May 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm (Feminism, rights, Rosie B, women)

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.


  1. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Good post. The whole DSK business has been disturbing, not least because of the utterly rancid reaction of the likes of Bernard-Henri Levy. Allowing obviously for the fact that Strauss-Kahn is innocent until proven guilty, the basic fact that all – regardless of gender, social standing, race etc – should be equal before the law, and that everyone – regardless of wealth, status etc – should be held accountable for their actions seems to have escaped too many bien pensants in France. Not that I would say that this is a purely French problem.

    While I don’t normally take pleasure in linking to Tory publications, these pieces from the Torygraph and the Speccie are worth reading:

    The latter may be blocked by a paywall, so I’ll include the following bit about predatory behaviour in Westminster:

    ‘The first thing that’s unusual about a political predator is that he’s blinded by conceit. His self-love is so consuming that it’s almost impossible for him to imagine a girl might say no. For my particular big beast, rejection only fuelled his ardour. He showed no fear of law-suits or accusations of harassment. The more overt the put-down, the keener he seemed. Until one day, without warning, he simply lost his cool altogether, pushed me over on the office carpet and lay on top of me, breathing hard. ‘You know you want me!’ he said. I didn’t and kicked him hard.

    I was lucky because this big beast was no DSK — nor was he the vindictive type (which we will come to later) who punish rejection by ruining a girl’s career. That kick derailed his pursuit; I chalked it up to experience and moved to a different part of the jungle…

    The Snake – Now here’s the most insidious predator, the sort who offers to trade information or advancement for sexual favours. Like that very first serpent, he’ll make it seem a reasonable exchange, but you entertain a snake at your peril. There’s no limit to how low they can slither. There’s a cautionary tale doing the Westminster rounds about a former foreign secretary who propositioned a young lady MP in a lift. When she declined, the great man showed his forked tongue: ‘You’ll never make it without me,’ he hissed. Was it a threat? Anyway, the MP soon lost her seat and she now works in a very different field. She can complain to her friends, but nothing is provable.

    Let’s not pretend that the political press is free from snakes. Another pal who worked with an important TV snake says that he issued quite clear instructions to new female researchers: blow job or no job. Snakes are the most poisonous predators’’.

    Enough is enough. On both sides of the Channel.

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Excellent post.

    Also, compare and contrast some sections of the “left”‘s reaction to Strauss-Kahn as opposed to their demands that all charges against Assange must be dropped:

  3. SteveH said,

    Yes very good post, I wasn’t aware of this. Unity all round!

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