On the Strauss-Khan case, like most people I’ve been gob-smacked by the reactions from the likes of Bernard-Henri Levy and Jean-François Kahn, in voices of pure entitlement (“he [the judge] thought that Strauss-Kahn was an ordinary person subject to trial, like anyone else”) and rich male privilege (“hanky-panky with the help”).
Strauss-Khan may be acquitted of the charge. But his friends and supporters are guilty of the crappiest male chauvinism, of the shoulder-shrugging kind.
An article on the union aspects of the affair:-
One very important fact has been largely absent from the coverage of the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and, until latterly, leading candidate to be the next president of France. The hotel housekeeper whom he allegedly assaulted was represented by a union.
The reason that this is an important part of the story is that it is likely that Strauss-Kahn’s alleged victim might not have felt confident enough to pursue the issue with either her supervisors or law enforcement agencies, if she had not been protected by a union contract. The vast majority of hotel workers in the United States, like most workers in the private sector, do not enjoy this protection.
Read the whole article and follow some of the links eg here:-
Housekeepers and officials with the main hotel workers union, Unite Here, said that housekeepers were often too embarrassed or scared to report incidents to management or the police. Sometimes they fear that management, often embracing the motto “the customer is always right,” will believe the customer over the housekeeper and that the worker may end up getting fired.
I would also bet that in a pre-Civil Rights USA a chambermaid, an African immigrant, would have been too frightened to take such an accusation against a rich important white man to the police. Well, she did, and the police treated her seriously – something which Strauss-Khan’s peers seem to find an outrage against the natural order.