By Wendy Murphy
WeNews contributing editor
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The legal system's ability to deter sexual violence could change overnight if the woman bringing sex assault charges against DSK stands firm against the power of money, says Wendy Murphy. "We need a heroic victim."
(WOMENSENEWS)--Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the newly deposed director of the International Monetary Fund, is under house arrest in Manhattan, N.Y., and next month his case will formally get under way at the New York Supreme Court.
Charged with sexual assault and attempted rape, among other things, the former head of the IMF, known as DSK, isn't saying much at the moment.
Nor are we hearing much from legions of women who might be considering bringing similar charges themselves. But have no doubt: They and other sex-crime prosecutors are watching this case closely to see whether the merits of the case–and not money–determine the outcome.
As we've seen in too many cases, there's a real possibility that this whole vile story will go "poof" now that DSK is out on $1 million cash bail (plus $5 million in additional surety). Even with an electronic bracelet and armed guards minding his every move 24/7, he is free enough to find a way to influence the alleged victim to develop cold feet.
Already we have a New York Post report of Strauss-Kahn's friends trying to offer the victim's impoverished family in Guinea money to make the case go away since they can't reach her in protective custody.
Influencing a witness not to testify is a crime known as obstruction of justice, but as Kobe Bryant taught us, our legal system has a sick willingness to turn a blind eye to pay-offs in sex-crimes cases when the perpetrator is a man of wealth or power. Recall the way the NBA star's victim filed a civil lawsuit while the criminal case was pending. Shortly before the criminal trial, she settled the civil case and then refused to testify in the rape trial. It helped tone down the public cries of witness intimidation and corruption that her attorney was friendly with Bryant's defense counsel.
In this case, the trial balloons are flying about how the whole thing was the victim's fault, was consensual and that Mr. Powerful was dominated and victimized by Ms. Disenfranchised.
For the moment there's a three-letter reality that says everything about why the victim of DSK's alleged crimes will soon be destroyed in the press: DNA.
The Associated Press and other news agencies are reporting that DNA taken from the victim's work clothes matched that of DSK. This leaves DSK with only one defense option--"she wanted it"--and leaves the rest of us with no choice but to sit back and listen to demoralizing nonsense about the victim.
Spin-docs are already working full time to suggest that the hotel worker who reportedly ran from DSK's room and immediately reported the crime either set him up for political reasons, is a prostitute, or both. (Be on the lookout for the stories to unfold about how "West African women" in that area are prostitutes.)
Just Google the phrase "Dominique Strauss-Kahn political set-up" and you'll see a slew of references from seemingly reputable sources suggesting the woman is a modern day Mata Hari.
And because she reportedly suffered injuries, she'll soon be tagged an aggressive whore who "likes it rough." Thanks to mainstream pornographers, that defense might even stick.
It's hard to know what would be worse--watching a million-dollar defense team destroy a vulnerable woman's emotional well-being or watching the alleged victim pocket a bundle of cash in exchange for her dignity and her truth.
Such a result would surely confirm the ugly lesson showcased by the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial: that with enough money, a high-profile man charged with a crime of violence against a woman can walk away scot-free no matter how strong the evidence against him.
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