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
—Photo via NY Times