Shame on you Strauss Kahn!
Members of the hotel housekeepers’ union demonstrate outside New York City Criminal Court as the accused former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss Kahn arrives for his arraignment on charges of sexual assault.
While American maids protest, Frenchwomen Speak Out
Claire Nini, now 25, was sexually assaulted as a teenager, and it took her seven years to file a complaint, she said, “because I feared the notoriety of my assailant, a well-known doctor in Nice.”
But the furor around the arrest in New York on attempted rape charges of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who had been considered a likely next president of France, has given Frenchwomen and the modest feminist movement here a chance to speak out against sexual oppression and push for a less chauvinistic relationship between the sexes.
“I hope this is going to help the victims to speak,” Ms. Nini said. “If D.S.K.,” the initials by which Mr. Strauss-Kahn is known here, “is really guilty, I think this affair is going to help women,” she said. But if he is found not guilty, she said, “there is a risk that women will not be taken seriously anymore.”
Mr. Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, was arraigned on Monday in New York and pleaded not guilty to all charges, a four-minute event covered live by the main French television channels, Web sites and bloggers. There were experts and court drawings and shots of uniformed hotel workers shouting, “Shame on you!”
The case has also sharpened the debate here about a French way of life, one of tolerance for a male-centric attitude in gender relations, an acceptance of all but the most egregious sexual assaults on women and a reluctance by the authorities to intervene, particularly in cases involving the powerful.
“This is a key moment, a watershed moment,” said Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, an analyst of French politics and culture. Women from across the political spectrum “have extremely unpleasant stories to tell, that men think women are all up for grabs, literally and figuratively,” she said. France is “a difficult country to budge,” she added. “But it’s an important step. Women are emboldened.”
One example of the habits of the past and of possible change inspired by the Strauss-Kahn case was the forced resignation of a junior minister, Georges Tron, who was accused by two women of pressing them to have foot massages that soon evolved into groping. The women said that they were encouraged to speak out by the arrest of Mr. Strauss-Kahn.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been known for his own roving eye, kept his glance on the politics of the matter, with a presidential election next year. He fired Mr. Tron within two days.
Natacha Henry, a French writer and feminist who has written books about the sexuality of young women and about domestic violence, is writing a chapter for a book about the Strauss-Kahn case, concentrating on the more discreet sexual discrimination prevalent in French life.
“Women are starting to speak out now,” Ms. Henry said. “Strauss-Kahn’s friends said he was always a womanizer, a ‘dragueur,’ but we are saying that this is not about seduction, not about ‘la drague,’ but about something else. This is not about sex, seduction, love or an equal relationship, but it is everything to do with power. A lot of attitudes that in America would be considered sexual harassment would be seen here as, ‘Oh, he’s so keen on women.’ ”
I am so busy these days dear readers that I will only translate one French comment.Ok, I’ll translate 2! 😉
“quand on voit leurs tronches et qu’on pense que les hommes qui occupent les suites de ces hôtels peuvent se payer toutes les call-girls qu’ils veulent, on commence à avoir des doutes sur la véracité des dires de leur consœur cachée…”
When we see their faces and when we think that the men occupying the suites of these hotels can have all the call girls they want, we start having doubts on the truthfulness of the statements of their hidden colleague…
Elles pourraient manifester également devant le Sofitel, qui fait faire le ménage d’une suite de 150m2 par une seule femme de ménage ! c’est de l’exploitation ou je ne m’y connais pas ?
They could also demonstrate in front of Sofitel, which company can ask for a 150 mter square suite to be cleaned by a single lady! It is exploitation or I don’t know?
So funny… Like we say in French “ils ne perdent pas le nord!” (translation: they don’t miss a trick!!)
Posted on June 16, 2011, in Politics and tagged Anne Sinclair, attitude, comments, crime, culture, demonstration, domestic violence, Dominique, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, france, french, Frenchwomen, Georges Tron, hotel housekeepers' union, IMF, info, International Monetary Fund, journalist, Kahn, Laurent Fabius, maid, Nafissatou Diallo, Natacha Henry, new york, New York City Criminal Cour, news, Nicolas Sarkozy, opinion, outrage, photo, picture, plead, politics, protest, rape, rape charges, sarkozy, Ségolène Royal, scandal, sex predator, Sexual Abuse, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexuality, Sofitel, Strauss, Strauss-Kahn, Tristane Banon, views, viol, wordpress. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.