Dr. Dawg

DSK, chapter 2

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The most recent news about Dominique Strauss-Kahn has come as a bit of a bombshell.

The case against him for raping a chambermaid appears to be on the brink of collapse. It would appear, to use the archaic language of older versions of our own Criminal Code, that she is not of previously chaste character, if “chaste” is employed in its fullest sense, i.e., “morally pure in thought or conduct; decent and modest.”

[T]he 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. The conversation was recorded.

That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman 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.

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.

Pay close attention to the foregoing.

We tend to like our victims immaculate, unspoiled, saintly. It makes it so much easier for us to choose sides. Everyone supported Martin Luther King and his civil rights activists back in the day: their non-violent tactics set against the ferocious violence of white racists played well among liberals. But the latter were appalled by the Black Panthers, who took up arms under the Second Amendment, and wouldn’t take crap from anyone. Somehow they weren’t victimish enough.

Clearly the chambermaid is not a saintly victim, but a human being who was likely into a lot of bad stuff. So one can feel the blood draining away from this case, both in the popular press and in the courts. She allegedly lied about criminal involvement in the drug trade. She thought she might be able to make a little money by pursuing her case.

Ergo, she couldn’t have been raped.

Dress it up any way you want, but “previous chaste character” is at the centre of this case right now.

OK, if “credibility” is to be the deciding factor here, then it’s fair to raise DSK’s as well, isn’t it?

Fresh allegations of sexual misconduct emerge against Strauss-Kahn. A former IMF official claimed he pressured a married Asian administrative worker into having sex with him, two other employees of the Sofitel hotel told investigators he made advances towards them and a former IMF official challenged the result of an internal IMF investigation which cleared Strauss-Kahn of sexual harassment and abuse of office over his affair with a married Hungarian economist.

Well, no—that’s not how it works. DSK’s past won’t come up in court. He doesn’t have to account for his anything-but-chaste character. But the woman’s character is right up there in the foreground: indeed, her case will be decided on it.

Sex therapist Susan Block has already made up her mind. Not I. But by all means, let’s wait and see, even if what we eventually do observe is simply another ages-old playing out of the dismal drama of double victimization.

UPDATE: The chambermaid’s story in front of the grand jury has also told against her. She may well have thought that her behaviour—resuming her routine after the alleged assault—might make her story less believable. We know that some rape victims take showers. Others wait for hours, even days, before going to the police. But this woman will be cut no slack whatsoever.

UPPERDATE: What Judith Thurman said.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on July 1, 2011 1:30 PM.

The value of a life: time to juxtapose was the previous entry in this blog.

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