of a horrible situation.

    Also, I’d hate for any of my conversations with my friends from right after bad things happened to be publicized and analyzed. We’ve got somewhat morbid senses of humor, and quite a few of the “really, it’s not that bad” conversations got a bid out of hand and would sound just horrible to someone who wasn’t part of the conversation right then.

  64. JDP
    JDP July 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm |

    Right but we’re talking about a conversation where the friend is a convicted felon she was laundering large sums of money for.

    That is a relevant detail here.

  65. Iris
    Iris July 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    Mike:

    You may want to practice your trolling a little bit more. The old “when did you stop beating your wife?” is really overdone.
    Or perhaps you are one of those people where rape charges hit a little too close to home? Perhaps you feel a overwhelming desire to prove – in your mind – every rape charge is a lie.
    What’s his name brought this all upon himself. Perhaps the lesson is no sex with hotel maids while they’re doing their job (consensual or not). Perhaps he could have just kicked down and paid a hooker. Perhaps he could have just kept his pecker in his pants.
    Speculation is endless.
    Looking forward to the dos and don’ts list after violent attacks..

  66. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston July 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    JDP: Right but we’re talking about a conversation where the friend is a convicted felon she was laundering large sums of money for.

    That is a relevant detail here.

    Possibly relevant if true. But not, you know … true.

    The guy in question isn’t a convicted felon, according to the New York Times. He’s an accused felon awaiting trial. And there’s been no evidence presented that she was laundering money for him — she hasn’t been charged with that (or anything else), and it’s not so much as alleged in today’s reporting on the case.

    Yes, the guy is in prison. Yes, he’s accused of serious crimes. Yes, there’s some indication that she may have been wittingly or unwittingly involved in those crimes. But if you’re going to take the trouble to snark about “relevant details,” you should at least get those details straight.

  67. Yonmei
    Yonmei July 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm |

    JDP: Right but we’re talking about a conversation where the friend is a convicted felon she was laundering large sums of money for. That is a relevant detail here.

    Even assuming this is true – that she was laundering large sums of money for a convicted felon – how on EARTH in any just world could it be considered “relevant” to her having been raped?

    Are you arguing that any woman who is laundering money for a convicted felon can be used for sex by any man who wants her, because as she’s doing something illegal it’s perfectly OK to rape her?

    Why, yes, JDP, I do believe you are.

    Every man who defends rape in this way is staining their own character: they may not realise it – the right to rape may have become so normal to them – but they are.

    Let’s not forget: there was, there is, actual physical evidence of the crime. Without that, there would never have been an arrest. DSK raped that hotel maid. The men justifying his release, arguing that he shouldn’t be convicted because the maid is connected with criminals, are seriously, straight-faced, arguing for men to be entitled to rape women, providing the women have some kind of connection with crooks.

  68. Broken
    Broken July 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

    Most people don’t have a clue how people act when they are in shock.

    I’ve heard of more than one cop start picking up brass after exchanging gunfire with someone.

  69. becky
    becky July 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm |

    @Angus: This. You’re awesome :).

  70. JDP
    JDP July 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm |

    Ok, accused felon awaiting trial. Who has deposited more than $100k in multiple accounts opened in her name.

    And it’s cool how you just switched into “innocent until proven guilty” mode here, by the way.

  71. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston July 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm |

    Switched, JDP? Where in this thread, or anywhere else, have I assumed anyone’s guilt?

    I think it’s important to get the facts straight in discussions like this. That’s why I pointed out that the accuser’s lies were more serious and more directly relevant to the case than Jill initially recognized, and that’s why I pointed out your errors in the other direction. The same principle is at work in both instances.

  72. Anthea
    Anthea July 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm |

    @Ruchama

    Well, according to NY Times, the entire conversation was recorded. It’ll be just a matter of time before the details are leaked. Until then, we can speculate the contents/motives, or the merits/demerits of having such a conversation, till the cows come home, and they won’t add a damn thing to the discussion.

    @Angus Johnson

    People also forget that DSK is accused but not convicted (and therefore presumed innocent, and the “perp walk” made it worse). And in our haste to paint him as the bad guy (based esp. on his past conduct), we invariably do to him what we accuse the media and others of doing to the accuser.

  73. JDP
    JDP July 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    My mistake. I misremembered.

    I agree with you that it’s important in these sorts of situations to distinguish between facts, testimony, interpretation, and judgment.

  74. Emolee
    Emolee July 1, 2011 at 6:18 pm |

    Not only is it common for victims of violence to go about their “normal” business, in a state of shock, but it is also common for these victims to do so and not remember it later. Then they often fill in the missing time with what they think they should have done or would have done had they been thinking clearly. Some may lie because they are worried their actions “look bad” or don’t make sense. Others may truly beleive the false memories. But I have known many victims who honestly have completely blocked out moments to hours after a violent attack. I don’t know if this is the case here. But it could be; it does happen quite a bit.

  75. Iris
    Iris July 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    Anthea:

    You are correct about not condemning the man without a trial.
    For rape.

    It was my understanding that there was no doubt sex had occurred between the parties. The underlying question is – was it consensual? Mr. Vance (the DA) seems to think there is sufficient evidence of forced sex.

    This entire fiasco could have been avoided had the guy just said no. In my opinion, someone with that little self control has no business having a lot of power.

    It was his own poor choices that shamed him and cost him a lot of money, and left him jobless. No one forced him to have anything to do with the hotel maid.
    Except his own apparently uncontrollable urges.

    In my opinion, it seems likely he is guilty of rape. And, he is definitely guilty of being stupid enough, in his actions, to let the accusation carry any weight at all.

  76. junk
    junk July 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm |

    OK, even if the benefits discussed in the conversation were financial, does that mean she was lying about the rape? Doesn’t seem like she has a lot of money – perhaps she thought, ok, well if i go through with this and win and get some money out of it, they i can maybe use that to help rebuild my life in some way etc etc/ pay for therapy, use it to help my family… etc etc. In my mind the money laundering thing doesn’t really have anything to do with that. Bad things still happen to people who break laws.

  77. kalah7
    kalah7 July 1, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    Iris:

    In my opinion, it seems likely he is guilty of rape.And, he is definitely guilty of being stupid enough, in his actions, to let the accusation carry any weight at all.

    If a woman was dressed provocatively or accepted a ride from someone and was attacked, would you call her stupid and place the blame on her? Or would you place the blame for the wrong on the person who did it?

    But if a man engages in consensual sex and in a private area and is later wrongly accused of rape. Then he’s stupid and to blame…at least partly? Not the person who did wrong?

    You can believe DSK is guilty. But a double standard is a double standard.

  78. kalah7
    kalah7 July 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm |

    @Jill,

    My POV differs from many here, but certainly not all. I don’t think I wrote anything offensive or untrue to require my comments not being posted.

    I’m wondering if they weren’t posted because they directly referenced the gang rape lie the DA pointed out in his letter? While a substantial portion of the letter discussed that as a credibility liability, it’s not mentioned anywhere in your article or in the comments published. Isn’t it unfair and misleading to argue that the media is expecting the victim to be snow white, without giving full play to the severity of the lies underlying the credibility questions?

    For all the NYTimes wrote, the DA barely spared a passing mention at the financial irregularities and nothing at all about imprisoned contacts. He did spend considerable time discussing the lies told directly to the DA office by the alleged victim.

  79. Anon
    Anon July 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm |

    In assessing the relative credibility of DSK and the complainant, it is probably at least somewhat relevant to note that, according to the BBC, DSK considered and then declined to invoke his right to diplomatic immunity (to which he was entitled, contrary to some press reports) before he could possibly have known whether the complainant could be easily discredited.

  80. JDP
    JDP July 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm |

    Also worth pointing out that this is stuff the prosecution is bringing to court, not the defense.

  81. anon
    anon July 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm |

    Iris:
    Anthea:
    This entire fiasco could have been avoided had the guy just said no. In my opinion, someone with that little self control has no business having a lot of power.

    It was his own poor choices that shamed him and cost him a lot of money, and left him jobless. No one forced him to have anything to do with the hotel maid.
    Except his own apparently uncontrollable urges.

    In my opinion, it seems likely he is guilty of rape.And, he is definitely guilty of being stupid enough, in his actions, to let the accusation carry any weight at all.

    It’s fascinating how smoothly, and without a hint of cognitive dissonance, you’ve internalized every mechanic of slut-shaming and victim-blaming and are with utter sincerity repeating them against Strauss-Kahn.

  82. Tori
    Tori July 1, 2011 at 8:32 pm |

    – When I was raped, I told the truth, that I didn’t remember how I got home after the assault. The police told me that was the wrong answer.

    — I told the truth, that I didn’t know what had happened to the shorts/underwear I wore that night. The police were skeptical.

    — I told the truth, that I’d showered to “get him off of me.” The police were growing suspicious.

    — I told the truth, that i waited until the next morning to seek medical attention because I just didn’t no what else to do. The police looked at me like I was so incompetent that I didn’t deserve to be believed, much less to attempt to press criminal charges.

    In the end, no arrest was ever made.

    To feel like I messed up the potential for a criminal case because I responded the “wrong” way after my assault? To be discredited and vilified by the folks who were supposed to, if not advocate for me, at least seek justice? That fucking sucks.

    I do not claim to know this woman’s truth or the motives behind any of her actions. But we cannot ignore that we operate in a rape culture that largely, actively, forcefully seeks out ways to attack survivors’ credibility — and, when it cannot find such ways, to invent them.

  83. bhuesca
    bhuesca July 1, 2011 at 8:33 pm |

    Seconding #81 Anon, #82 JDP, and #83 anon.

  84. Iris
    Iris July 1, 2011 at 8:39 pm |

    kalah7: If a woman was dressed provocatively or accepted a ride from someone and was attacked, would you call her stupid and place the blame on her? Or would you place the blame for the wrong on the person who did it?

    But if a man engages in consensual sex and in a private area and is later wrongly accused of rape. Then he’s stupid and to blame…at least partly? Not the person who did wrong?

    You can believe DSK is guilty. But a double standard is a double standard.

    Maybe through your convoluted argument.
    I think you are saying getting raped and being accused of rape are the same thing.
    Which they are not.

  85. Hugo
    Hugo July 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm |

    Anon #83 has just nailed what’s made me uncomfortable about Iris’ tack here.

    The issue wasn’t his inability to say no to his urges — it was his capacity to recognize the dignity of another human being. As a man who spends a lot of time working with other men around issues of sexual violence, I can tell you that repressing desire is not the way we work to end rape. We end rape by getting men to see women as human beings. The issue isn’t DSK’s libido. The issue is his absence of empathy.

  86. Iris
    Iris July 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm |

    anon: It’s fascinating how smoothly, and without a hint of cognitive dissonance, you’ve internalized every mechanic of slut-shaming and victim-blaming and are with utter sincerity repeating them against Strauss-Kahn.

    In what way is that exactly?

  87. Angryblackguy
    Angryblackguy July 1, 2011 at 8:46 pm |

    Tori we are examining her credibility because rape is an accusation in which credibility is key. We can’t be asked to believe everything victim says while ignoring lies she tells under oath,especially if she lies in direct connection to the accused crime.

    I am sure many women and men lie initially because of shame,shock,anger,hurt and other issues. But when you step up on a stand to tell your story and vow to tell the truth so that your words can be heard and believed, you have an obligation to tell the truth. Once you don’t you can’t expect society to give you a free pass because of your hurt. Just tell the truth. That’s what we want from all parties involved and when you don’t and a person goes to jail for it or is indicted, you shouldn’t be protected.

  88. Angryblackguy
    Angryblackguy July 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm |

    Iris

    I think the point is that we don’t want assumptions made about the victim and yet you are ignoring the chance that DSK was a horrible person who did horrible things in the past but wasn’t guilty in this instance. We don’t want a victim’s past to prevent society from believing their stories later. DSK’s past is relevant in establishing a pattern of behavior to assist in determining the accuracy of the testimony given. You seem to have convicted him of this Crome based on his past actions, while it is possible that he did all of the things in the past and is still innocent here.

    He should be tried for his actions in this case and not his history. It seems like you want him convicted for this in par because of what he’s done before. I understand that emotion but it is not the way the system works and it is not the way it should work.

  89. bhuesca
    bhuesca July 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    From the New York Times:

    “Mr. Vance’s office filed a letter on Friday with State Supreme Court that reads like the legal equivalent of a skin-scrape, peeling back near every aspect of their witness’s credibility. She lied about the torture and death of her husband at the hands of government troops in her native Guinea and she lied about her claims to having been gang-raped.

    The sorry list grows longer. She lied about the details of the day of her sexual encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn. And law enforcement investigators told The New York Times that she has a bank account plump with the proceeds from a jailed drug dealer, who discussed with her the economic advantages of pursuing charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

    The mystery attendant to Friday’s proceeding is why Mr. Vance’s office declined to drop the case entirely.”

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/mr-vances-spectacular-botch/?hp

  90. Iris
    Iris July 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm |

    anon: It’s fascinating how smoothly, and without a hint of cognitive dissonance, you’ve internalized every mechanic of slut-shaming and victim-blaming and are with utter sincerity repeating them against Strauss-Kahn.

    Hugo:
    Anon #83 has just nailed what’s made me uncomfortable about Iris’ tack here.

    The issue wasn’t his inability to say no to his urges — it was his capacity to recognize the dignity of another human being.As a man who spends a lot of time working with other men around issues of sexual violence, I can tell you that repressing desire is not the way we work to end rape. We end rape by getting men to see women as human beings.The issue isn’t DSK’s libido.The issue is his absence of empathy.

    Hmmm – I don’t mind if your theory is different from my theory.
    I happen to think self control is a given when you have empathy.

    I do seem to have touched a nerve or several.

    I think “getting to see women as human beings” says it all too clearly.

    Thanks for reminding me that in many men’s eyes, women are not human beings. Sucks to be them.

  91. bhuesca
    bhuesca July 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm |

    A possible profit motive of the accuser had been hinted earlier, but parts of an audiotape have the accuser speaking of money:

    “Investigators with the Manhattan district attorney’s office learned the call had been recorded and had it translated from a “unique dialect of Fulani,” a language from the woman’s native country, Guinea, according to a well-placed law enforcement official.

    When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said. ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/nyregion/one-revelation-after-another-undercut-strauss-kahn-accusers-credibility.html?_r=1&hp

  92. Anon
    Anon July 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm |

    “Iris:
    Anthea:
    This entire fiasco could have been avoided had the guy just said no. In my opinion, someone with that little self control has no business having a lot of power.

    It was his own poor choices that shamed him and cost him a lot of money, and left him jobless. No one forced him to have anything to do with the hotel maid.
    Except his own apparently uncontrollable urges.

    In my opinion, it seems likely he is guilty of rape.And, he is definitely guilty of being stupid enough, in his actions, to let the accusation carry any weight at all.”

    “In what way is that exactly?”

    #1: Saying “the entire thing could have been avoided” simultaneously posits that either A: DSK is indeed guilty, or B: because DSK is a man, he is the only one who bears moral responsibility for a sexual encounter. So he’s either automatically a rapist, or else he’s responsible because, y’know, he’s the embodiment of the kyriarchy and she’s just a maid, so obviously it’s inconceivable that he didn’t</b control the interaction.

    #2: Saying "no one forced him to do anything" can again be interpreted in two ways – either you're presuming that he really did commit rape (And how is that different than automatically presuming that a woman gave consent?), or you're saying in essence, that men in power simply shouldn't engage in sexual acts because we should naturally assume such acts are de facto nonconsensual rape.

    #3: You assign guilt-of-public-shame automatically to any man who would engage in casual sex, by saying that he “chose” to engage in risky behavior. How is this any different than saying “she was asking for it because of the way she dressed”? Either A: DSK raped the woman, is guilty of sexual violence, and has rightly been villified by the public, or B: DSK had consensual sex with the woman, she lied, and his reputation has been demolished. There is no middle ground. You’ve directly stated that a privilged male of power who choose to have casual sex deserves whatever he gets….which is the exact same argument made by anyone who repeats the old bullshit about “she was coming on to him, she dressed slutty, etc”. Innocent until proven guilty isn’t just a nice slogan, it’s the fundamental core of our entire legal system. It should go without saying that just because an individual makes a claim of rape does not automatically mean that they were raped, or even if they were, that the accused was the one who did it.

    I’m still amazed by the combination of denial and naivete that prevents anyone from even casually acknowledging the possibility that she was paid to accuse him in order to kill his shot at the French presidency. The lies about her immigration status, lies about the events that night, lies about having multiple cell phones, lies about the relationship with her boyfriend, relations with a convicted drug smuggler, apparent discussion of the benefits of accusing DSK…each of them, alone, wouldn’t mean anything significant. Each of them is understandable in their own right, as others above keep trying to ‘splain away. The truly damning part, that most people here keep glossing over, is the uncontested statement that she had a hundred thousand dollars deposited into her bank accounts in the recent past. Put in bluntest possible terms: no maid just has a hundred grand sitting in a bank account that she’s holding on to ‘for other people’. In combination with the other facts, there’s not only zero credibility left, but there’s strong circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy. The fact that even her own lawyers have withdrawn from the case and refuse to comment should just be the final confirmation of what’s been clear all day: someone paid good money to see that DSK’s reputation utterly destroyed.

    The sad part is how well the entire thing worked out. DSK is done for in politics, the case will get dropped, and someone, somewhere out there is sitting back, sipping champagne, and laughing at how many people were fooled.

  93. JDP
    JDP July 1, 2011 at 10:37 pm |

    Anon:
    The sad part is how well the entire thing worked out.DSK is done for in politics, the case will get dropped, and someone, somewhere out there is sitting back, sipping champagne, and laughing at how many people were fooled.

    Probably Marine Le Pen.

  94. junk
    junk July 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm |

    Do you really believe this will ruin DSK’s life forever.. ? Even famous men who have served time for rape (Mike Tyson anyone?) are able to come back into society and become popular public figures again. Hell, Tyson even makes a joke about his rape in the Hangover…

    Anon:
    The sad part is how well the entire thing worked out.DSK is done for in politics, the case will get dropped, and someone, somewhere out there is sitting back, sipping champagne, and laughing at how many people were fooled.

  95. Li
    Li July 1, 2011 at 10:50 pm |

    I am struggling to understand in what way cleaning DSK’s suite, which was her job, would potentially benefit the housekeeper. Surely cleaning would remove evidence of rape, not create it, right? I am actually legit confused by the imputation that she cleaned the room in order to.. I don’t even know what people are saying here.

  96. EasilyEnthused
    EasilyEnthused July 1, 2011 at 10:58 pm |

    @Li
    The /possible/ implication is this:

    Her testimony: He raped me and then wrote “I raped you so hard signed DSK” in lipstick on the bathroom mirror.

    Interrogator: But we didn’t see that in the room.

    Her response: Yeah, because I cleaned it off.

  97. Tom
    Tom July 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm |

    Twenty-eight hours after a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York said she was sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, she spoke by phone to a boyfriend in an immigration jail in Arizona.

    When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said.

    http://nyti.ms/mPxKRX

  98. Mike
    Mike July 2, 2011 at 12:00 am |

    Li,

    The issue is that she returned to the crime scene, moved objects around, and then lied about it.

    She claims to have been cleaning, but she originally claimed she had never gone back. For all we know, she fabricated signs of a struggle. If she had never returned to the room, then any signs of a struggle could be safely assumed to be part of an attack. If she went back, and then lied about, that assumption is no longer safe.

  99. Tori
    Tori July 2, 2011 at 12:24 am |

    The issue is that she returned to the crime scene, moved objects around, and then lied about it.

    Because DSK totally had zero opportunity to move anything around in the interim.

  100. Mike
    Mike July 2, 2011 at 12:29 am |

    Tori: Because DSK totally had zero opportunity to move anything around in the interim.

    And she had multiple opportunities not to lie about where she had been. This isn’t just about opportunity, it’s about lying.

  101. anon
    anon July 2, 2011 at 12:34 am |

    why is the default view that she should be believed.

    Presence of semen is not evidence of rape.

    In this country you are innocent until proven guilty, it seems to me that to be able to charge someone with rape and arrest them and drag them through the mud you should have evidence of rape other than just evidence that sexual activity occured.

    Personal testimony with no proof is not evidence. It’s no better than hearsay.

    Just saying you were raped does not make it true and should not be considered as evidence valid enough to bring forth a trial.

    There should be more evidence then the presence of pubic hair, semen, and a person just saying they were raped

  102. Tori
    Tori July 2, 2011 at 12:40 am |

    Mike: And she had multiple opportunities not to lie about where she had been. This isn’t just about opportunity, it’s about lying.

    Yeah. Because that totally worked for me when I was raped.

  103. anony
    anony July 2, 2011 at 2:04 am |

    “Li 7.1.2011 at 10:50 pm
    I am struggling to understand in what way cleaning DSK’s suite, which was her job, would potentially benefit the housekeeper. Surely cleaning would remove evidence of rape, not create it, right? I am actually legit confused by the imputation that she cleaned the room in order to.. I don’t even know what people are saying here.”

    A claim made today by her lawyer: She spat sperm on the carpets and wall due to her shock and disgust, and later on, investigators found that sperm on the carpets and wall.

    It is agreed (I think) that there was an oral sexual act between them. If this was consensual, and if it was a setup, she could have “retained” the sperm in her mouth, hidden it within the apartment (in a glass in a closet or someplace), or taken it with her in her mouth, and then later, when “cleaning” the apartment, she could have placed this sperm on the wall and carpet.

    Now, this sounds outlandish theory, but it’s actually happened before:

    Illinois Court Rules Man Can Sue Over Deceptive Use of Sperm By Girlfriend To Impregnate Herself

    The case involves a Chicago doctor who was forced to pay child support after his girlfriend, without his knowledge, saved sperm from oral sex and arranged to be impregnated with it.

  104. Katie
    Katie July 2, 2011 at 2:26 am |

    The one place I generally disagree with prevailing feminist thinking is the “women don’t lie about rape” mentality. I worked at the DA’s office long enough to know they certainly do. Sadly, women lie about rape for any number of reasons, and it isn’t a particularly rare phenomenon. Ask anyone who’s spent time in a prosecution or police role. I saw enough men dragged through the mud before being unequivocally proven innocent that I’ll never be among the “I just KNOW he MUST have done something… I’ve read two news articles and can just FEEL his guilt” contingent.

    But I’ve also seen enough evidence of brutal rapes and the long lasting scars they leave. It’s a truly, truly heinous crime, and those responsible should be punished SEVERELY.

    Both sides are right on this one, but they should let facts and courts (not ideology) decide who is guilty. What’s the point of getting on a message board and spamming how you somehow know he’s guilty or, conversely, DukeRAPE!!!!1?

  105. chava
    chava July 2, 2011 at 2:30 am |

    Yeah, cause women–esp disagreeable women with no chances of election–totes get off on arranging the false rapes of others. Oh, I know, Christine Lagarde did it!
    /sarcasm

    JDP: Probably Marine Le Pen.

  106. Tom
    Tom July 2, 2011 at 3:37 am |

    For what it’s worth, the New York Post is now explicitly reporting that the accuser was a prostitute at the Sofitel, which is in line with one theory that’s been kicked around about this case.

    http://nyp.st/mCAO7z

  107. anon
    anon July 2, 2011 at 4:25 am |

    Tom:
    For what it’s worth, the New York Post is now explicitly reporting that the accuser was a prostitute at the Sofitel, which is in line with one theory that’s been kicked around about this case.

    http://nyp.st/mCAO7z

    Looking forward to the cries that this is “slut-shaming” and irrelevant to the case, probably from the same sources attacking Strauss-Kahn for his “uncontrollable urges”, or that

    Iris: What’s his name brought this all upon himself. Perhaps the lesson is no sex with hotel maids while they’re doing their job (consensual or not). Perhaps he could have just kicked down and paid a hooker. Perhaps he could have just kept his pecker in his pants.

  108. becky
    becky July 2, 2011 at 4:37 am |

    @anon and Tom

    From the New York Post article: “”There is information . . . of her getting extraordinary tips, if you know what I mean. And it’s not for bringing extra f–king towels,” a source close to the defense investigation said yesterday. ”

    First: Yeah, that sounds like realiable, unbiased and very reasonable information to me. Thank goodness there’s always that one “source close to the defense investigation” (!) knowing all about “f*ing towels”. /sarcasm

    Second: Because if she was a prostitute, she cannot be raped…?! I urge you to search for similar debates on Feministe (and many other feminist sites), and read up, because this is getting ridiculous (…you know, besides the “disgusting.”). FFS.

  109. Georg
    Georg July 2, 2011 at 4:57 am |

    becky:
    @anon and Tom

    Second: Because if she was a prostitute, she cannot be raped…?!

    Many people, including me, still thought Strauss-Kahn must have raped the woman because, come on, hotel maids can’t usually take the time to frolic around with customers. Well, some can, and we now have to consider the possibility she might be one of them. The final problem with Strauss-Kahn’s version of the story is in the process of being explained away.

  110. Natalia
    Natalia July 2, 2011 at 5:04 am |

    I feel weird about this one being compared to Duke Lacrosse. My view on Duke Lacrosse has, for a long time been this: Crystal Mangum is a deeply disturbed person. She went on to commit arson (her nine-year-old called that one in to the police) and stab a dude – who later died in the hospital, so now she is being held on murder charges. I’m fairly sure that Mike Nifong saw right away that she had issues, and decided that he could use her to bolster his career and raise his profile (as NC Attorney General Roy Cooper later pointed out – Mangum appeared to believe many of the different stories she was telling, and Nifong could not have ignored that) – and went on to pull marvelous stunts such as arrest a cabdriver who was with one of the accused at the time of the alleged rape on shoplifting charges that had been dropped in, like, 2004. All of this backfired spectacularly on Mangum and Nifong – neither of whom I feel sorry for. Mangum’s kids, though, are a whole different story.

    The DSK case is different for various reasons – though I have to admit, I have no patience for people who are shocked! Shocked! that a possible rape victim would like to profit financially from a case. This is just the kind of world we live in. People are out to make money. MacKenzie Phillips made money when she published that horrifying memoir about her dad – but she’s white and upper-class and there’s no criminal investigation going on, so it was seen as OK, I guess.

    If I were going with my instincts on this one – I would say that I seriously doubt that shock is to blame for some of those lies. I’ve got no doubt she’s had it rough in life, rougher than most people now involved in this case can imagine – and lying is a great means of survival. And yes, making money. That’s just how it is sometimes. The funny thing is, DSK already had a sick reputation when it came to women. So I can easily see this as a possible case of consensual sex that *then* turned abusive and violent. I guess we’ll never know.

  111. NaS
    NaS July 2, 2011 at 5:05 am |

    I don’t think the implication of the post story is that prostitutes cannot be raped. It is just that, if there is evidence that she was a prostitute at the hotel, that makes it more likely that the sex was consensual because she would have had a habit of having consensual sex with guests – it wouldn’t be just her (less likely) overwhelming attraction to DSK that was at work that day. It is also a partial answer to “what hotel maid has time to stop for sex while working.” The defense is just gathering details that mean little in isolation, but together may signify reasonable doubt.

    Also this:
    “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said.

    Is quite damning when added to the possible money laundering and the past perjury. Especially about the past perjury about rape, which sounds to have been quite theatrical and emotional. Lying in that manner looks (to me) a bit like a sign of mental health problems or sociopathy – a psychological profile that is probably common in people willing to falsely accuse others of rape. This is not to mention to the untrue statements to the grand jury that related directly to the case.

    None of this means that she was not raped. She may well have been, and none of this evidence proves DSK innocent. But it does look like convincing a jury that he did rape her, beyond a reasonable doubt, will be very difficult. And if the accusation was false, it is a shame DSK had to go through this.

  112. Moises
    Moises July 2, 2011 at 5:29 am |

    It’s depressing, but part of what makes it even more depressing is that if she and her apparent confidante lived in CA instead of NY, he might be seen as a legitimate business owner trying to help people access their medicine, and he might have been profiled in the local section of the newspaper instead of a prison mugshot. And then she wouldn’t have “drug connections”, but “business connections”. And then maybe she wouldn’t be cleaning celebrity rapists’ rooms in the first place.

    …And somebody else would have gotten raped, and she’d be dismissed as a false accuser for a bevy of irrelevant circumstances and deported for the equivalent of lying on her taxes 7 years ago. If anyone needs me, I’ll be taking a long walk off this short pier.

  113. Yonmei
    Yonmei July 2, 2011 at 5:40 am |

    I feel weird about this one being compared to Duke Lacrosse. My view on Duke Lacrosse has, for a long time been this: Crystal Mangum is a deeply disturbed person. She went on to commit arson (her nine-year-old called that one in to the police) and stab a dude – who later died in the hospital, so now she is being held on murder charges.

    My view on Duke Lacrosse has been, since it happened, that when a black stripper is gang-raped by a bunch of rich white guys with good family connections, it’s really not one bit amazing that she’s the one who’s going to end up with the crappy end of the stick if she calls the police.

    I don’t doubt that Crystal Mangan is a deeply disturbed person. I know she changed her story so many times about what happened that night that now if you say that you believe she was raped by at least some of those guys (one of whom wrote an email before the party gloating about how great it would be to kill a stripper) you get jeered at, because “obviously” she’s a liar and they’re nice boys who got targeted for career advancement by the local sheriff.

    And I think: come off it. What world do we live in? We live in a world where the question is if, not when a rape victim will see justice done. Where most of the time, a man who commits rape will get away with it. Where the process of justice for rape becomes a process of putting the victim on trial to see if she’s pure and good enough that it will be worth the law enforcement system pursuing the man who raped her. Where juries will find innocent men whom they believe beyond reasonable doubt and with considerable evidence, did rape their victim – because the rapist wore a condom and the victim took a shower.

    The Duke Lacrosse team are by now assumed to have been the victims of political ambition and a disturbed stripper. Give that lovely guy DSK a few years, and he’ll be President of France and the disturbed hotel maid who accused him of rape after consensual sex will probably be in jail. Or deported and vanished and maybe dead. But hey.

  114. m Andrea
    m Andrea July 2, 2011 at 5:51 am |

    This entire thread is STILL focusing on the credibility of the victim, as if that makes a lick of sense. The principle assholes are using is thus:

    “If it is even possible</strong that a woman might have lied about anything in the past, then of course there’s no way that she could ever be expected to tell the truth about rape.”

    But if “lying about anything” is to be considered valid criteria, then of course consistency requires that we apply that principle to the accused as well. If Strauss-Kahn has ever lied about anything, EVER, then obviously he’s lying now about his innocence.

    Duh. And I do mean FUCKING DUH DAMNIT.

    It’s good that ya’ll are defending the woman, but you’re missing a perfect opportunity here. There’s no reason to examine the victim’s character in such gross detail if folks are not going to apply that same standard to the accused. It’s hypocrisy. Bonus, it actually does make sense to dissect the accused’s attitudes towards women; because if he does have a habit of minimizing the autonomy and humanity of women, then it is indeed highly likely he is capable of rape.

    Seriously. Why are the advocates for rape victims NOT screaming for the character of the accused to be examined in great detail? Insisting that the character of the accused be put on trial is the perfect way to get a higher conviction rate. There’s no way the mra’s can claim “character doesn’t matter” because they repeatedly insist how important it is, right now.

    Pardon me, but jesus. Have ya’ll considered that your inability to go for the throat is due to all the bullshit Good Girl conditioning? If doods want to use her character as an excuse which invalidates her “credibility”, then great, take their rule and beat them at their own game with it.

  115. jpe
    jpe July 2, 2011 at 6:05 am |

    Also this:
    “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said.

    That’s more than enough reasonable doubt. The case will be dismissed any day now, but if it got to trial the defense would be able to tell the jury a solid narrative about a serial con artist (tax evasion, pyramid scheme, money laundering, etc) that had lied about being raped in the past in order to gain a benefit.

    although I’m counting down the minutes until someone suggests she’s a prostitute who had sex with DSK for money

    link

    The biggest point in her favor was the oddity of the encounter: outside the pages of Penthouse Forums, who does shit like that? If the Post story is true, it takes away that point.

  116. jpe
    jpe July 2, 2011 at 6:29 am |

    Because if she was a prostitute, she cannot be raped…?!

    This is about reasonable doubt, not whether she was raped in fact. What the phone call and prostitution allegation (if true, of course) do is introduce reasonable doubt. It certainly doesn’t mean she wasn’t raped or that prostitutes can’t be raped or whatever wacky strawmen you can create.

  117. matlun
    matlun July 2, 2011 at 6:45 am |

    Natalia: I feel weird about this one being compared to Duke Lacrosse.
    […]
    The DSK case is different for various reasons – …

    I think that the comparison the the Lacrosse case is very natural. In this case also a large number of people jumped to conclusions and assumed DSK to be guilty without any real knowledge about the case. Now that the facts are coming out it can be clearly seen that was a biased reaction.

    Should we not find those who assumed DSK was guilty from the start just as bad as those who are now claiming to be certain that she is just lying for profit?

    I do not really understand why it is so hard to just admit you do not know the truth of the case and withhold judgment until the facts are out.

  118. Moises
    Moises July 2, 2011 at 6:47 am |

    Tom: All of the physical evidence present normally will equally support either scenario: of a consensual sexual encounter or of a rape

    Sometimes physical evidence supports assault in addition to sex in and of itself. In fact, that appears to be the case here, unless Jill is lying in the OP when she says “there is physical evidence of assault”.

    kalah7: But if a man engages in consensual sex and in a private area and is later wrongly accused of rape. Then he’s stupid and to blame…at least partly? Not the person who did wrong?

    What fantasy world do you live in where hotel maids on the clock have time for a quick consensual romp with a customer now and then? Have you worked a minimum wage job before?

  119. anon
    anon July 2, 2011 at 7:37 am |

    What fantasy world do you live in where hotel maids on the clock have time for a quick consensual romp with a customer now and then? Have you worked a minimum wage job before?

    The New York Post has reported that she also may have worked as a prostitute in that hotel, which would explain the encounter.

  120. Soullite
    Soullite July 2, 2011 at 8:15 am |

    So basically, to the folks here, an accusation is a conviction. I hope to god no poor soul ever has any of you on their jury. You are clearly not capable of discharging your duties. For the following reasons, you have made it clear that in the case of rape, the burden of proof must be on the accused and the primary directive of the law should be making the accuser comfortable rather than discovering the truth.

    * the assertion that attempting to destroy evidence does not constitute ‘improper’ actions.
    * the assertion that it is a good thing that the accused have their lives destroyed without conviction.
    * Pretending that ‘benefits’ doesn’t mean what everyone knows it means in common use – even after the prosecutors have stated that the translated discussion specifically mentions that she knows what she’s doing, and this guy is really rich.
    * Pretending that it is impossible for women to lie for financial gain. Because apparently only men are evil.
    * Pretending that your own personal experiences must graft perfectly onto this situation. I don’t care if you’ve been a maid, you still don’t know what happened. You’re just another internet expect using random BS to prove this or that point. Every argument about anything anywhere brings out two or three of you every time.
    * Asserting that, in a case with no substantial physical evidence (and all reports are that the bruising is consistent with consensual sex and no automatically indicative of assault) the credibility of the accuser matters not one whit, but the credibility of the accused so totally proves he’s guilty.

    I will never comment here again, both because I know I’m not welcome and because and I don’t care what petty rationalizations you manage to pull out of your collective asses for your behavior in this matter. People can always find some BS reason to excuse whatever horrid little things they’ve done. Be clear on this though: you aren’t the heroes of this story. There are no heroes of this story.

  121. Rose
    Rose July 2, 2011 at 8:17 am |

    A detail buried at the bottom of today’s NY Time hit piece on the accuser is that her attorney said that in this recorded phone call she also recounts the attack in detail to her friend on the phone. I find that very interesting.

    She’s on a call that she clearly has no idea is being taped. She’s speaking in her native language. She has no motive in this call to lie to her friend, in fact, it strikes me as a good time to laugh about how she has everyone fooled into thinking she was raped. Instead she tells him about the attack with all the same details she gave the police, prosecutors and the grand jury.

    At some point she said “something to the effect” of “Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. This guy has a lot of money.” But we’re given no context of what this was said in response to. Was her friend begging her to drop the charges because BSK is so powerful? Was he telling her that she could lose her asylum in the U.S. by coming forward? I don’t know the answer to these questions because that one line is all that’s being reported. I also find interesting that BSK’s friends were in contact with her family about bribing her with large sums of money (7 figures were mentioned) to recant her story. Strange that she didn’t jump on that if her motive were money all along.

    The media is now on a huge smear campaign against her. A picture of a sleazy, criminal liar needs to be painted and there’s no room for grey area.

    I only ask that the same people who decried the rush to judgement about BSL give her the same courtesy because right now it’s she who is being tried and found guilty in the press.

  122. becky
    becky July 2, 2011 at 8:29 am |

    Soullite:
    So basically, to the folks here, an accusation is a conviction. I hope to god no poor soul ever has any of you on their jury. You are clearly not capable of discharging your duties. For the following reasons, you have made it clear that in the case of rape, the burden of proof must be on the accused and the primary directive of the law should be making the accuser comfortable rather than discovering the truth.

    * the assertion that attempting to destroy evidence does not constitute ‘improper’ actions.
    * the assertion that it is a good thing that the accused have their lives destroyed without conviction.
    * Pretending that ‘benefits’ doesn’t mean what everyone knows it means in common use – even after the prosecutors have stated that the translated discussion specifically mentions that she knows what she’s doing, and this guy is really rich.
    * Pretending that it is impossible for women to lie for financial gain. Because apparently only men are evil.
    * Pretending that your own personal experiences must graft perfectly onto this situation. I don’t care if you’ve been a maid, you still don’t know what happened. You’re just another internet expect using random BS to prove this or that point. Every argument about anything anywhere brings out two or three of you every time.
    * Asserting that, in a case with no substantial physical evidence (and all reports are that the bruising is consistent with consensual sex and no automatically indicative of assault) the credibility of the accuser matters not one whit, but the credibility of the accused so totally proves he’s guilty.

    I will never comment here again, both because I know I’m not welcome and because and I don’t care what petty rationalizations you manage to pull out of your collective asses for your behavior in this matter. People can always find some BS reason to excuse whatever horrid little things they’ve done. Be clear on this though: you aren’t the heroes of this story. There are no heroes of this story.

    Don’t you find it even a little funny that you give a lengthy speech about “in dubio pro reo” and how these horrible feminists try to incarcerate every singly innocent man, that solely aims at convicting a potential rape victim without any evidence and by helping your point with made up claims (like: there wasn’t any evidence pointing to sexual assault – actually, exactly that has been reported over and over again)…? Wow.

  123. Rose
    Rose July 2, 2011 at 8:36 am |

    Just a correction from my earlier post, the initials are DSK for Domonique Strauss Khan. I kept getting it wrong…a lesson not to comment before drinking coffee!

  124. becky
    becky July 2, 2011 at 8:37 am |

    And what I forgot to mention: I am particularly fond of the nice contradiction between your third and fifth “point”: Accusing people of “grafting” their personal experiences “onto the situation,” (and that they don’t know what happened and shouldn’t conclude from their personal experiences as maids), just to move on to telling everyone that they’re just pretending that “benefits” doesn’t always mean money (because you were actually in on that conversation or have a phone or have talked about benefits before and hence know what is means, always, always, always, in your experience…?). Thanks for your plan to not comment again, though – that’s a relief…

  125. Sam
    Sam July 2, 2011 at 8:41 am |

    Jill,

    no, there is no *evidence* she actually lied about being sexually assaulted. Just as there is no *evidence* she was. It all comes down to who’s more credible. And regardless of what her lies about other parts of her life are, regardless of potential traumas, how can you (and other feminists) not accept that the story about her talking to someone about “this guy has money, I know what I’m doing” is making her testimony more than questionable?

    I don’t understand that. Feminists ask society to a priori believe people who say they were sexually assaulted. But that demand can only be considered reasonable when feminists are also willing to accept when alleged victims do things or say things that very much justify to question the truth of the alligations they make.

  126. Natalia
    Natalia July 2, 2011 at 8:50 am |

    I do not really understand why it is so hard to just admit you do not know the truth of the case and withhold judgment until the facts are out.

    When rape hits the headlines – it makes people emotional. Understandably so.

  127. Natalia
    Natalia July 2, 2011 at 9:07 am |

    I’m sorry, but if she’s been raped, she’s fucking entitled to some sort of compensation, especially if criminal prosecution fails. And if she’s a poor woman and her attacker is a rich man, I’m not fucking surprised she’s having conversations about whether or not that’s a viable outcome to a horrific situation.

    Yeah, I hate the hand-wringing about profit as well. It’s as if once you’ve been raped, you have to sustain yourself on a diet of rose petals and sympathy cards. Not how it works.

  128. matlun
    matlun July 2, 2011 at 9:13 am |

    Natalia: When rape hits the headlines – it makes people emotional. Understandably so.

    Well, yes, sometimes getting overly emotional is understandable. I guess on a site like feminste a larger than normal portion of the posters will also have personal experiences of rape, so that any discussions like this has triggering effects.

    So I guess I should have phrased my original comment differently.

    matlun: I really wish people could admit they do not know the truth of the case and withhold judgment until the facts are out.

  129. JDP
    JDP July 2, 2011 at 9:15 am |

    chava:
    Yeah, cause women–esp disagreeable women with no chances of election–totes get off on arranging the false rapes of others.Oh, I know, Christine Lagarde did it!
    /sarcasm

    My response was actually something of a joke.

    But Le Pen has undeniably benefitted from this the most and has undeniably been stoking the flames domestically. You really can’t argue that Marine Le Pen hasn’t cynically exploited this in order to push Sarkozy and the UMP towards more right-leaning politics. And this has nothing to do with Le Pen being a woman and everything to do with the FN being a party of fascists.

  130. Florence
    Florence July 2, 2011 at 9:15 am |

    Rose: A detail buried at the bottom of today’s NY Time hit piece on the accuser is that her attorney said that in this recorded phone call she also recounts the attack in detail to her friend on the phone. I find that very interesting.

    She’s on a call that she clearly has no idea is being taped. She’s speaking in her native language. She has no motive in this call to lie to her friend, in fact, it strikes me as a good time to laugh about how she has everyone fooled into thinking she was raped. Instead she tells him about the attack with all the same details she gave the police, prosecutors and the grand jury.

    Thank you for pointing this out. This seems like it ought to be a point in the accuser’s favor.

  131. bhuesca
    bhuesca July 2, 2011 at 9:17 am |

    If rape victims are entitled to compensation – not a bad idea – but shouldn’t that be enshrined in some sort of law and maybe come from the state or a state fund set up for that purpose? I mean, because otherwise someone raped by Bill Gates would get a big payoff, and someone raped by the homeless person down the street – or by a teenager or college student or anyone, frankly, with no job & no savings – would get NOTHING?? I cannot see that as fair. A good idea, but I just can’t see how it should rely on the wealth of the rapist….although I suppose it does or may do so now, in civil cases, which are usually filed AFTER the criminal case concludes to not give the image of money-seeking as a reason for the allegation, right?

  132. bhuesca
    bhuesca July 2, 2011 at 9:21 am |

    Jill, am I stuck in moderation here? Thanks! B.Huesca

    The comment was:

    If rape victims are entitled to compensation – not a bad idea – but shouldn’t that be enshrined in some sort of law and maybe come from the state or a state fund set up for that purpose? I mean, because otherwise someone raped by Bill Gates would get a big payoff, and someone raped by the homeless person down the street – or by a teenager or college student or anyone, frankly, with no job & no savings – would get NOTHING?? I cannot see that as fair. A good idea, but I just can’t see how it should rely on the wealth of the rapist….although I suppose it does or may do so now, in civil cases, which are usually filed AFTER the criminal case concludes to not give the image of money-seeking as a reason for the allegation, right?

  133. chava
    chava July 2, 2011 at 9:33 am |

    I figured it was; just one that seems a little off in the context of all the woman-blaming that’s already gone on in this case. And she’s hardly the only one here to exploit it, in any event.

    JDP: My response was actually something of a joke.

    But Le Pen has undeniably benefitted from this the most and has undeniably been stoking the flames domestically.You really can’t argue that Marine Le Pen hasn’t cynically exploited this in order to push Sarkozy and the UMP towards more right-leaning politics.And this has nothing to do with Le Pen being a woman and everything to do with the FN being a party of fascists.

  134. Poeschl
    Poeschl July 2, 2011 at 9:41 am |

    @ Joel #30 – “… the prosecutor seems OK with a public acknowledgment of the weaknesses of the primary victim-witness. He should have kept his mouth shut about it.”

    Exactly — It is normal that the DA would submit this to the judge and the defense team, but not to the public. Releasing this info to the public before jury selection could prejudice a potential jury pool against the accuser.

    It’s my paranoid suspicion that ‘poisoning’ the jury pool is the DA’s actual motive for releasing this info to the public. There was otherwise no justification for leaking this info to the press.

    It’s my suspicion that, because of the accuser’s credibility issues, the DA has decided the case is unwinnable, and because DSK is an extremely high-profile defendant, the DA wants this case dismissed rather than risk the professional and foreign-relations consequences of an acquittal. And since the DA’s releases are all online, it would be hard to find another venue where a supposedly unprejudiced jury pool could be formed to try the case. The accuser’s lawyer has also accused the DA of running away from the case.

    To my mind, it’s an unethical way for the DA to proceed, but I can see no other justification for publicizing his concerns except to get the case dismissed.

  135. JDP
    JDP July 2, 2011 at 9:44 am |

    chava:
    I figured it was; just one that seems a little off in the context of all the woman-blaming that’s already gone on in this case.And she’s hardly the only one here to exploit it, in any event.

    No woman-blaming was involved or intended. I was calling out fascism and fascism alone.

  136. Lisa
    Lisa July 2, 2011 at 9:47 am |

    When this news first broke weeks ago, I fully believed her story; what’s more I was OUTRAGED by DSK’s defenders.

    Yesterday’s news came as a REAL shock. At first I wondered if the maid wasn’t paid off, agreeing to “pose” as unreliable, as a means of making the case disappear. I held to this unlikely theory less and less as more damning facts surfaced– this woman has a long history of lying for personal gain (lying about her income for subsidized housing, lying about her number of dependents, lying to police, the grand jury, lying here, there, everywhere).

    Don’t get me wrong– I still think DSK is vile limousine-socialist pig. But this woman’s word is apparently worthless– as Aesop pointed out, the drawback of being a serial liar is that your word is rendered worthless.

  137. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 2, 2011 at 10:45 am |

    I do not really understand why it is so hard to just admit you do not know the truth of the case and withhold judgment until the facts are out.

    While I agree with this, a couple of points:

    I do not see anyone rushing in to make these proclamations to wait until the facts are in when it comes to any other type of case, even in cases of murder or drug trafficking or extortion when the general public’s collective tongue is wagging about the scumminess/guilt of the accused.

    The emotion and bias goes both ways. I really wish that ALL people would admit their emotion and bias–including those who tend to run to a default position that women lie/less than pure women cannot be raped, etc.

    As far as the DSK case went, I never assumed he was guilty or that she was lying–I did point out that the rampant rape apology surrounding the case (and most rape cases) was disgusting.

  138. matlun
    matlun July 2, 2011 at 11:14 am |

    Sheelzebub: The emotion and bias goes both ways. I really wish that ALL people would admit their emotion and bias…

    That is certainly true.

    In fact this is a much more general issue than just for rape cases. It is easy to be caught up by confirmation bias and fail to question your own objectivity.

    The debate about rape cases does seem to be especially prone to this, though. Probably because rape has a much stronger emotional impact than most other issues.

    I also feel a bit dubious about the “…admit their emotion and bias…” part. Admitting to bias is not enough, you should actively try to overcome it. Perhaps it is not possible to be perfect, but we should all strive to be as good as possible.

  139. andreams
    andreams July 2, 2011 at 11:42 am |

    Angryblackguy:
    Tori we are examining her credibility because rape is an accusation in which credibility is key. We can’t be asked to believe everything victim says while ignoring lies she tells under oath,especially if she lies in direct connection to the accused crime.

    I am sure many women and men lie initially because of shame,shock,anger,hurt and other issues. But when you step up on a stand to tell your story and vow to tell the truth so that your words can be heard and believed, you have an obligation to tell the truth. Once you don’t you can’t expect society to give you a free pass because of your hurt. Just tell the truth. That’s what we want from all parties involved and when you don’t and a person goes to jail for it or is indicted, you shouldn’t be protected.

    Agreed. You can’t have one standard of proof for sexual assault, and another standard for everything else. If the accuser lies under oath, her credibility is shot. Do you want people being convicted of crimes on the basis of testimony of proven liars? In a country like yours that has the death penalty in many states, you should be very concerned about calling for a justice system that overlooks credibility problems in witnesses. If we were talking about a woman being accused of murder with her not-so-credible ex-husband as the main witness, this conversation would be going in a much different direction.

    Think of whether or not an accused person committed a crime on a continuum:

    Did it > Legally guilty > Not prosecutable > Not legally guilty > Didn’t do it

    Just because they can’t prosecute DSK (if that’s what happens), doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.

  140. Noli Irritare Leones » Blog Archive » Of DSK and imperfect justice

    […] asylum applications may also be raped). It is, rather, with the cycle that develops with such case, as Jill Filipovic describes. And we live in a culture where the public destruction of every woman who makes a rape accusation […]

  141. samanthab
    samanthab July 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm |

    To the Anon who claims that DSK rejected diplomatic immunity, you don’t have your facts straight. DSK’s initial claim to the police was that he was protected under diplomatic immunity, and they couldn’t touch him. However, diplomatic immunity agreements with the IMF only protect an IMF their representatives when they are acting under IMF business. It would have been very difficult for DSK to make that case. And I don’t think anyone’s argued that DSK is a stupid man. He’d clearly have to realize that a claim of diplomatic immunity would result in a public presumption of guilt, hence making it quite a bit harder to argue the case for his innocence at the almost inevitable criminal trial.

    And to the many in his thread that seem to believe that you have to be a saint to deserve to have your rape prosecuted, that argument amounts to an endorsement of rape.

  142. JDP
    JDP July 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |

    No one’s claiming that you should have to be a saint to have rape prosecuted. People are claiming that you need to not have committed perjury on numerous occasions in order to have your witness testimony stand up in court.

  143. Ismone
    Ismone July 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    Two things:

    (1) About reasonable doubt. There is no single fact, taken alone, that creates reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is a standard the jury applies after all the evidence is in, and rightly so. There are some facts that could look pretty bad for an alleged victim. But on the other hand, there are some facts, independent of those facts, that support her story. For example, DSK changed his story. For example, she had bruising to her external genitalia and a torn ligament in her shoulder. Neither of those things happen in “normal” sexual encounters, and there is no indication that he is claiming some kind of bdsm defense.

    (2) About victim credibility. I have worked post-convictions on some gang-related shootings where pretty much every witness was an accused gang member with a rap sheet. Guess what? The juries decided which gang members to believe, and convicted someone of the shooting. So this whole “oh noes, he said/she said” is a real red herring, because in those shooting cases, who shot first determines who is a criminal. The incentives to lie in those circumstances are way higher than in any rape case. But I have never heard someone throw up their hands, and say, oh noes, reasonable doubt, we cannot try this case. He said, he said. Sorry, victim of shooting/family of dead victim of shooting. Reasonable doubt! Yeah, that does not happen.

  144. Anon
    Anon July 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    samanthab: To the Anon who claims that DSK rejected diplomatic immunity, you don’t have your facts straight. DSK’s initial claim to the police was that he was protected under diplomatic immunity, and they couldn’t touch him. However, diplomatic immunity agreements with the IMF only protect an IMF their representatives when they are acting under IMF business.

    According to the legal expert consulted by the BBC, that is not the case. While rank-and-file IMF members are only protected when they act in an official capacity, the head of the IMF has absolute immunity from prosecution in all countries, under article six of the 1947 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13412092

  145. Poeschl
    Poeschl July 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm |

    @Samanthab #143 – “… immunity agreements with the IMF only protect … IMF … representatives when they are acting under IMF business.”

    At least according to the online BBC’s special section on DSK’s diplomatic immunity, DSK while IMF Managing Director enjoyed diplomatic immunity even when not on IMF business. According to that BBC section, only lower-level IMF personnel enjoy the limited immunity that you describe.

    According to the same BBC section, DSK implicitly waived immunity when he submitted to forensic tests after he was arrested, and never claimed immunity afterwards (or so said the BBC).

    If DSK had actually had a putative claim of immunity recognized and maintained throughout, he would never have gone to trial at all. But, as you note, his reputation during the French presidential elections would have been irreparably scarred. DSK must have had a lot of confidence in his case at the time that he waived immunity.

  146. Anon
    Anon July 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    Anon: According to the legal expert consulted by the BBC, that is not the case. While rank-and-file IMF members are only protected when they act in an official capacity, the head of the IMF has absolute immunity from prosecution in all countries, under article six of the 1947 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13412092

    In particular, Section 21 of the convention states: “In addition to the immunities and privileges specified in sections 19 and 20 [that grant IMF officials immunity related to acts performed in an official capacity], the executive head of each specialized agency, including any official acting on his behalf during his absence form duty, shall be accorded in respect of himself, his spouse and minor children, the privileges and immunities, exemptions and facilities accorded to diplomatic envoys, in accordance with international law.”

  147. Anon E. Mouse
    Anon E. Mouse July 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

    m Andrea: kyriarchal

    M Andrea has it right. Where is the discussion of DSK’s truthiness?

    If we are going to drag alleged victims’ credibility through the mud when it comes to “he said/she said” trials, then the accused deserve the same benefit of doubt. I’d suggest hooking both of them up to lie detectors, but unfortunately, those can be fooled.

    If DSK has a lengthy history of lying with regard to his dealings with women, then it should be made known to the jury. If he has a history of using derogatory terms when discussing women — and if there’s any mention ANYWHERE that he’s ever so much as touched a woman without her consent — that should be made known to the jury as well. It’s highly relevant to the case in question.

  148. Raven Rant
    Raven Rant July 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    We know for a fact that DSK lied to the police. His initial defense was that he had an alibi, he wasn’t there, and there had been no sexual encounter. After the DNA proved that was a lie, his defense seamlessly morphed into, “But it was consensual!”

    But credibility tests are applied exclusively to rape victims. The accused rapists lies never seem to affect their credibility.

    Only a cloistered nun with medical proof of virginity should bother to report rape in this country, and even then, she should be prepared to hear how she was totally asking for it and had it coming to her.

  149. Mztress
    Mztress July 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    why:
    The tone of this post makes it seem like you assume DSK is guilty.Why?.

    Because he is. I know it, you know it, we all fucking know it.

    He found the one person whose voice will never matter: an immigrant maid with sketchy citizenship and ties to criminal activities.

    So he violated her. He knew how easy it would be to use the “I’m a prestigious white male who can do no wrong” argument to get away with the rape.

    It won’t be long before the charges are dismissed by the judge and she’s deported.

    There’s your open and shut case.

  150. Anon
    Anon July 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

    Mztress: He found the one person whose voice will never matter: an immigrant maid with sketchy citizenship and ties to criminal activities. So he violated her.

    There is no reason whatsoever to think that DSK knew about any potentially discrediting facts about the complainant’s asylum status or alleged criminal connections at the time of the incident at the hotel, or when following his arrest he decided to face the allegations instead of invoking immunity, as was his right.

    If he raped her – something that at this point only the complainant and DSK know – neither of the two things you bring up could have possibly played a role in his decision to do so (of course, the fact that she was a housekeeper and a woman of color could have, but that’s not what you said).

  151. LC
    LC July 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm |

    It sounds like no one saw the CNN broadcast about this yesterday. The woman’s lawyer gave a rather impassioned defense of her, accused the DA of running from the case, and presented a list of evidence that he said still supported her. He also pointed out (as was said above) that in the recorded call she didn’t change her story of the rape.

  152. velder
    velder July 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

    why:
    The tone of this post makes it seem like you assume DSK is guilty.Why?.

    Because he is. I know it, you know it, we all fucking know it.

    Wow

  153. The presumption of innocence, reasonable doubt and factual innocence « The Crawdad Hole

    […] Feministe: The reason it’s nearly impossible for the prosecution to pursue these charges, even though there’s no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime, is because we live in a culture where rape victims need to be flawless in order to be believed. We live in a culture where it’s damn near impossible for any woman, when her life is held up to the light, to be considered innocent. We live in a culture where we think it’s even reasonable to question a rape victim’s “innocence” in the first place. We live in a culture where accusers of high-profile men undergo even more scrutiny than usual from a media hungry for a story and playing by an old rule book. And we live in a culture where the public destruction of every woman who makes a rape accusation is used as fodder in subsequent rape cases, establishing a cycle where we believe that women must be lying because the women before her were lying, so we feel justified in going out of our way to find any scrap of evidence that might indicate she has ever done anything ever in her life that we might find unsavory even if it has nothing to do with the case at hand, and then we use that to determine that she’s not credible, and then we use has as another example of how women lie about rape. And then powerful men are even more emboldened and feel more justified in treating women like garbage. […]

  154. chloe
    chloe July 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    I just wish your justice system would look into people’s credibility before taking the head of the IMF out of the loop on the grounds of an imaginary “flight risk”, right when the most important negotiations in the Euro crisis are about to start.

    Then maybe, just maybe we would have had a small chance of solving this little problem with Greece without further ruining the country for the benefit of banksters and costing it its sovereignty. Many thanks to the US justice system, on behalf of Greece.

  155. Anthea
    Anthea July 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    Mztress: Because he is. I know it, you know it, we all fucking know it.

    No we don’t. Most people may strongly suspect DSK is guilty based on his past behaviour, but we don’t know for sure in this particular instance. Just as the woman’s past conduct or how she reacted in the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident should not be the influencing factors in the DA’s decision on whether to try DSK, likewise DSK’s past conduct (or his position, moneyed status, race etc.) should not have us casting stones at him in this particular case, before all the facts are out.

    At this point of the process, your anger is wasted on DSK or his lawyers. Instead it should be directed towards the DA who will ultimately decide if the trial goes ahead or not, and the formal reasons he will provide for his decision.

    Admittedly, as a non-American, this whole jury system does appear strange, esp the bit about the how the accuser/witness would appear to members of jury (and therefore influencing if the case goes to trial). One Singaporean politician (also a trial lawyer) who was instrumental in abolishing the jury system in that country in 1969 said – “I had no faith in a system that allowed the supersitition, ignorance, biases, and prejudices of seven jurymen to determine guilt or innocence.” You have to admit there is an element of truth to this statement, even if you are pro-jury-system.

  156. chloe
    chloe July 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    Anthea: No we don’t.Most people may strongly suspect DSK is guilty based on his past behaviour…

    I know a lot of people who strongly suspect this entire farce is a set-up, given how this woman may be susceptible to blackmail due to her fraudulent asylum application, and given how much bankster profits and political interests are at stake.

  157. anon
    anon July 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    Anon E. Mouse: M Andrea has it right. Where is the discussion of DSK’s truthiness?

    If we are going to drag alleged victims’ credibility through the mud when it comes to “he said/she said” trials, then the accused deserve the same benefit of doubt. I’d suggest hooking both of them up to lie detectors, but unfortunately, those can be fooled.

    It’s that whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing. DSK’s credibility doesn’t matter until you have a prima facie case against him, and with the testimony of a serial perjurer as your entire case, you don’t.

    Obviously the courts should take a lesson from the feminist blogs, and those accused of rape should have to rebut a presumption of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

  158. Jane Jones
    Jane Jones July 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    Yonmei:
    If one of the most powerful men in the world rapes one of the most powerless women in the world, would anyone seriously expect that the courts would convict him? It’s quite astonishing that the case got as far as it did. Not much help to that poor woman, and terribly satisfying to all these gloating men showing up to rub their hands over the battered body of the case, but then they saw themselves as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, not as the victim.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. It was over before it began. There is absolutely no way the prominent, high powered Kahn would go down for raping an African immigrant. And this justice was going to occur in New York City? Surely you knew it was over when Harvard law Professor, Alan Dershowitz, inserted himself in the criminal case. There he strolled from media to media advocating not criminal prosecution, but a civil settlement. He refused to say if he was working for Kahn.

    Not only should there be complaints to the prosecution, but to Harvard University.

  159. Anthea
    Anthea July 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |

    chloe: I know a lot of people who strongly suspect this entire farce is a set-up, given how this woman may be susceptible to blackmail due to her fraudulent asylum application, and given how much bankster profits and political interests are at stake.


    Yep, and they also see the hand of the US Govt at play. Because the US so wanted the American deputy to assume leadership responsibilities at IMF just before the crucial EU-IMF negotiations with Greece.

    And did these people also talk about the secretive Bilderberg conference held recently, chaired by the Queen of the Netherlands? And how the participants at the conference discussed strategies to get DSK freed?

    Ah, conspiracy theories – what would the world be without them?

  160. Immigrant Women and Rape « ladyelocutionist

    […] Feministe also has an excellent overview and analysis about how this all went down and what is and isn’t relevant to the case at […]

  161. chloe
    chloe July 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm |

    Anthea: Yep, and they also see the hand of the US Govt at play.Because the US so wanted the American deputy to assume leadership responsibilities at IMF just before the crucial EU-IMF negotiations with Greece.

    Not just because of the Greece negotiations. On May 26th the new IMF reserve currency system should have been established. This would have significantly weakened the US-$, and of course this project toppled due to the imprisonment of DSK.

    And did these people also talk about the secretive Bilderberg conference held recently, chaired by the Queen of the Netherlands? And how the participants at the conference discussed strategies to get DSK freed?

    I haven’t heard of that.

    Ah, conspiracy theories – what would the world be without them?

    I wouldn’t call that a conspiracy. This doesn’t require large-scale networks or Illuminati. This is about a simple and quite common set-up to sideline an undesirable person. Intrigues aren’t at all uncommon in companies and administrations. The higher the positions, the more unscrupulous the means. Financial system is a piranha pool. Dismissing such a scenario as unrealistic would be very naive.

  162. Anon
    Anon July 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |

    Gah, fixing runaway bold.

  163. Anon
    Anon July 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |

    Or not?

  164. Ismone
    Ismone July 2, 2011 at 6:09 pm |

    Anon,

    You are way wrong about the facts and the law.

    First of all, regarding her citizenship, considering the fact she was born in another country and that was probably immediately apparent to him and she is working a low-skilled job, the fact that she was an immigrant wouldn’t have been a shock to him. And the idea that immigrants, particularly from Africa, might not trust the police is not a big leap, either.

    Regarding the law and innocence until guilt is proven:

    As I pointed out above, that is a legal standard for when you are on a jury. And since you and others are accusing the alleged victim of lying to the police or fabricating rape, if innocence until proof of guilt were the standard, you would be violating it. But that is not the standard. Here, outside of the courtroom, we can rationally argue about what is and is not likely. And here, he changed his story from having an alibi to having consensual sex, and neither story explains her injuries, which are pretty serious.

    You don’t know what prima facie case means. Because the alleged victim’s perjury or lack thereof would not affect a prima facie case, for one. That would be rebuttal evidence. The semen, injuries, and her statement of non-consent is more than enough for a prima facie case. Add to that the fact that he initially lied about sexual contact even happening, and I think it is pretty likely that he committed the offense.

  165. chloe
    chloe July 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm |

    Dear Ismone, this woman ADMITTED to having lied. No allegations here.

  166. Dommy Poet
    Dommy Poet July 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm |

    I’m not really sure who’s telling the truth here, but it’s not abnormal for a victim of sexual assault to report it later, to be conflicted about it, or to leave out details that make them look “at fault.” The points as I see them.

    1) “She also said that her claim that she had been the victim of a gang rape in Guinea was a lie.”

    Feminist, Misogynist or Scientologist, we ALL should agree that this is not OK. Lying about a sexual assault is the lowest thing a person can do. That being said, telling a lie before is simply character evidence. It’s not evidence of guilt or innocence.

    2) “Prosecutors disclosed that the woman had admitted lying in her application for asylum from Guinea. According to their letter, she “fabricated the statement with the assistance of a male who provided her with a cassette recording” that she memorized.”

    Lying to go from a country where the average per capita GDP is $ 2,100 to one where the average per capita GDP is $ 47,284 isn’t really a strong argument; if I could go to Canada and mow lawns for $ 900,000 a year, I’d do the exact same thing. Doesn’t mean I’d tell a lie that would put a man in prison and ruin his entire life. I also find the “with the assistance of a male” to be a very slyly worded way to say “SEE! SHE’S AROUND MEN ALL THE TIME! SHE PROBABLY LOVES DICK!” Why do we need to know who made the tape? We don’t see lines like “Limbaugh bought the Oxycontin with the assistance of a female Dr…” because we don’t generally give a shit what gender someone is who’s an unnamed, barely relevant person in a story.

    3) “The woman also acknowledged that she had misrepresented her income to qualify for her housing, and that she had declared a friend’s child as a dependent on tax returns — in addition to her own daughter — to increase her tax refund.”

    A lot of these programs have tiers, and you can go from getting reasonable assistance to unreasonable assistance with a small bump in pay (as a made up example say you get X assitance if you make 15,000 dollars a year; If you made 14,500 and you get a raise to 15,100 dollars a year, you may LOSE more than that 600 dollars in lost assistance.) I once worked with a single mom who turned down a pay increase because to take it would take about $ 2,000 dollars worth of food out of her kids’ mouth. These are two lies that are reasonably understandable and not relevant to the issue at hand.

    4) “The housekeeper admitted to prosecutors that she had lied about what happened after the encounter on the 28th floor of the hotel, the Sofitel New York. She initially said that after she had been attacked she waited in a hallway until Mr. Strauss-Kahn left the room. She now admits that after the episode, she cleaned a nearby room, then returned to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite to clean there. Only after that did she report to her supervisor that she had been attacked.”

    Sort of covered in the preamble but again, this happens a lot and ESPECIALLY in unequal power dynamics where a person’s job and livelihood are on the line. I certainly couldn’t make the decision whether or not to turn MY life upside down by accusing a media figure and essentially my boss of something nasty, especially if I had tax, immigration, and assistance lies hiding in my closet. If she wasn’t sure if she was going to report, it was VERY reasonable to go back and finish her job. It’s not particularly useful to not report a sexual assault so you can remain employed then also not do that job. This one IS relevant, but also pretty readily explainable.

    5) “According to two law enforcement officials familiar with the prosecutors’ inquiry, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him.”

    Profiting from this sort of thing is slimy, I’ll go in on that. But wanting to profit and saying that a crime didn’t happen are two different things. If this is a jail-house snitch situation and she HAD said that no crime happened you can rest assured that it would have come out. Prison snitches get numerous benefits from snitching and he wouldn’t just leave money on the table, (so to speak.) So that’s slimy; but slimy people still can be victims of sexual assault (and if you don’t believe that, read up on what happens to child molesters in prison.) Being slimy and trying to profit off your celebrity have standing only on your moral character; they are not evidence of a man’s guilt one way or the other.

    6) “The investigators also learned that the woman was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. She had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends.”

    Maybe she wanted to get this done with as little invasion of her privacy as possible? Maybe she was in the country and shouldn’t have been, and was rooking the system a little bit, and she wasn’t all that excited about giving a bunch of strangers every personal fucking detail of her life. I write about sex, and specifically sadistic sex, power exchange, and other such things I don’t want connected to my vanilla identity. If I got mugged I wouldn’t say “Hey by the way I write a sex blog.” Probably not relevant.

    7) “In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application.”

    Again, nobody should ever defend someone for suggesting a rape happened when it didn’t. Feminists, Masochists, Satanists; whoever. Nobody should ever consider rape accusations a tool of argument, conflict, or any other such things. But she didn’t accuse specific people. It’s a weird thing to do (and maybe she was unfamiliar with the document, I don’t know what her level of English is/was at the time) but it doesn’t show a history of lying about rape. As for genital mutilation, I’m assuming they did a rape kit/etc. That’s kind of hard to miss. I’m assuming these lies were to pad her application and if so, they’re not really relevant.

    So there you go.

    I’d take you to task for coming from the assumptive position of guilt on a case that has not even been taken to trial yet… except he immediately tried to flee the God damned country. That makes it a little hard for me to get all up in your grill about that.

    She may have lied about the rape. None of us know for sure. But if these are their smoking guns, then I’m quite comfortable putting him in front of a jury and letting them decide. None of these are good enough reason to throw a case out.

    DommyPoet

    (Have any of the writers done an article on the SHOCKING behavior of the French in terms of their tacit acceptance of male sexual aggression? Cause THATS an article I’d read the shit out of. That stuff was sickening and shows why Polanski found such a happy home there.)

  167. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie July 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

    Dear chloe, this woman has not been accused of lying ABOUT HAVING BEEN RAPED.

    But she told some lies that would make it more likely she could escape her life in another country and live in the U.S. Ergo, she cannot possibly have been raped.

    Only virgins who spend their days hidden from men, kneeling on cobblestone floors praying for forgiveness for theirs sins, can be raped. Don’t you know that?

    Remember: Strauss-Kahn’s latest “defense,” before the “bitch is a lying scheming money-grubbing hooker who knew who DSK was before she dislocated her own shoulder to make her money-seeking claim of ‘rape’ seem more reliable” defense, was “The sex was consensual.”

    Thank goodness the woman is an illiterate, poor woman with ties to questionable men (HA! SHE MADE IT UP, BECAUSE MOST MEN WOULD NEVER EXPLOIT A WOMAN!), a woman who lied to try and eke out a “better” life for herself. Because now DSK can use the “she’s worthless scum” defense.

  168. Athenia
    Athenia July 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm |

    I’m so confused—the way the NYT article is written it seems to claim that the woman, herself, has said she lied about the gang rape on the application. Why in heavens would she admit to the lie? It’s not like they can actually discredit her account if she had never brought charges etc.

    Also, how in heavens can she get money from him from a trial about rape? She would have to sue in civil court, wouldn’t she?

  169. chloe
    chloe July 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm |

    Oh, of course, she didn’t lie in her tax declaration, claiming she had a 2nd child to get tax reductions. She didn’t lie about what happened after the alleged incident with DSK. She knew nothing about those 100,000 bucks on her bank account and she never had phone calls worth a couple of a hundred bucks with five different phone companies.

    Your heroine is a fraud. A victim of the capitalist system, no doubt, but nonetheless a fraud, susceptible to extortion. She was probably blackmailed because some bankster threatened to uncover the false stories in her asylum applications. Get over it.

  170. Anon
    Anon July 2, 2011 at 10:11 pm |

    Anthea: Yep, and they also see the hand of the US Govt at play. Because the US so wanted the American deputy to assume leadership responsibilities at IMF just before the crucial EU-IMF negotiations with Greece.And did these people also talk about the secretive Bilderberg conference held recently, chaired by the Queen of the Netherlands? And how the participants at the conference discussed strategies to get DSK freed?Ah, conspiracy theories – what would the world be without them?

    Do you realize how many instances of exactly this sort of blackmail and scandal have been used in politics around the world over the past century?

    It’s not conspiracy theory when they’re publicly acknowledged facts, available in the history books. Dirty politics is one of the oldest tactics in the book, and crying “rape!” is the quickest and easiest way to destroy a politician’s career in the West. When even the public revelation of an affair will result in an inevitable resignation, a rape accusation is an open-and-shut case in the court of public opinion..as bluntly pointed out by Mztress.

    I find it oddly amusing how naive most people are when it comes to corruption, dirty politics, and the sort of blackbag ops that lie underneath the headlines. Watergate, anyone? How about the entire history of Eastern Europe? Alexander Litvinenko? The examples are endless. The exact same dynamic that makes DSK an extremely powerful man simultaneously makes him an extremely vulnerable target. He who has the most enemies is the likeliest to be struck down – just ask Castro, or Stalin.

  171. Anon E. Mouse
    Anon E. Mouse July 2, 2011 at 10:21 pm |

    anon: It’s that whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing. DSK’s credibility doesn’t matter until you have a prima facie case against him, and with the testimony of a serial perjurer as your entire case, you don’t.

    If the accuser’s history of lying is central to her/his credibility, then the accused’s history of lying is central to his/her credibility. Period.

  172. piny
    piny July 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm |

    Oh, what a bunch of bullshit!

    Sorry, maybe it’s just because I’m from California, but this idea you seem to have that sexual violence or coercion is an automatic career killer for prominent men? That they tremble to hear whispers of misogyny and lecherous harassment? That no politician, upon having abused the trust of a helpless woman, can ever hope to show his face in public? There’s probably a German word for that feeling you get when you’re choking on bile and laughter at the same time.

    Sometimes politicians face accusations like these. What politicians do in these cases is explain that the bitch is lying, and then everyone cooperates in discrediting her, and then the politician goes back to his career. And you know this. Because that’s what just happened–and what was happening long before anyone had reason to doubt her. Back when he was lying.

    The reaction in France wasn’t outrage over a fucking perp walk, any more than the domestic reaction to rape accusations betrays a deep and abiding love of due process. It’s because the bitch is lying. That’s our organizing principle, when it comes to rape, and that goes for both countries but especially for famous men: the bitch is lying. The honeytrap is a fallacy not because we are too responsible or honest or because we don’t secretly love salacious accusations, but because we just can’t bring ourselves to actually punish a man like that for violating a woman like that.

  173. Anon
    Anon July 3, 2011 at 2:53 am |

    piny: Oh, what a bunch of bullshit!Sorry, maybe it’s just because I’m from California, but this idea you seem to have that sexual violence or coercion is an automatic career killer for prominent men? That they tremble to hear whispers of misogyny and lecherous harassment? That no politician, upon having abused the trust of a helpless woman, can ever hope to show his face in public? There’s probably a German word for that feeling you get when you’re choking on bile and laughter at the same time. Sometimes politicians face accusations like these. What politicians do in these cases is explain that the bitch is lying, and then everyone cooperates in discrediting her, and then the politician goes back to his career. And you know this. Because that’s what just happened–and what was happening long before anyone had reason to doubt her. Back when he was lying. The reaction in France wasn’t outrage over a fucking perp walk, any more than the domestic reaction to rape accusations betrays a deep and abiding love of due process. It’s because the bitch is lying. That’s our organizing principle, when it comes to rape, and that goes for both countries but especially for famous men: the bitch is lying. The honeytrap is a fallacy not because we are too responsible or honest or because we don’t secretly love salacious accusations, but because we just can’t bring ourselves to actually punish a man like that for violating a woman like that.

    Hello, DSK’s lost his job, lost any hope of running for president, and gone from “highly-respected politician” to “fucking scum that needs to be punished”.

    DSK’s career IS over. Decades of work evapored in the course of a few days. If she comes out tomorrow and says outright “OK, I lied about the rape part because someone paid me to set him up”, can you give him his life back? Can anyone? How do you put a price on that? Many in prison deserve freedom, and many who are free deserve jail. Can you give it to them?

    There’s a certain quote that comes to mind, “You’re innocent until you’re indicted” – true words indeed. Rape is evil, but so is destroying someone’s life’s work for money. This attitude that “Hey, he’s old and white and male, so he’s DEFINITELY guilty” is no better than the old “The slut was asking for it.” Why is it so hard to let both of them go, and move on to something more mature?

  174. DSK-case falling to pieces | Critical Sass

    […] interesting discussion of the way the chambermaid’s credibility has collapsed, check out this post by Feministe’s Jill, called “There Are No Perfect Accusers”. A […]

  175. CarrieMcmasters
    CarrieMcmasters July 3, 2011 at 4:07 am |

    I too agree that women should not have to be “angels in the house” in order to press rape charges without being villified as whores, Jezebels, and plain liars. The problem your argument, as far as I can see — and I’m not a lawyer — is as follows. It’s not fair to compare a woman, or man, with similar deceptions in their background not having to worry if they were pressing charges against a mugger. Why? Because in a case like that, it’s more black and white: a civil lawsuit is not expected so that the victim can recover their loss and gain punitive damages. In the Strauss-Kahn case, a woman with a history of serious deception, whose successful lies have been both finanically and geographcially rewarding, screams rape against a wealthy man — which she knew — when there is no physical evidence of forced sex, she is then heard telling a friend, with whom she’s illegally involved — he deposited ambiguous funds in her account — that she’s fine, the man is rich, and she knows what she’s doing. And that’s all we’ve heard so far, worse may be to come. In a case with these specific details, her background of lies, false allegations of another rape, rehearsal of those allegations, lies on her taxes, about her dependents, about what followed after this last alleged rape, etc., must be factored into her credibility. It’s not merely an issue of a woman being perfect, it’s an issue of a scam artist perpetrating another scam. If, however, there was incontrovertible proof of rape, of course none of her past lies and criminal behavior should matter one iota. But, unfortunately for her, that isn’t the case here. As it is, she’s now claiming to have hurt her shoulder, which is something that’s a recent mention. Her words are progessively losing value each time she or her lawyer opens their mouths. Just because Strauss-Khan is a rich, white man doesn’t mean he has to pay for her difficult life circumstance with his own life. That isn’t real justice, not for him nor for her.

  176. becky
    becky July 3, 2011 at 4:43 am |

    Oh, for fuck’s sake… Anon, don’t kid yourself! First of all, he has been accused of sexual assault before, and no one gave a damn.

    This time, more than half of France’s population thought he was the victim of an evil scheme; within his own party, the number rose to 70 per cent.

    The people interviewed by French television after the news of the potential victim’s lies broke all said they were “happy” and “always knew” he was innocent and would totally vote for him. The Socialist Party in France is in the middle debating whether they’ll extend their “primaries” deadline, particularly so he can run.

    So could you finally stop lying about all the evil consequences we feminazis create for poor innocent men who have been incarcerated for simply following their beautiful primal urges?

    Or are you going to tell me that I’m creating another “whacky strawmen” (as by questioning the premise that if she had in fact been a prostitute – like the very reasonable “source close to the defense investigation” insinuated, not that s/he had any proof herself)? This is fucking ridiculous.

  177. becky
    becky July 3, 2011 at 4:48 am |

    *she wasn’t/could not have been raped* is missing from that sentence.

  178. matlun
    matlun July 3, 2011 at 5:04 am |

    Anon E. Mouse: If the accuser’s history of lying is central to her/his credibility, then the accused’s history of lying is central to his/her credibility. Period.

    Yes, but if there is no credible prosecution witness, no credible evidence, then DSK’s credibility does not matter. With no good evidence against him, he should (and will) walk.

    Note however that it is not quite the current official position, though. The prosecutors office have no dropped the case yet.

  179. piny
    piny July 3, 2011 at 9:12 am |

    Actually, now they’re talking about a comeback! Even though the rape accusation hasn’t been resolved.

    I don’t think he’s guilty because he’s old, white, and male. I think he’s guilty for the following reasons:

    1) He has a history of sexual harassment.
    2) He lied about what happened when he was questioned by police.
    3) His subsequent story was, “The hotel worker had consensual sex with my ugly old male ass.”
    4) She had injuries consistent with violent sexual assault.
    5) She has never recanted her story, even in a supposedly damning private conversation.
    6) Desperate poor asylum-seekers with sketchy histories from countries where rich men buy and sell everyone else via a transparently corrupt and violent law-enforcement culture are not likely to draw fire like this.
    7) Rape itself, and sexual assault of hotel workers, is extremely common. More common than shadowy conspiracies.

    Those are all my reasons. They have nothing to do with his race, age, or sex. They have to do with his story, and how implausible it seems. I think he probably did rape her. It’s not rushing to judgment to evaluate someone’s past behavior, version of events, and interaction with police. To change the subject to other recent revelations, I also think our government probably murdered about a hundred people in extralegal interrogations. Not because it’s old, white, and male, but because it just lied on record and then pulled strings via attorneys to get the case thrown out. Sue me.

  180. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie July 3, 2011 at 10:31 am |

    Go, piny. Truth.

  181. samanthab
    samanthab July 3, 2011 at 10:59 am |

    Anon, is it naive to note that your analysis really isn’t adding up-again!- given that Stalin died still in power and Castro is likely to as well? Mike Tyson was *convicted* of rape and still has a healthy career. How oddly amusing is that?

  182. Ismone
    Ismone July 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm |

    Schwarzennegger was accused of groping scores of women several days before an election, and was still elected.

    Al Gore was accused of sexually assaulting a masseuse.

    Bill Clinton was accused of raping one woman and sexually harassing another.

    So no, not every man accused of sexual assault has their career torpedoed.

    Chloe, I was discussing whether she lied to police about this rape. So far, she didn’t just about what she did next. And she admitted it.

  183. LarryE
    LarryE July 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    I’m counting down the minutes until someone suggests she’s a prostitute who had sex with DSK for money

    Wait no longer. I don’t have the link because I just saw the headline and got disgusted, but I have already seen a piece that suggested she was the “hotel hooker.”

  184. Iris
    Iris July 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

    Anon @94

    Again you fail to make your case.

    Let’s compare those things that are similar shall we?

    Men and women engage in sex – from vanilla sex to bodaciously kinky let’s write Forum about this sex. How one is dressed is not always relevant.

    As partners in this activity, both parties have the moral and, in some cases, legal obligation to do no harm to one another.
    Sexual assaults are crimes. Non-consensual sex is a crime.

    Have you ever considered perhaps men like the ex-IMF guy need to be aware of how their actions impact their sex partners? That perhaps life is not about taking all the casual sex you can get? That perhaps the sex act is not a selfish act but an act in which both partners fully participate?

    “Some people say I’m dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
    From the song Imagine, by John Lennon

  185. Anthea
    Anthea July 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm |

    @Anon (message 175)

    True, DSK was dropped like a hot potato by both IMF and his party when he was charged. Even if the case is dismissed, DSK’s career at IMF is certainly over, but not in French politics if his party feel they can milk the sympathy votes for all its worth in the next elections. But then again, it may not come to pass if the women who accuse of sexual harassment in France bring civil suits against him (and I hope they do). So, the jury is still out. Not quite Californian politics but not quite the end of the world for DSK either.

    @piny

    If DSK is guilty based on point #1, then the same can be said of the accuser based on her past testimony of lying about the gang rape under oath (however understandable it may be under the circumstances). Also, DSK is on trial for the current sexual assault/rape and not for his previous harassments.

    As for point #4, this evidence of physical assault has been stated in the OP here as well, but according to Guardian (UK newspaper), only the accuser’s lawyer is talking about having the evidence including photos. I have not read in the international media about the DA actually possessing it.

    If indeed there is evidence of physical assault plus if it is true that DSK lied to the police initially (#2) (again not mentioned in international media), then why all the hand wringing and talk of the DA even dismissing the case?

    As for point #7 – I mentioned before how this case could have helped the hundreds of hotel workers (chamber maids in particular) who face harassment at their work place (a point driven home by the many who showed up when DSK made his first courtroom appearance). If the case were to be dismissed, I fear their anger will be directed at the accuser, in addition to the DA I imagine.

  186. Iris
    Iris July 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    m Andrea:

    Pardon me, but jesus.Have ya’ll considered that your inability to go for the throat is due to all the bullshit Good Girl conditioning?If doods want to use her character as an excuse which invalidates her “credibility”, then great, take their rule and beat them at their own game with it.

    This.

    Andrea: You rock.

  187. matlun
    matlun July 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm |

    LarryE: Wait no longer. I don’t have the link because I just saw the headline and got disgusted, but I have already seen a piece that suggested she was the “hotel hooker.”

    The allegations have been going around for a while. I think the NY Post was the first source I found. (Really high quality stuff: An unnamed source “close to the defence investigation” is what they use as a single, unconfirmed reference).

    I am so not linking to these articles. If you really have to read it google works.

  188. Anthea
    Anthea July 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm |

    Iris:

    m Andrea:

    Pardon me, but jesus.Have ya’ll considered that your inability to go for the throat is due to all the bullshit Good Girl conditioning?If doods want to use her character as an excuse which invalidates her “credibility”, then great, take their rule and beat them at their own game with it.

    This.

    Andrea:You rock.

    Knock yourself out. Details of DSK’s philandering ways were in the papers once he was arrested and charged. And the general consensus was he was guilty and his career was over, and generally pushed under the bus. And the prosecution thought they had a open-and-shut case.

    Now that the details about the accuser have been leaked, the pendulum has swung the other way. But the problem is it’s not the defence that is discrediting the accuser, but rather the prosecution. In fact, leaks to the American press seem to originate from the prosecution. And based on press reports, it also seems that the prosecution is having second thoughts on perusing the case, even though no formal announcements have been made.

    So, tell me again – how does providing a laundry list of DSK’s lies and past behaviour going to help the accuser as it seems currently it is the “accuser vs the prosecution” that is being played out?

  189. samanthab
    samanthab July 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm |

    Yes, Anthea. The DA’s office wants to cast doubt on the woman here. It’s pretty evident that they have second thoughts on pursuing the case. That’s kind of the starting point of this post more than a rebuttal of it?

  190. Avida Quesada
    Avida Quesada July 3, 2011 at 11:08 pm |

    If Rose is right (I am not dubbing her but her sources since we are a the good will of the press right now) and in the conversation she claims to be rape that for me is a very strong point in her favor. Not enough because she could be lying to her boyfriend just like the woman in the Hofstra case did, but it’s a strong point. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that the prosecutors want to git it a try.

    Agree with Piny, and we are not part of the jury. The process should be evidence based but this guy have a history. That don’t make him guilty. Rape if different from harassment, but so is lying about rape and accusing someone of rape.

    The fact that she went to the room to “clean” and so on don’t mean anything by itself but, will invalidate almost any evidence in the room. Maybe she was in shock and proceed like a robot.

    After going out of shock it’s normal that she did not wanted to say that she went back to the room, and since it’s pretty clear that she is a lier she just lie. That it’s unrelated to the question of rape

    Right now I believe the woman, but I understand the DA concerns.

  191. Avida Quesada
    Avida Quesada July 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm |

    Yonmei: Duke

    I can’t avoid to comment on Yonmei comment on duke. She comes in the line of stereotyped feminist view. They are still guilty even with all the evidence agains that. Including the fact that all of them were tested. Stuff like that is one of the reasons that when a Young woman says I am not a feminist I don’t become angry or con condescended, neither do I send them to feminist 101. I understand that the only thing they are missing is diversity in our beloved movement.

  192. Iris
    Iris July 4, 2011 at 12:31 am |

    Anthea: Knock yourself out.Details of DSK’s philandering ways were in the papers once he was arrested and charged.And the general consensus was he was guilty and his career was over, and generally pushed under the bus.And the prosecution thought they had a open-and-shut case.

    Now that the details about the accuser have been leaked, the pendulum has swung the other way.But the problem is it’s not the defence that is discrediting the accuser, but rather the prosecution.In fact, leaks to the American press seem to originate from the prosecution.And based on press reports, it also seems that the prosecution is having second thoughts on perusing the case, even though no formal announcements have been made.

    So, tell me again – how does providing a laundry list of DSK’s lies and past behaviour going to help the accuser as it seems currently it is the “accuser vs the prosecution” that is being played out?

    It wasn’t the laundry list I was bumping fists about. It was the reminder of the good girl conditioning bullshit.

    My apologies, I was lazy and unclear in my response.

    Sometimes I get excited and forget others can’t read my mind.

    Since you brought it up – sort of – I would say that all of our “shoulds” need to be carefully examined on a regular basis. Are the things we tell ourselves we should be and should do, our own beliefs or those of others? Is the word should necessary? Can we just substitute the word need? m Andrea’s conditioning comment sparked a reminder for me that our thoughts create our world view and how important it is to be aware of that.

    Again, I apologize – certainly not on topic.

    Back to lurking…

  193. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery July 4, 2011 at 1:58 am |

    Many in prison deserve freedom, and many who are free deserve jail.Can you give it to them?

    Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? – Gandalf, LotR

    Wow, man. I always thought the Grey Wizard would be cooler about gender issues, you know?

  194. Michael Price
    Michael Price July 4, 2011 at 3:53 am |

    “Rape accusers seem to be treated with different expectations of perfection than people who report other crimes. ”

    Exactly what crime would you convict someone of on the testimony of someone who recieves $100,000 in cash deposits in their bank account yet works as a cleaner, pays thousands of dollars of phone bills on 5 phones yet claims she only has one and the rest are her boyfriend’s and his pals (who for some reason don’t want a phone in their name), who phones a career criminal in jail about the consequences of the accused arrest and who lied about what they did directly after the offense? This is not a standard of perfection it’s a standard of common sense. While I’m not saying that DSK isn’t a rapist to believe soley on this woman’s testimony that he raped her is delusional. To precede with a case on it is criminal.

  195. Katie
    Katie July 4, 2011 at 6:42 am |

    This entire comment thread is utterly foul.

    If DSK had paid the maid for sex, why wouldn’t he just have said that? He first of all denied ever meeting the maid, then denied ever sleeping with her, then denied that he’d raped her. Surely, although it would have been a political embarrassment, he would have been happier to have been caught soliciting a prostitute than raping a hotel maid.

    It seems stupid that all that is being focused on is that *she * lied about one event that occurred after the alleged rape, rather than the many lies DSK has told throughout that specifically concern the alleged attack itself.

    Also, for those people insisting she lied about a previous rape? Not so. The victim maintains that she was raped, however, on her asylum application she stated she had been gang raped whereas she now says she was raped by one man alone. She never accused anyone of the crime personally- I expect that to her it would have seemed like a victimless lie that may have assured her the safety of asylum- which really says a lot more about the asylum application process in America than it does about this woman.

    Plus the ‘financial benefits’ phone call thing tells us nothing yet. We were not privy to that conversation, we have no idea what was said by whom and until it is either publicised or played in court I do not think that anyone is placed to judge her for something she may or may not have said outside of the context of the entire conversation. And it really irks me that people are making assuptions about the reactions of rape victims. Rape victims react in a myriad of ways, and the rape isn’t any less real because she is not reacting in a way that suits your world view. Poor women may be preoccupied with money, because they are poor. It doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t be victims of rape by very rich and powerful men.

  196. Katie
    Katie July 4, 2011 at 6:46 am |

    Also @Anon – immediately after the news of the case possibly being dropped, certain powerful people in France then postured that he could still run and win a presidential election. The majority of France, before this news was leaked, were sympathetic to DSK, and believed that he had been the victim of a conspiracy.

    In some ways, if this happens, at least it will debunk the myth that rape accusations ruin men’s lives. But I still pray to a god that I don’t even believe in that this will not happen.

  197. it’s almost like she’s human or something « chickwithmonkey

    […] This is the post on the NYT coverage of the DSK case that I wanted to write today but didn’t know how. I’m so glad that people like Jill do. The reason it’s nearly impossible for the prosecution to pursue these charges, even though there’s no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime, is because we live in a culture where rape victims need to be flawless in order to be believed. We live in a culture where it’s damn near impossible for any woman, when her life is held up to the light, to be considered innocent. We live in a culture where we think it’s even reasonable to question a rape victim’s “innocence” in the first place. […]

  198. AndrewV
    AndrewV July 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |

    News Flash! New sex charges. This time in France:

    Ex-IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn To Face New Sex Charges In France
    RTTNews) – French writer Tristane Banon has decided to file a lawsuit against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, for attempting to sexually assault her eight years ago, her lawyer announced Monday.

  199. Yonmei
    Yonmei July 5, 2011 at 3:23 am |

    French writer Tristane Banon has decided to file a lawsuit against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, for attempting to sexually assault her eight years ago, her lawyer announced Monday.

    Good for her!

  200. Blacky
    Blacky July 5, 2011 at 5:18 am |

    Doctress Julia: Must be nice up there on your privilege chair. /s

    Talking about privilege, how big are your chances to ever being (wrongly) accused of rape and having to defend against such claim?

  201. Yonmei
    Yonmei July 5, 2011 at 6:09 am |

    Blacky: how big are your chances to ever being (wrongly) accused of rape and having to defend against such claim?

    How big are any man’s chances of being wrongly accused of rape and having to fight this accusation in court? Of course men who are acquitted of rape in court claim to have been falsely accused, and that men who defend rapists are quite happy to brand the rape vics as guilty of perjury.

  202. alessa
    alessa July 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm |

    I was also convinced of DSK’s innocence after reading the NY times article, but after reading your thoughtful analysis I think I realized why I was convinced so quickly, and why there is information missing.

    The line “discuss the possible benefits of pursuing legal action” with the man in prison seems to subconsciously suggest that she was pondering the monetary benefits – when in reality there has been no specification whatsoever of what the actual “benefits” are.

    She could have been talking about the emotional cost versus the knowledge that he is roaming free. It could have been about anything.

    Before the NY times uses their considerable power to tip the public perception of a defendant, they should put forth the whole story.

    I want to hear that tape. DSK and the defendant deserve to have it be publicly released.

  203. L
    L July 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm |

    Blacky: Talking about privilege, how big are your chances to ever being (wrongly) accused of rape and having to defend against such claim?

    How big are your chances of actually being raped or sexually assaulted in your lifetime and having every detail of your life released for everyone to criticize, before being called a lying whore who totally wanted it? If you’re soooo concerned about being falsely accused of rape why don’t you start putting some effort in to encourage other men to cut it out?

  204. Ismone
    Ismone July 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    Blacky,

    If you read crime statistics (start with the NCVS) and conviction statistics, you will quickly find that a man is much more likely to be a victim of sexual assault himself than to ever be convicted of sexual assault. Or even arrested for it. And those are rightful arrests.

    Think about that.

    -Izzy

  205. DSK’s initial case falling apart as new charges arise from another woman.

    […] It looks like Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s rape case is being thrown out for a perceived lack of “credibility” on behalf of the potential victim. We already knew this was coming, but a rather unfortunate precedent set for women coming out against sexual assault when they are not the Most Perfect Victim possible. […]

  206. Rose
    Rose July 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm |

    There is evidence she’s a shady character. There evidence her motives for accusing DSK were less than sterling.
    She wasn’t honest in her narrative about the hours after the alleged incident.
    None of which is proof she wasn’t raped. Nor is it proof she was -Jill isn’t saying that.
    What Jill’s post argues is that this situation is a high-profile example of an upsetting trend. If an accused rapist pleads not guilty, one person in the case is lying. If the accuser has a less-then-perfect past (much less a criminal one), the assumption will always be that she is the liar. That means a man, especially a powerful one like DSK, has a high likelihood of getting away with rape if he targets a woman who won’t seem like the poster victim to a jury.
    Leaving aside the fact that DSK’s past is reportedly also spotty in relevant areas, I’m uncomfortable with the idea that skeletons in the closet are such an insuperable barrier to a rape case seeing the inside of a courtroom. I think we can all agree this particular case deserves a fair trial, skeletons of either party notwithstanding.

  207. Sheila Tone
    Sheila Tone July 6, 2011 at 1:16 am |

    I can’t be the only feminist who has witnessed other women lying about sexual abuse. It’s not uncommon. There are a lot of dishonest, manipulative women in existence, and they often cause problems for other women. Does it really benefit feminism when we downplay the dishonesty of these women? Does feminism have to silence us from criticizing the more disgusting members of our gender?

    Casey Anthony lied about being molested, and got away with killing her kid because of it. It’s the only way to explain the jury’s verdict — they ignored her lies because they believed her unsubstantiated claim. I’ve known lots of women like Casey Anthony, albeit not killers. They’re hell to deal with, more so because they use the grenade of sexual abuse whenever they’re called out on their poor characters.

  208. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 6, 2011 at 8:04 am |

    Actually, there is plenty of evidence that shows the woman in this case is not lying about what happened to her. And it’s not as if the media’s been all that scrupulous about telling the truth about her–they’re spreading rumors that she was a prostitute, despite the cops and the prosecution saying they found no evidence of it in their investigation (and keep in mind, all of this brouhaha that’s out now is a result of their investigation).

    And Rose, I know MEN who have lied and manipulated people. However, we only know that she lied regarding her asylum application and her tax info, and that she had several cell phones and “shady” friends. However, I don’t think someone who’s engaged in shady activities is disgusting. If that were the case, every fucking IMF staffer would be disgusting.

    You know what hurts other women? The idea that a man who lies, rapes, kills, cheats, or acts in awful ways is just one individual but a woman who does so reflects on all women. The idea that a man’s past actions should not be used to judge him but a woman’s past actions can be used to judge her.

    An immigrant housekeeper with inconsistent stories around her asylum application and shady friend isn’t hurting all women. But the narrative that she is therefore unrapeable and sullies Good Womanhood everywhere is.

  209. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 6, 2011 at 8:05 am |

    Sheila Tone, I meant. Not Rose.

  210. Brian
    Brian July 6, 2011 at 8:41 am |

    Talking about privilege, how big are your chances to ever being (wrongly) accused of rape and having to defend against such claim?

    This number is somewhere between one in a thousand and one in ten thousand.

    you will quickly find that a man is much more likely to be a victim of sexual assault himself than to ever be convicted of sexual assault.

    This number is something like one in ten.

  211. Brett K
    Brett K July 6, 2011 at 9:00 am |

    alessa:
    Before the NY times uses their considerable power to tip the public perception of a defendant, they should put forth the whole story.

    I want to hear that tape. DSK and the defendant deserve to have it be publicly released.

    Alessa, are you by any chance referring to the accuser as the defendant? I’m asking because I’ve often found myself thinking of her in those terms as well. It’s bizarre, but it also says a lot about rape culture that the alleged victim is on trial so much that we’ve started thinking of her, and not her alleged rapist, as the defendant.

  212. Brett K
    Brett K July 6, 2011 at 9:01 am |

    Also, is there any way to fix the bold text on this page? It’s really disconcerting.

  213. Your Midweek Random-Ass Roundup: Casey, Corey and Justice. « PostBourgie

    […] Jill at Feministe weighs in on the collapse of Dominque Strauss-Kahn’s sexual assault case, saying there are no perfect […]

  214. Sheila Tone
    Sheila Tone July 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm |

    “You know what hurts other women? The idea that a man who lies, rapes, kills, cheats, or acts in awful ways is just one individual but a woman who does so reflects on all women. The idea that a man’s past actions should not be used to judge him but a woman’s past actions can be used to judge her.

    An immigrant housekeeper with inconsistent stories around her asylum application and shady friend isn’t hurting all women. But the narrative that she is therefore unrapeable and sullies Good Womanhood everywhere is.”

    Your comment’s assumptions actually underscore my point. Let me explain further: It’s perfectly OK to slag on DSK all we want (and he’s slag-gable, I wasn’t disputing that), but when any woman, even one I’m predisposed to disapprove of (I’ve got nothing against prostitutes, but I hate scammers), claims a sexual violation, as feminists we’re supposed to embrace her unconditionally. I disagree that women are put up to a microscope in sex cases (unless it’s about a famous accused, in which case everyone’s details get dug). Check out this story that ran in the LA Times last week about Tracy West, a housewife who faked a rape to win a custody dispute. The guy had to basically prove himself innocent; she was treated with kid gloves by the system, and never charged with any crime. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-accused-20110626,0,7042051.story

    I’m not upset in defense of men or “Good Womanhood.” I’m upset for the perfectly valid, selfish reason of being sick of having women of whom I strongly disapprove as a *feminist* (scammers, welfare mothers, irresponsible/scheming breeders like Tracey West) being able to run into a bulletproof room from criticism anytime they claim sexual abuse. Suddenly, we need to treat them reverently. Even typical criminal defense cross-examinations are considered abusive and cruel.

    Again, I can’t be the only feminist out there who’s experienced this irritation in her own personal life. Women compete with other women, it’s natural. We’re not all allies. The undeserved automatic shield of survivor status conferred simply upon a woman’s say-so gives many of the most dishonest, unworthy women a grenade they can use for personal gain or lob into any difficult situation. And it discredits real victims.

  215. samanthab
    samanthab July 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

    Sheila, it’s great that you have empathy for a dude who’s been terrorized by his ex- in Simi Valley. Why does that empathy go out the window for a woman being terrorized in a devastated South American country? I’m also not clear on why Tracy West is anymore of a “breeder” than her husband. Or, for that matter, how anyone can self-identify as a feminist while referring to women as a “breeder(s!)”

  216. Sheila Tone
    Sheila Tone July 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    @Samanthab:

    “Or, for that matter, how anyone can self-identify as a feminist while referring to women as a “breeder(s!)””

    Why not? And I used the term “irresponsible/scheming breeders,” please do me the courtesy to quote me correctly.

    By way of background, West became pregnant by “accident,” then decided to keep and raise the child even though the relationship was over (she called him from the doctor’s office!). I think this is irresponsible and scheming, and behavior all too typical of the type of woman I’m talking about. Women who manipulate pregnancy for personal gain are the same type who use claims of sexual assault for personal gain.

    As a feminist, I disapprove of women who manipulate pregnancy for personal gain, especially when it’s not planned and agreed to by a partner, or especially when they know it will mean raising the child on public assistance.

    I know that, unfortunately, this pits me against many other feminists who were usually raised in much more privileged environments than I was. Therefore, they don’t have bad feelings about women like this, because they haven’t had to live around them and their children. So they feel sorry for them at a luxurious distance.

    But again, I’m not the only one. There are a lot of working, feminist, educated women like myself who share the same justified dislikes and resentments against this certain type of woman that feminism has this schizophrenic desire to protect, much to our disadvantage.

  217. Sheila Tone
    Sheila Tone July 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    “Sheila, it’s great that you have empathy for a dude who’s been terrorized by his ex- in Simi Valley. Why does that empathy go out the window for a woman being terrorized in a devastated South American country?”

    Your derision is clear and unwarranted. Simi Valley or not, he was in jail for three months and was facing life. It’s not about empathy — it’s about what the story tells us about the delicate, supportive way the legal system treats women claiming rape. This delicate treatment extends to social and personal situations, and clearly even to blogs.

    I can have “empathy” for a woman who has faced bad situations, but that doesn’t excuse her lying and scamming. We’re all a product of our environments. She may have learned to lie and scheme as a mode of survival. Nonetheless, she’s a liar and schemer. Her claims of victimhood shouldn’t put her in a bulletproof room.

  218. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    I disagree that women are put up to a microscope in sex cases (unless it’s about a famous accused, in which case everyone’s details get dug).

    You may want to rethink that. The girl in the OC pack rape case–where the attack on the unconscious victim was videotaped, and where it was so brutal that when the attackers showed the video to their friends, someone called the cops later because she thought they had done these things to a dead girl–was vilified, harassed, slandered and slut-shamed no end. She was arrested for drug possession after the rape, therefore she was not raped! She was a “slut,” therefore she was not raped. She wanted to be a “porn star” (a lie spread by the defense). And there was a similar case in Chicago where the same crap ensued.

    The mentally challenged girl in the Glen Ridge, NJ gang rape case had her medical and psychiatric records rifled through by the defense, who kept throwing up things she said in therapy during cross examination to prove that a teenager with the mental capacity of an 8-year-old was a “slut” and a “pig” (his words) and therefore wanted to be raped with a baseball bat and a pool cue.

    Not to mention, oh, Big Dan’s–the case The Accused resembles–her life was put under a microscope. She was harassed, slandered, and she and her family were driven out of town with the death threats she received. The defense went into full slut shaming (and drive by parenting) mode. None of those defendants were wealthy or famous.

    You can disagree all you want that women aren’t put under the microscope, but you’re ignoring reality.

    I’m not saying that by bringing a rape accusation, a woman must be treated with reverence and that no woman ever lies. That’s your logic fail. I’m saying that the charges should be taken seriously, and that it is possible for everyone–even people you don’t approve of–to be victims of a crime.

    You are underscoring the point I was making. Despite the corroborating evidence of her assault outlined in the linked story, you decided that because she’s a “welfare mother” (BTW–being on welfare doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t make you unrapeable), a “scammer” and a “liar” that she is not to be believed about something that has enough corroborating evidence to take seriously. I don’t think she’s a saint. I also don’t think she’s disgusting.

    And really–it’s not other women who lie who make things harder for us. It’s people like you who decide that we all must be judged for the actions of a rare few (while holding men who do the same as individuals who should not sully the reputation of men in general). There are plenty of insurance scams out there, yet I don’t hear the same chorus of outrage over how the people who lie about that make it harder for real claimants to get compensation. There are plenty of people who falsely report burglaries, theft, home invasions, and assaults, but I don’t hear the same chorus of outrage about how they make it harder for “real” victims.

    I have, however, seen cases , where a woman was disbelieved and arrested for filing a false report for a rape that actually happened.

    And it wasn’t the women who falsely report rape who caused that. It was people who think that women just lie, period, or that women who aren’t 100% pristine are not to be believed.

  219. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm |

    I know that, unfortunately, this pits me against many other feminists who were usually raised in much more privileged environments than I was.

    Nice, twisted rhetoric, but it ain’t working. A lot of the women here are poor and of backgrounds that would apparently make you discount them if they came forward after being raped. Sorry that the children of the women in my neighborhood give you such cooties, but kindly refrain from lashing yourself to the martyr’s stake pretending to be less privileged than an immigrant African housekeeper.

  220. L
    L July 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm |

    Sheila Tone: Again, I can’t be the only feminist out there who’s experienced this irritation in her own personal life. Women compete with other women, it’s natural. We’re not all allies.

    You keep calling yourself a feminist…I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  221. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

    Sheila, I have a long comment in response to you. You need to get the facts straight before you go on and on about how women are automatically believed.

  222. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm |

    Sheila, I have a long comment in response (stuck in moderation) to you. You need to get the facts straight before you go on and on about how women are automatically believed.

  223. Mike
    Mike July 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

    Sheelzebub,

    I’m genuinely curious what you think a good balance would be.

    On the one hand, you are arguing that women should not be disbelieved simply because they have a less than perfect past. That is unquestionably a noble goal.

    But on the other, and looking at the case at hand, DSK was arrested, initially denied bail, forced to pay out-of-pocket for his own security detail, and labeled guilty without a trial throughout the media. He continues to be the subject of ad-hominem attacks (The LA Times printed an op-ed that claimed his version of events could not be correct because he is old and flabby! Can you imagine the outrage if a rape victim was told her claims didn’t hold up because she was too unatractive to rape?).

    Surely this must be an example of rape accusations being taken seriously? When a man is fined and forced into house arrest without ever being convicted of anything, doesn’t that connote a system that takes rape accusation seriously?

  224. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    But on the other, and looking at the case at hand, DSK was arrested, initially denied bail, forced to pay out-of-pocket for his own security detail, and labeled guilty without a trial throughout the media.

    He was denied bail because he was seen as a flight risk. He was under house arrest–he wasn’t in Rikers. He had a security detail to pay for–most defendants don’t have the money to pay for a security detail. Some people thought he was guilty, others thought she was part of a honey trap conspiracy, she was a golddigger, or that she was a prostitute who didn’t get paid.

    The LA Times printed an op-ed that claimed his version of events could not be correct because he is old and flabby!

    I have seen defenses–from pundits like Ben Stein and everyday folks like a lot of the men I know in real life–who claim that his advanced age means he could not have possibly raped her because she would have fought him off successfully.

    When people assume that a woman with a less-than-perfect past is automatically lying about rape charges that have corroboration instead of waiting for all of the facts about the case to come in, then I’d say no, we as a society don’t take rape particularly seriously. When we only get upset about false rape charges and the damage those do to “real” rape victims and not about other false charges of other crimes and the supposed damage they do to “real” crime victims, then no, I don’t think we take rape particularly seriously as a society.

    Here’s what I am curious about–why is it that it’s a reflection on women if one woman (supposedly) makes a false rape accusation, but it’s not a reflection on crime victims if there are just as many false reports in other crimes? That we should not investigate or prosecute credible charges unless the victim has a spotless record and past? While it’s certainly ideal that everyone be without sin, I can guarantee you that no one is.

  225. EG
    EG July 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm |

    And why do you disapprove of mothers who need public assistance? What great sin are they committing?

  226. This Week in the World of Conflict… June 27th- July 3rd, 2011. « a peace of conflict

    […] issued); and two– even if a person has engaged in prostitution or has lied in the past, they can still be raped or abused and the typical characterizations and credibility attacks made in rape cases is something […]

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.