Friday, July 01, 2011

This also makes me furious.

Remember Dominique Strauss-Kahn? The guy who was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid?

It now seems entirely possible the maid lied.

This kind of thing makes me furious. For one thing, a person (granted, a person I may not like very much, but a person all the same) has had his reputation tarnished.

I live in a small town. There are some people here, I do not know why, who seem to live to spread rumors about others. It's disgusting and it can be very damaging to people. I had friends - they have since moved away since the husband got a better position at a larger university, but also they may wanted to have left the idiot rumormongers - well, anyway, the first rumor was that the husband was having an affair with another woman on campus. His wife knew this was utterly ludicrous because (a) she knew she could trust her husband to be faithful and (b) some of the times he was reported to have been seen with "her," he was actually at his kid's soccer game. With his wife. Or he was out jogging. With his wife.

So that rumor could largely be laughed off, but it still annoyed my friend, because some people actually swallowed the rumor and would treat her with pity when they met her in the grocery store.

The second rumor that got started was worse. It was that the man was abusing his son. This one, because it was uglier, and because the alleged abuse allegedly happened when they were allegedly at home, it was harder for the family to clearly disprove, even though EVERYONE who knew the family knew it was false, and there was no actual evidence (like bruises or injuries on the boy). But it was ugly, I can't remember now if DFCS called them up for a visit or not - but at any rate, it was ugly.

So I think doing something that wounds a person's reputation, whether you're doing it for your own gain, because you dislike that person, or to get a horrible thing to do. And I don't care if DSK was a "dog" who treated women badly in the past...he still does not deserve to be lied about.

Second, if this maid did indeed make up that she was raped by this man...well, it makes it all the much harder for other women, women who actually suffered assault, to prove their case sometimes. It makes the defenses in those cases dig deeper and maybe get uglier, trying to trip the victim up or make her look bad. I've heard of cases where a woman's "past behavior" was called up in a rape trial...sort of like the bad old, "She was dressed like she wanted it" argument. (And how dangerously close that attitude is to some of the conservative Muslim attitudes, that a woman out in public must be covered head to toe, and preferably chaperoned by a husband, father, or brother, lest she lead some man on the street astray).

It's also bad in cases of alleged date rape when a woman consents at first, and then later on says she did not. It's a complete he-said she-said situation (very rarely are there witnesses). Date rape DOES occur, don't get me wrong - but it's dishonorable for a woman to claim rape (for whatever reason) after an act she consented to.

(You know, situations like these make celibacy look not-so-bad after all.)

Yes, yes, I know: as a woman you have to be careful. I wouldn't walk alone after dark in a city, especially not provacatively dressed. But...yes, you have to be careful, but no, being not-careful does not give people license to assault. Stealing a guy's wallet because he's drunk doesn't make it any less of a theft.

I suppose it's still possible that the maid's case is true, but it doesn't look good.

1 comment:

Dave E. said...

My very first real job I worked in an in-house print shop. One of the things we did was print up stuff that a bunch of women in the next door mail room assembled into various packets. I worked there a few years before I learned what a gossip factory that mail room was. The rumors those little old ladies so casually spread about people, including me, were shocking not just for their salaciousness but also for how false they were. I could hardly believe those "nice" ladies could say such nasty stuff about people behind their backs. It was a real wake up moment that I'll never forget.