Over the past month and a half Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) has been all over the media after a hotel maid came forward and said that DSK sexually assaulted her. I’m not here to determine whether he is guilty or not but rather present an alternative perspective other than what is presented in the media.
I have harped on this before and I will do it again, false reporting of sexual assault is no different than any other crime (theft, break and enter etc…). If it were the case then why do we almost never hear huge news reports publicly humiliating and shaming the person that falsely reports a theft?
In the case of DSK the credibility and reputation of the survivor has been publicly defamed. There have been reports suggesting she lied about being gang raped in Guinea. Who could ever verify that this never happened? Even if a case goes to trial and the accused is found not guilty it does not mean that the sexual assault never took place. It simply means there wasn’t enough evidence for the courts.
It’s amazing how the credibility of the survivor can be called into question so quickly resulting in the threat of having the case dropped but the credibility of the accused rarely does. Especially someone who has as much power as DSK. Society is so quick to accuse the survivor of lying. I have to admit, when I was in elementary school I would sometimes forge my mom’s signature on my exams. If I were to be sexually assaulted it doesn’t mean I’m not a credible person. However, anything that is the slightest bit incriminating that I have done in the past will be used to slander my reputation especially, if it was a person in power such as in the case of DSK.
After seeing the maid get smeared by the press why would anyone want to put themselves in that position not to mention someone who wasn’t even assaulted! By the reaction of society we are silencing all those affected by demonstrating what would happen to them if they dare report. As a society we might as well be saying “I want sexual violence in my community.” Time and time again we have seen it from Kobe Bryant to Ben Roethlisberger and now DSK the former head of the IMF.