DSK, Lies, and the Myth of the Perfect Victim DSK Rape Case and Perfect Victims

I'm wondering why so few people are asking the most important question of all: How does any of this prove that DSK didn't rape her?

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case has taken a turn for the complex. Actually, media-frenzied sexual assault allegations are always pretty thorny. Perhaps it's more accurate to say the case has taken a turn for the even-more-complex.

News broke today that the Sofitel Hotel maid, who claimed that DSK dragged her into his hotel suite, locked her in the bathroom, and orally raped her on the afternoon of May 14, has been lying to prosecutors about a number of issues. This pattern of lying has seriously threatened the prosecution's chances of presenting a compelling case, because the maid's credibility will be weighed heavily during legal proceedings. DSK claims their encounter was consensual.

The newly revealed inconsistencies in her testimony raise more questions than answers. Did she launder money? Did she lie about a previous gang rape in order to gain asylum? What did she actually say about the case to her incarcerated friend on the day of the assault?

I'm wondering why so few people are asking the most important question of all: How does any of this prove that DSK didn't rape her?

I know this may come as a shock to some, but the U.S. justice system isn't perfect. If it were, black men wouldn't be eight times more likely than white men to be sent to prison, and rape wouldn't be so disproportionately under-prosecuted and even less frequently convicted. Since some commentators are inclined to go all Occam's Razor on this case, why are we so unwilling to consider the possibility that an imperfect, possibly criminally-involved woman, whose status in the U.S. is precarious at best, was raped on the job by a very powerful man?

It's not that hard to hold both of these ideas at once. On the one hand, we've got an international left-wing rock star with a history of harassing and abusing women, who, when first questioned about the incident in the hotel, claimed it never happened. Only when the incontrovertible evidence of his very personal DNA showed up on her clothes did he change his story to claim that something did, in fact, happen, and she consented. This is a guy whose wife has made public statements about how awesome it is to have a hubby who is a powerful seducer of the ladies. So why would he lie to cover a consensual dalliance?

On the other hand, we've got a poor, immigrant woman of color, in the United States on an asylum visa. She's been linked to drug deals. She's got too many cell phones. She receives mysterious financial deposits from felons. You can bet she's attached to her legit hotel job and doesn't want to get tangled up with the authorities. She's also likely smart enough to know that a whole host of personal details make her the less credible witness in a he said/she said case against one of the most powerful white dudes on the planet. All of that adds up to serious motivation to keep those details hidden from the prosecutors she's relying on for justice.

Still, she ran to coworkers and the police in an agitated state to get help on the day in question. Has she done some sketchy things? That seems pretty likely. Are people who do sketchy things still raped sometimes? Yes. They're just a lot less likely to see their attackers brought to justice.

Given the realities of the U.S. criminal justice system, the prosecution may be unable to salvage this case. But just because that system fails victims on the regular doesn't mean we have to, too. French commentators are already calling for DSK to jump back into the country's presidential race and ride a wave of sympathy into office. Really, the stakes are greater than even that political prize. If we accept the narrative that only perfect women are raped, we risk sacrificing justice not only for this woman, but for victims of sexual assault everywhere. After all, nobody's perfect.

Photo via flickr, World Trade Organization, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less