Why Is DSK Free?

Dominique Strauss-Kahn may go free as soon as this afternoon based on the startling revelations that his accuser has apparently been lying and has been taped talking to convicted felons in prison about those lies. The case brings to mind the Duke men’s lacrosse team’s apparent rape of an African-American stripper only to have that case fall apart when the victim was shown to be lying.

With rates of rape (250,000 according to the Department of Justice) and domestic violence against women (500,000 also according to the DOJ), what is going on here? Why does our legal system, and our media machine, jump to create these massive, high-profile cases of sexual misconduct only to have them fall apart. Are these men guilty with the victims’ credibility just being pulled? Are these cases just another way in which popular culture is out to bash men in general? And how is all this related to the overall trends toward increased pornography, growth in the sex trade, and violence against women that no one disputes? And what about the entire country of France now wanting to cut off our manhood?

I only know what little I have read in the media about both the Duke case and DSK, a media that we now know to be amazingly flawed. But here are a few observations (please add your own via comments):

  • DSK and the Duke players had the very best attorneys that money can buy while the victims did not. OJ proved that great lawyers go a long way when prosecutors are brain dead.
  • We have a very hard time distinguishing between the sex trade and violent rape. One could argue that strippers and even upscale prostitutes are taking advantage of men who are willing to pay for sexual attention whereas sex trafficking and rape are heinous crimes. The problem is that all are viewed with the same lens of shame and are committed behind closed doors.
  • The focus both legally and in the media on high-profile celebrity men committing supposed felonies, while those same acts are being committed day in and day out in every community in this country, is one more way we are all missing the point when it comes to gender.
  • Putting DSK on the cover of the NY Times again and again, like Charlie Sheen or Tiger Woods, is just a continuation of our collective obsession with men behaving badly, rather than the more nuanced truth that the vast majority of men in this country are grappling with trying to live fulfilling lives as fathers, husbands, sons, and workers.

What do you think?


Update:  DSK Free

In a court hearing, prosecutors acknowledged serious problems with the credibility of the hotel housekeeper who said that Dominique Strauss-Kahn attacked her.


—Photo via NY Times

About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.


  1. Mervyn Kaufman says:

    It’s clear from what’s been published that Strauss-Kahn was set up by a hotel maid who saw the keen possibility of making a killing from a man stupid enough to have sex with her. S-K has a history, so it’s been easy for the media to jump all over him. But as evidence continues to trickle in, a somewhat different picture has emerged. At this point I can’t imagine any prosecutor being able to mount a rape case against this man, certainly not in this instance. And, frankly, could anyone really believe that this rather mature, polished diplomat emerged naked from his bathroom and immediately jumped the hotel maid? He was not some teen on drugs or a horny ballplayer. Her story seemed flawed from the beginning…which, of course, doesn’t excuse his behavior or recast his reprehensible history. It’ll be interesting to see how the situation plays out now. I’m sure the lady is eager for a settlement; I wonder if she’ll get it.

  2. Who knows says:

    For the record:

    “Rape culture” is gender-bigot fantasy as shown by Christina Hoff Sommer long ago. “Gender-sex equality” is also gender bigot fantasy because the genders/sexes are both socially and biologically unequal as shown by all available science notwithstanding gender-bigot nonsense otherwise. Feminism as a mass movement is dangerous because it is based on loathsome lies backed by feebleminded gender bigots as shown in Nathanson and Youngs trilogy on feminist sponsored misandry.

  3. Jeffery says:


    Why aren’t you speaking out against false accusations and describing this woman and a victim and this man as guilty?

    “When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said.”


    Stabbing men in the back for the feminist lobby and feminist praise will only make you what they define as “good”. Good is standing up to injustice and lies.

  4. Who knows says:

    Let me see:

    1) the rich and POWERFUL white man gets perp walked, he goes to Rikers, he pays a huge bail, he gets house arrest and and ankle bracelet,he becomes the butt of gender-bigots from around the world, he loses his job (to a reverse-sexist gender bigot), gossip mongers have a field day, and he is presumed guilty just like the Duke LaCrosse Players were….all by an anonymous poor black woman who has a history of false rape stories, who tells lies, who is in cahoots with criminals, who has a partying lifestyle and you talk deference to rich white men.

    2) The maid’s identity is still secret, she is unlikely to ever suffer even the slightest indignity much less the slightest criminal sanction for her role in this whatever that role turns out to be and you defer to her.

    Here’s an antidote to that deference nonsense: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/07/01/how-the-dsk-case-unraveled-and-the-toll-it-took.html

  5. Lois Lane says:

    I think the _NYT_ article linked here was a little more circumspect, cautious, and specific than what Tom’s piece mentioned. There is some evidence that the accuser may not come across as credible to a jury, that her actions since the accusation are somewhat suspicious, and there are inconsistencies in her official statements in other parts of the legal system. That does not necessarily mean her accusations about DSK are false.

    Why can’t we as a society be sophisticated enough to accept the idea that he’s innocent until proven guilty AND accept the idea that her accusations have to be taken seriously? The human brain is perfectly capable of withholding judgment until all the facts are in. We can accept the chance that each of them could be telling the truth and/or lying.

    Also, I think some more precise language is in order here. The accuser is clearly the accuser, but at this point she is still an alleged victim. Alleged victims have rights, they have a right to due process, but referring to her as a victim in this case is premature. The accused is clearly the accused, but at this point he is an alleged rapist. Maybe that’s enough for many people, but charged with something is not the same as being found guilty. People are accusing her of lying, but accusing her of lying is not the same as her being found guilty of lying. It works both ways.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Agree on calling her the accuser. My bad.

    • S. Gallo says:

      Few would say the accuser’s lies amount to exoneration for the accused. No one I’ve seen has acted liked the allegations aren’t serious. I commend you for pointing out that her damaged credibility is real and somewhat deserved, but that it is still possible the accused is guilty. My thoughts exactly.

  6. And how is all this related to the overall trends toward increased pornography, growth in the sex trade, and violence against women that no one disputes?

    I dispute this, Tom. Plenty of people dispute it.

    In order to believe this, you need to believe that we have adequate stats on all three of these things, which we don’t. You are making a huge assumption and claiming it as a fact.

    Here’s the truth: We DON’T KNOW if the sex trade has grown, if there’s more porn, or if violence against women has increased, relative to the size of the population.

    We simply DON’T KNOW.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Well in terms of the actual revenue from porn and sex trade I do think we know that. Go look at Wall Street reports on those companies. Hell, talk to the cable companies who sell pay-per-view or the companies installing fiber. It’s driven by porn. On violence against women I realize that data is harder to interpret but the sources I have seen by the Justice Department would indicate the numbers are increasing.

      • You must have a superhero-like ability to manipulate crime statistics then, since the rape rate in the US has been known to be plummeting on an almost exact even tack with the explosive proliferation of pornographic material over the past 2 decades at least. Never you mind though, just continue on prejudicially believing in the prevailing feminist dogma that everything’s getting worse and evil porn habits of teh menz just must be to blame, somehow.

      • Well in terms of the actual revenue from porn and sex trade I do think we know that.


        You have reliable stats, adjusted for inflation, from 30 years ago, Tom?

        The internet has made this stuff more visible. That does not necessarily mean it’s making more money.

        Regarding violence against women, you also need to take into consideration two points:

        a) Adjust for increasing population size (an obvious point which many folks somehow forget)

        b) Reflect that if increased stats do exist, they may also reflect increased reporting.

        But what I really love is this: in your article, you say no one would dispute this; now you say that the data is hard to interpret. So we’ve already gone from “this is uncontestable” to “well, the data’s hard to dig out”. What do you want to bet that if we dig a bit more, things get even more confusing still?

  7. Just saying that it’s not a given that more women will bring better attitudes, victim responses and/or victim support. I heard a similar comment from a female Member of Parliament a couple of weeks ago, forgetting that one of her own had stated in a radio interview earlier in the week that childhood sexual abuse could be reduced if only girls could say no.. Sometimes the men don’t have to say or do a thing; they only need to sit back and allow the ‘gatekeepers’ to defend their position for them.

    • So Angie, what do you have to say about false accusations and why do you think that this man is more likely to be jumping out of the shower and raping the nearest chamber maid than it is for this woman who has being caught in various lies about the incident and on paper looks like a career criminal that has lied about rape before, to be the more credible?

      And surely if the police in numerous countries are coming forward (the last one I heard of stated that 4 out of 5 rape allegations are false) there must be something to it.

      ht tp://www.inmalafide.com/blog/2011/06/22/austrian-police-chief-claims-that-four-out-of-every-five-rape-accusations-are-false/

    • Angie, there aren’t enough women yet in these jobs for you to know whether “more women will bring better attitudes, victim responses and/or victim support,” are there? Talk to sociologists and psychologists about how patriarchy works, how rape culture gets reduced in societies where women have status closer to that of men, how men being engaged in healthier parenting of their children helps the children. Or read them. Lloyd de Mause’s “Why Males Are More Violent” discusses the effect on boys of moving to egalitarian marriages, parenting. Dan Kindlon’s “Alpha Girls” discusses the effect on girls. Read “The Gender Knot” by egalitarian Alan Johnson.

      Yes, children of both sexes are sometimes seen as “asking for it’ in sex abuse; Freud screwed that one up royally. He discovered the abuse and did not have the courage to call it out; he would have been ostracized in very patriarchal Vienna. But if you read a modern psychoanalyst like Alice Miller you will see at least some of the world has moved on from this – and has called Freud on his backward and corrupt theory.

      Yes, some women let other women down. And some women are complicit in patriarchy, by not taking financial responsibility for themselves, by choosing men for money or status for themselves and not for children, by suppressing other women, by overentitling boys and men, by not being good parents themselves and by getting in the way of men being good parents, or not objecting when they are abusive or neglectful parents. But the answer I think is not to generalize this to all women in positions of power or authority. In addition to Alice Miller, read about US Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg’s work , for example. She is phenomenal.

  8. I don’t agree (with Emily’s comment) about more women in the Police making it ‘better’. Here in the UK, a Rape ‘Champion’ ( the ridiculous name they give to the person who leads on rape in a Police Force area) openly stated to me (and a group of people at a round table discussion), that it’s a known fact that most women and girls who report rape are lying… What was most concerning about her stance was that she’s so used to being around people (her colleagues), who agree with that attitude; she was genuinely shocked at my reaction to that statement.

    (On a similar note, ‘A man says’ comments and stats are so incredibly ridiculous that they don’t even warrant any kind of come back)

    Let’s just say I’d have been more amazed if this hadn’t played out exactly as it has.. If the accuser had ever seen justice and DSK’s name and reputation were distroyed because of his misogynistic sense of entitlement, I would have been (as we say here) Gobsmacked!!

    • Just because there’s one or two bad apples (female police, investigators, lawyers) is no reason to throw out the basket, no?

      Getting to sex/gender equality and ending rape culture are mass movements, not something that resides on the shoulders of a few women. The effects are felt over time – and not often directly on the specific individual level

      • Should have said “not often IMMEDIATELY at the individual level.” Doing the work as a woman psychologically and economically to get to egalitarianism as well as you can with men is worth it – even if the broader political economy is still not there yet. I’ve seen huge progress in the broader political economy in the US in my lifetime.

        I would encourage you not to be a self-hating woman. We can handle authority and we can do so with all due respect to other women and girls. But it does take some personal effort to get out of the one-down, scared and walled-off position that you can end up in if you did not have egalitarian-type parents or that can result from internalizing the still somewhat patriarchal culture.

    • That IS a known fact.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Thanks Angie for this first hand perspective.

  9. Whenever you have a high profile case of this sort, the media are whipped into a feeding frenzy. The police here did their jobs. They got a complaint of a sexual assault, which was credible on its surface, and the DA had probable cause to file charges. It’s the media, and, unfortunately, sometimes overzealous prosecutors and politicians who then go nuts. When the case falls apart, untold damage is done to the thousands of real victims out there whose cases get very little assistance or attention. It leaves the public feeling angry and distrustful of the legal system. Whoever you believe in this case, the whole thing feels like an embarrassment.

  10. Feministe are already painting the situation as evidence of rape culture.

    If anything this story is evidence that we overreact and become histrionic whenever a woman cries rape.

    • I just skimmed over that post (and frankly I’m scared to read the actual comments) and i just had a thought. They seem to have a problem with jump from “she may have lied about other things” to “so she is probably lying about this”. Where is that concern when its the other way around? I’m wondering if some things from DSK’s past had come up that would have casted a shadow of doubt on his claims of innocence and led to a conviction would they be so quick to point out that leap.

  11. David Wise says:

    I don’t know this is somehow related to pornography or the sex trade industry. I suppose sex was involved, so maybe that’s the link. Btw, I can’t believe prosecutors were duped again. What dweebs.

    • S. Gallo says:

      I don’t think they were duped. I think it just takes time to find much of this out. Even in New York, it’d be time-consuming to find someone that speaks the accuser’s language. That’s just one example.
      That said, the cops should have kept a lid on it until they were sure.

  12. On one hand I do think its a bit dirty to jump from “she may be lying about other things” to “she must be lying about this” as the same time we’ve seen people try to pull that same stunt on the accused in past cases (like the Duke case where there are still people out there that swear by all that is holy that if those three guys did rape her on that night they were surely guilty of “something”).

    Are these cases just another way in which popular culture is out to bash men in general?
    I think there’s truth to that. As you say at the end, “Putting DSK on the cover of the NY Times again and again, like Charlie Sheen or Tiger Woods, is just a continuation of our collective obsession with men behaving badly, rather than the more nuanced truth that the vast majority of men in this country are grappling with trying to live fulfilling lives as fathers, husbands, sons, and workers.” the media (a large portion of the masses) would rather see negative examples of men and pretend the positive ones don’t exist. Take at a look at it in regards to parenting. How many times do you see references to “dead beat dads” in the media and how many do see of dads who are trying to be there for their kids?

    Now I’m just gonna sit back and wait until tonight for all the “this only got dismissed becasue she’s a woman and he’s a man!” articles to pop up….

    • I can’t remember the Duke case, but I do think sex acts in DSK’s case certainly meet the probable cause standard for a crime. They have to have been either transactional (prostitution), or nonconsensual. If it’s prostitution, the legal treatment of Johns is starting to get closer to that of sex workers; there has been some effort toward this in my state anyway..

      The problem is that in a no-witness case you can’t prove “without a reasonable doubt” when a witness has dishonesty and her own criminal activity that may have been related to the act (such as the after-the-fact extortion discussion).

    • S. Gallo says:

      Amanda Marcotte doesn’t believe in God, so I’d doubt she’d swear by all that is holy that the Duke lacrosse players that were exonerated did **something** nefarious.

  13. What do the rates of rape (which are higher for men) and rates of domestic violence (which are equal for men and women) have to to with DSK?
    This is exactly how the feminist media treated the Duke Lacrosse boys, even if this woman later said that she targeted him for a false accusation, he would still be painted as guilty.
    Why is he out?
    Because his accuser has been lying about so many things.

  14. The original posturing by the prosecutors and the media was not man-bashing, I think. The prosecutors may have had a case of “white knight” syndrome where men seek to be recognized as heroes for rescuing women and are not more measured in their approach. I have heard this sex crime office does not have very many women (in contrast to the mythical “Law & Order: SVU”). I think one thing that might really help with these roller-coaster of these situations is having more women police, investigators, prosecutors, etc.

    I do think DSK is guilty of something – at best, it was prostitution. I can’t imagine this woman – who had been on the housekeeping staff for a while, I believe – wanted to give him oral sex or have sex with him or even consented to it; there have to be no more than 3 housekeepers in the world who would actually enjoy that in these circumstances. And he would have to be some kind-of narcissistic idiot not to know that.

  15. Andrew Ladd says:

    It strikes me as disingenuous to consider this as a case of popular culture wanting to “man-bash,” when clearly the one being bashed here is the woman. The argument that “she has lied about other things so she must be lying now,” amounts to little more than circumstantial character assassination. By the same logic we could argue that DSK has a well-documented history of inappropriate sexual behavior towards women, so he must have behaved inappropriately here. Indeed, many have made that argument about DSK over the past few months—but now, as soon as any doubt is cast on the woman’s character, the blemishes on his seem to become insignificant. How does that reveal anything except deference towards rich white men?

    • Exactly. This article implies that the DSK accuser has been shown to have lied about the rapes. If you read the NYT article, that’s not the case. It’s pretty dishonest writing.

      • Tom Matlack says:

        According to the NYT and many others, DSK has been let go because his accuser has recanted critical portions of her former testimony. I didn’t do anything but repeat what has been widely written in the press so have no idea how you can call me dishonest. That said I have no idea what the truth is here. I am only commenting on how we have all reacted to this case and the wild turn of events.

        • Here is what the NYT says was discovered about the woman, leading to a likely collapse of the case:

          “According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

          That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

          The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends.

          In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application.”

          So, she may have been involved with criminal activities, lied on her asylum application, and considered profiting from her case. If true, that makes her a criminal. It doesn’t prove that she wasn’t a rape victim, just that the prosecutors know that a jury won’t convict if the alleged victim doesn’t have a spotless reputation.


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