DSK’s initial case falling apart as new charges arise from another woman.

UPDATE: DSK accuser is suing the New York Post for calling her a “prostitute.”

It looks like Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s rape case is being thrown out for a perceived lack of “credibility” on behalf of the potential victim. We already knew this was coming, but a rather unfortunate precedent set for women coming out against sexual assault when they are not the Most Perfect Victim possible.

In the wake of this case falling apart it looks like another case has come to the surface. French writer, Tristan Banon who is also a friend of Strauss-Kahn’s daughter and a goddaughter of his second wife, plans to file a case against Strauss-Kahn for attempted rape in 2002.

William Saletan reports at Slate,

Banon says that in February 2003, when she was 23, she interviewed Strauss-Kahn for a book. Afterward, he phoned her and asked her to meet him at a Paris address for a follow-up interview. The address turned out to be an apartment. There, he touched her and became increasingly physical. She resisted. On a TV show four years ago, she said, according to a Telegraph translation, that the encounter “ended very, very violently because I told him clearly … We didn’t merely slap each other … I gave kicks, and he undid my bra, he tried to undo my jeans.” Agence France Presse translates her account differently: “I told him clearly ‘No, No!’—and we finished up fighting on the floor. “There wasn’t just a couple of blows. I kicked him, and he tried to unclip my bra, to open my jeans.” In an interview just published in L’Express, Banon describes

his fingers in my mouth, his hands in my pants … [He] grabbed my hand and arm, I asked him to let me go … He pulled me toward him, we came down and we fought on the ground for several minutes … He was violent. When I realized he really wanted to rape me, I started to give him a kick with my boots, I was terrified and I told him: “You’re not going to rape me?” And then I managed to free myself, I ran downstairs …

Banon says she tried to stop Strauss-Kahn by reminding him that she was close to his daughter’s age. She says he replied: “What does Camille have to do with it?”

DSK is, of course, hoping that the case in NYC falling apart will lead to these new accusations (which Banon has actually been public about this since 2007, she is just finally officially filing charges) looking less credible as well. But, like any accuser, Banon deserves to have her charges take seriously until proven otherwise. Sadly, when it comes to rape, officials seem more interested in the credibility of the victim being the “perfect” victim as opposed to whether she was raped or not.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/zoeypie/ Zoey

    I appreciate this article, but I’m wondering if there should be a ’trigger warning’ beforehand, given the graphic details of assault.

  • http://feministing.com/members/raincity/ Vicky

    “We already knew this was coming, but a rather unfortunate precedent set for women coming out against sexual assault when they are not the Most Perfect Victim possible.”

    In this case, it’s not that she didn’t demonstrated herself to be the “Most Perfect Victim possible” but that her phone conversations indicated she actively sought out someone she believed “has a lot of money.” In fact, she was initially held up to be a “Perfect Victim” (an impossible and ridiculous standard), and feminists criticized the media’s then-willingness to accept her accusations because she seemed like a “credible” accuser.

    I hate the fact this will provide more fodder for rape-deniers who like to believe that women are out to get men. However, on our side, we need to be careful about distinguishing our anticipation of authentic victim-blaming and what her rather self-damning comments represent.

    • http://feministing.com/members/mjameson/ Matthew T. Jameson

      I was really struggling to put words on this issue, but I think you nailed it on the head. At its core, it seems to be related to the burden of proof, since there is no physical evidence of force (both sides agree that penetration occurred, the question is whether it was consensual or not). By having that conversation, she seems to have introduced a perfectly reasonable doubt, in the absence of any other evidence, that DSK raped her. It seems difficult for the prosecution to justify going forward with the case given the lack of evidence, combined with the suspicious phone conversation that introduces doubt.

    • http://feministing.com/members/mutengene/ camer

      there is no evidence she actively sought out a man with money. seeking to capitalize on a tragedy after you find out the person or entity is a deep pocket is hardly new or news.

      • http://feministing.com/members/raincity/ Vicky

        Camer, I agree with you in that it’s impossible to parse out her exact meaning. We can’t read her mind, after all. But her saying, “Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. He has a lot of money” stinks. It may not indicate pre-meditation but still feels an awful lot like some sort of conspiracy.

        My main point is that her case is not falling apart is due to the typical “she was asking for it” and “she’s a slut” misogyny (although there is certainly that character defamation going on too).

        So it bothered me that the post made it sound as though classic old misogyny is to blame for where things stand. The misogynists ignore the facts and claim it was all the woman’s fault. On our end, we shouldn’t be sloppy about the facts and claim it’s all victim-blaming.

        • http://feministing.com/members/mjameson/ Matthew T. Jameson

          Exactly. This is very different from a case where substantive evidence points to rape, but the prosecution tries to go after character instead. This is a case where no evidence besides the woman’s statements suggest the accused is guilty. That she herself suggested a financial incentive for accusing him introduces a reasonable doubt as to the truth of her testimony, so why proceed with the case?

  • http://feministing.com/members/cassius/ Brüno

    The case will fall apart too. It happened in 2002. I cant think of any evidence of any kind that could have been salvaged. Unless he confesses its going to be a he said she said situation and in that scenario the accused will go free, as it should be, unless of course, he really attempted to rape her, which would be unfortunate, but in that case you are forced to choose between upholding not guilty until proven innocent or leaving a man go free of whom you reall really think he did it.

    I think she knows its too late to obtain a conviction if she has been briefed by a honest lawyer, but I think she just wants to get her story out, which certainly wont help Straus.