No, not a simple housekeeper…a brave woman!

Most of us working stiffs have always known that the rich and the powerful often have a different set of standards than the rest of us. Every class has its own rules but there are times when one is so intoxicated on their personal power that they do something that that despite their wealth and their power will lead to their downfall. That appears to be the case with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to be the director of the IMF is to be in one of the most powerful positions in global finance. Apparently when one is in such a position sometimes its hard to understand simple rules learned in early childhood that no means no and yes means yes.

Tis the case for Mr. Strauss-Kahn who decided that while staying in a ritzy New York hotel to go beyond doing what us mere plebian’s would do if we were going to push the boundaries and perhaps and take home the extra shampoos or maybe even snag the fluffy robe for our home use. No, he decided to cross lines that should never be crossed and as a powerful man decided when the hotel housekeeper entered his room, he apparently felt it was right to take what he wanted. In this case, taking what he wanted involved sexually assaulting the housekeeper.

It appears from reports that ole Dom (can we call him that?) has a history of not knowing when to keep his hands to himself. Dom is French and to be honest the French tend to look at sexual matters a bit differently than us uptight Americans. However based off what has been reported it seems it was no secret that Dom is a dirty bastard, yet what he did to the housekeeper goes beyond the pale. I like to believe though there are times when the American justice system works and perhaps this will be one of those times.

However this morning while reading the paper, I came across this piece where it seems Dom’s legal eagles may try to suggest that the housekeeper had consensual sex with old Dom. Really? Sure she had a fantasy to be dressed in a maid suit, and taken by force by a wealthy old white guy? Come now, that reads like starter fetish fantasy literature but I doubt that story is going to fly with a jury.

No, sadly the truth as spoken by the victim’s own attorney is “She is a simple housekeeper who was going into a room to clean a room.” I am sure the victim’s attorney was not trying to denigrate his client but that simple sentence explains why we are even discussing this. This woman was viewed as a simple housekeeper, in other words a voiceless disposable human, after all unlike Dom who is a major player in the world; the victim is just a simple housekeeper.

Well I say this woman is a brave woman, a very brave woman, she may not have known who Dom was with regards to his position in the world but she knew he was a depraved soul who tried to steal her essence. Clearly working at this hotel, and staying in this room reportedly valued at $3000 a night, I suspect she knew he wasn’t exactly Charlie the used car salesman. Yet after this heinous crime was committed she bravely reported it and that means she is a brave, a very brave woman. Other press accounts describe her as an immigrant from Guinea, a widow and a mother, again far more than a simple housekeeper. Yet we live in a world where it is easy to dismiss people if they do not have status and we cannot allow that to be.

So Dom, hope you like your new temporary digs on Rikers Island and if we are lucky American justice will serve you up some valuable lessons on the important of keeping your hands to yourself. Hey, maybe you can eventually get a cellmate who also believes in taking what he likes, wouldn’t that be sweet justice? As for the victim, I hope she is able to reclaim her life and rebuild and get the help and support she needs to deal with this ordeal.

2 thoughts on “No, not a simple housekeeper…a brave woman!”

  1. Quite often in my professional capacity as a Psychotherapist I have clients that have to be prodded to begin the transition from that of being a victim to one of being a survivor. I applaud the bravery of this woman for taking the steps to ensure that this sexual perpetrator will not harm another woman or child in the United States and also for taking the steps to be a survivor as opposed to a victim. I like you hope he meets up with a “Celle” that that enjoys taking his humanity as much as he disgusting took the humanity from this women. I also hope’s she is awarded mega money from him and the hotel so that she live the life of luxury that this perpetrator once did…

  2. Yes, a brave woman indeed. It’s hard enough to be taken seriously when speaking up about being raped by Average Joe, let alone a powerful, international banker. The usual sexism is in play with this story — “she’s lying”, or “she asked for it”, “it’s a set-up” etc. Then there’s the intersection of classism that you discussed here. I’m so disturbed that we live in a society where a victim has to clear her name in order to be considered a victim, hence her attorney making the media rounds. I’m appalled that there have been some reports that the victim might have lived in special housing for persons with HIV/AIDS. Basically these reports focus on the fact that Strauss-Kahn might need to get tested for HIV. WTF? First off all, we don’t know the victim’s HIV status regardless of where she might live and her status is irrelevant to this case. Second, no one’s concerned about her possibly becoming infected with an STD because of the assault. Oh, right, he’s a rich, Western male and she’s a poor African immigrant, we know which one’s more likely to have something :-/. Last but certainly not least, this is ableism because people with HIV/AIDS still have to deal with discrimination and outing her status can potentially have dire consequences for her.

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