Friday, July 01, 2011

The People v. DSK

It just started getting interesting! Who knew!

The narrative of a sex-addicted, entitled, powerful white male vs. a hard-working innocent African widow is interesting enough. But the narrative of a sex-addicted, entitled, powerful white male vs. a seemingly hard-working and perhaps not so innocent African widow that seemed to ask advice about profiting from her accusation is far more interesting. It messes with our heads big time.
This is not only a case in which we allowed ourselves to be swayed by our romantic notions of pure evil vs. pure good, strong vs. weak, white vs. black, powerful vs. powerless, man vs. woman, etc. By now we should all know that human nature is a magnificent cornucopia of complexity and base motives and we should not fall so easily for such tidy narratives. Which is to say, in so many words, "my bad".
I feel a little bad about coming down so hard on DSK, but not too much. The copiously documented fact remains that he is a serial harasser of women (not a confirmed rapist yet). Now his accuser needs to prove that he tried to rape her. The fact that she lied about her asylum application, consorts with drug dealers, and has been lying to prosecutors certainly weakens her case but does not necessarily mean that he is automatically absolved from the accusation. I assume that is why he has been released from house arrest but they have not given him his passport back.
The New York Times says that "forensic tests found unambiguous evidence of a sexual encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn and the woman" so the question is whether she was attacked or it was consensual. I find it hard to believe that it was consensual. This woman may be a pest, and not the angelical Pollyanna she was portrayed as by the media, her lawyer and the D.A's office. The fact that she may be a liar and perhaps even a criminal does not erase an attempted rape if indeed there was one. But how are we ever going to know? She has no credibility now. Unless the forensic evidence is incontrovertible (signs of struggle, etc), he may always claim it was consensual.
There are so many questions:
Why did the D.A.'s office write to the defense with their findings of this woman's credibility issues? To beat them to the curb? Is this normal procedure?
Is it legal for them to record a conversation between her and her incarcerated friend (who happens to be a drug dealer who apparently uses her to launder money?). Can this evidence be used in court? 
If they were too eager to accuse DSK, are they now not too eager to let him off?
Was there attempted rape or not? This is the question.
Everything I've read seems to point out to the fact that the woman did not know who DSK was when she accused him. Let's suppose she was attacked and then continued cleaning* and then decided to seek advice from her friend in jail and only then did she come out with the allegations. This still does not mean that there was not an attack on her, just that she was figuring out if it was profitable to her or not. This is horrible, but such is human nature.
And who knows? After his ordeal, he may be rewarded with the Presidency of France, if he decides to seek office. And she may be deported for lying on her asylum application and other documents. Tides turn, or what?

*On 9/11, after witnessing the two planes hit the towers, I went to my office and told my colleague at the time that we should get back to work. He looked at me as if I was insane. I didn't even know what I was saying, but it was like an instinct to will everything to return to normalcy. So I could believe that this may have been the case with her, or most likely she had things to weigh in her mind before crying out immediately with an accusation. Will they believe me? Should I say anything? This happens all the time... To me this is not evidence of cold calculation. The phone call to the friend may be.


  1. Great piece. What also amazes me is that despite the so called soul searching inspired by the DSK case there is now almost universal talk of the possibility of a return to politics in the French media.

    So in other words its OK to be a philandering sexual predator as long as you don't provably rape someone.

  2. I think I remember reading in an article about domestic violence that there are big signs by all telephones in NY prisons that say something like "All calls WILL be recorded" but that doesn't stop guys awaiting trial to get on the phone and try to sweet talk (or worse) their women out of testifying against them, all of it - oops - caught on tape, and used to bust them.