30 May 2011

The American Way

The American way, at least when it comes to sexual assault, is making a deep impression on the French (tomorrow pigs will fly).

First, a recap.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, known as DSK, was lounging around his $3000 a night hotel room in New York when he was surprised in the all together by the maid. Then something happens. Sometime later the maid is found cringing in a hallway by her supervisor. She is visibly distraught and vomiting. The hotel staff then does the right thing: they calm her down, listen to her story, and most important of all, believe it. She claims DSK chased her down and forced her to have oral sex until she pushed him back on a chair and fled. The hotel management then does the right thing: they call the police and tell them where DSK is, on a plane ready to depart for France, which has no extradition treaty with the US.

Journalistic mayhem ensues, the world economy trembles, the Socialist Party of France winces, and friends of DSK in France make some truly unfortunate statements defending him. For them, "no one died" and it was simply a mere case of "lifting the maid's skirt" and he is a very important man of great charm (and wealth and power). No big deal. At least for French males.

As for the women, once they began to figured out what was really going on, they began to react. And it was not pretty. Some French women even went so far as to comment favorably on the American sense of justice! Here's one from the Guardian:
Stepping into the fray came the formidable Gisèle Halimi, a women's rights activist and lawyer, who, at the age of 84, declared in an interview she was "convinced" that "if this [DSK] business had occurred in France, we would have known nothing about it". The US legal system, she said, reaffirms women's dignity and the protection of the weakest. "It has to be said, it's a victory for American feminists who, for years, have worked to show that sexual harassment and rape were serious crimes."

The whole article is worth a read. And even Time Magazine published a decent article by Judith Warner on the same reaction which you ought to read:
"Finally, women found out that nothing had changed," Blache says. "Appearances have changed, but life, work, men not helping out more in the household — none of this actually had. We felt we had made gains and those gains were gone or going. Things were starting to boil over."
Then, just to show that it is not only the Socialist poobah who has a problem with women, one of Sarkozy's ministers was accused of rape by two women who had kept it a secret for years. Why come forward now?

The women told the newspaper Le Parisien last week that Tron assaulted them behind locked doors at the town hall.

One said she was too ashamed to tell anyone at first, but that she spoke out after the charges were brought in New York against Strauss-Kahn.

"When I saw that a chambermaid was capable of taking on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I told myself I didn't have the right to keep quiet," said the woman, who was not identified by name.

It seems the French have caught an American disease. Good for them.

makes me proud to be an American.




At 31 May, 2011 22:04, Anonymous Maire said...

Well, they gave us Lady Liberty, so it only seems fair we teach their ladies how to be liberated.

At 01 June, 2011 11:34, Blogger Clemens said...

Yep. How do you say "You go girl!" in French?

At 04 June, 2011 00:44, Anonymous Jack Perry said...

How do you say "You go girl!" in French?

voulez vous coucher avec moi? cest soir?

(In the words of some of our most, uhm, "liberated" celebrities. I can provide a reference if you like.)

At 04 June, 2011 22:39, Blogger Clemens said...

No reference needed. But I think Jack has hit on the problem.

And Maire left out Lafayette, Bridget Bardot, and Remy Martin.


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