Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Week: DSK

The Week is the compendium of news that Mama gets once a week (hence the name) and I have decided to make my own commentary.

First, clapping is now illegal in Belarus. Lukashenko, illegitimately elected dictator of Belarus has instituted this Orwellian crackdown after realizing that protesters have resorted to clapping, smiling, and cheering as their last available form of free speech. You can't make this up.

Second DSK. Here we go with another complex problem boiled down to inaccuracies and character sniping by the media. Good for us, at least “there's and odd kind of egalitarianism in the American media: everyone gets smeared equally.” But more to the point. I'd like to go over some facts pertaining to this case. Rape is one of the most underreported, under-convicted, and most importantly has the least false accusations of crimes in America; the world as well. Let me be clear. Only a very small percentage of rapes are reported. An even smaller portion are convicted. And an even smaller percentage—smaller than all other crimes—are deemed to be false accusations.

In light of recent 'character flaws' in the accuser, Dominic Strauss Kahn has been released on minimal bail by the judge overseeing the case. The accuser's falsification of certain information on her immigration documents and some shady connections she has have called the veracity of her accusation into question. Sounds pretty bad, maybe this 'hotel maid' is just another predatory proletariat woman trying to squeeze some settlement cash out of the victimized rich white male in power. I can assure you that all is not as it seems.

But what do we know about DSK? Well, he used to be head of the IMF until this scandal broke out. And the second the evidence for this case seemed shaky, another woman stepped forward alleging an unsuccessful sexual assault in 2003. So he is a powerful man who has twice now been accused of some form of womanizing and sexual abuse.

What do we know about the maid? She is in this country after seeking asylum. She allegedly lied on her application saying that she had been gang-raped. I'd like to make a brief side-note and mention the difficulty in gaining asylum in an industrialized nation—there are a battery of tests and high bars set to get into and stay in the US for asylum. That being the case, there is no doubt in my mind that many cases have some amount of falsified evidence. While that is a grave violation it has nothing to do with the case at hand. Next are her alleged connections to bad people. She is recorded in a phone conversation with a convicted inmate—a drug runner with a bad history—talking about how moving forward with the DSK case would be good because he has lots of money. That's pretty damning. But some evidence is pretty incontrovertible despite poor character portrayals. There is no doubt that there was a sexual encounter as evidenced by semen on her maid's uniform and vaginal bruising.

So Mr. DSK who walked out of the courtroom happily hand-in-hand with your wife grinning widely, what do you have to say about your unfaithfulness and aggressive sexual encounter? Was it a purely consensual romp involving painful vaginal bruising and a bit of French affair? Maybe. How about the fact that the woman who is accusing you of attempted sexual assault in 2003 has told investigators and the media that she did not come forward because of your political clout—specifically your relationship with the woman's mother who was a top official in the party? Mr. DSK even if you are 'not guilty' you have many very hard questions to answer.

If anything, there are many questions we have to answer still as well. Why do we treat the accuser with so much contempt? Why do we use the media spectacle to prematurely condemn whoever is in our sights? Why don't we make gaining asylum an easier process? What constitutes enough evidence to turn a sexual encounter into a rape? Why are we so squeamish about finding the answers?

So Mr. DSK, who is on trial here? Is it your history of illicit affairs and aggressive misogynistic behavior toward women or is it the political refugee woman of a lower class who defied probability and came forward with enough of a case to actually convict you?