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feminism_lives

Strauss-Kahn and Assange: sexual assault cases

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Jul. 1st, 2011 | 10:52 am
posted by: secretrebel in feminism_lives

The Guardian and New York Times have reported the case against Strauss-Kahn may collapse. Although "the sexual nature of the encounter between the French politician and the maid has never been questioned by either side" apparently incidents in her past such as involvement with a possible drug dealer may damage her credibility.

This story makes me angry because of the incredible classism I see in the media and expect to see in the law courts relating to this case. In real life someone I consider a friend said in all seriousness that she couldn't believe Strauss-Kahn was guilty "because people in high level positions like that don't do things like this". That's the opposite to my own instinctual feeling that rich and powerful men think of women in service industries as their property. I don't care if the woman was a drug-dealer, a prostitute or an organised crime boss - it shouldn't bear on this case. But once even a smidgen of disrepute gets attached to a woman she is hampered in rape trials. Remember the Ipswich murders? I recall the media reporting as being "many prostitutes have been murdered and one woman has been attacked". Certainly that was the tenor of the coverage.

In related news, Assange's extradition appeal case begins on 12 July. I am annoyed about this case as well because when the allegations came out various people were saying "how convenient" and "but it can't be true because the prosecutor threw the case out". There are details on wikipedia which explain more about the allegations. Michael Moore, champion of the "little guy" threw his hat into the ring to publicly state he disbelieved the allegations and that they were politically motivated. (More on Moore at Tiger Beatdown and earlier links about Assange here on feminism lives.)

What justice can women expect to receive from a culture that assumes that rich successful famous white men don't rape?

And to the anonymous commenter from last time, I say again that this isn't about "innocence until proven guilty" for these defendants. It's about media pre-judging of the honesty of the victims. I don't know if these men are rapists but I think it's plausible and the excuses being made for these men stink of rape-apologism.

I did have another paragraph on Roman Polanski and the excuses made for him but they make me too sick. If you have a stronger stomach than I do, Kate Harding's post from 2010 says it all.

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Comments {6}

a_llusive

Thanks for this

from: a_llusive
date: Jul. 1st, 2011 09:56 am (UTC)
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Strongly seconding your assessment on all fronts.

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glittertigger

Re: Thanks for this

from: glittertigger
date: Jul. 1st, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
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Likewise.

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a_llusive

Having tested the strength of my stomach

from: a_llusive
date: Jul. 1st, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)
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Seconding Kate's excellent article too.

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anthrokeight

(no subject)

from: anthrokeight
date: Jul. 1st, 2011 11:27 am (UTC)
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When I am an immigrant woman, I always think to myself "yanno, the best way to quietly avoid having any shading dealings with shady people revealed is to DRAW ATTENTION TO MYSELF BY REPORTING AN ATTEMPTED RAPE CASE! YEAH!"

Rich white men don't rape and black immigrant women are all scheming liars. yeah. There is nothing to question in that narrative AT ALL.

*GRUMBLE*

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anthrokeight

(no subject)

from: anthrokeight
date: Jul. 1st, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
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By which I mean to say, really. So many ways that the victim's status might be read as making the charges plausible. Such as how vulnerable her status is relative to his, and yet here she is bringing charges.

Yea verily, somehow it always gets read as "she must be a scheming liar because she is [female]."

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Jamie Hankins

(no subject)

from: wight1984
date: Jul. 1st, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
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"because people in high level positions like that don't do things like this".

Wow, that's a pretty special level of naive.

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