On The False Rape Society blog, Pierce Harlan seems bothered that the police would arrest such an important man, citing an assortment of articles saying that Strauss-Kahn’s arrest will likely have a big effect on markets and on the global economy.
Harlan titles his piece: “So rape claims aren’t taken seriously? Reuters says the claim against Strauss-Kahn could impact “the well-being of the global economy.” After quoting from an assortment of news stories that suggest that, yes, Strauss-Kahn’s arrest has already affected markets and could affect the global economy, Harlan ends with this petulant conclusion:
All because of a disputed rape allegation. Right now, that’s all it is. I have no idea if a crime was committed, and neither do you.
But I know one thing: the entire world is taking very seriously — and perhaps way too seriously — the word of an unnamed maid it knows nothing about.
First of all, just as we don’t know whether or not Strauss-Kahn is guilty of this alleged attack, we also don’t know what evidence the police have. What we do know from other media accounts suggests that there is more to go on than the “word of an unnamed maid” – including DNA and other evidence at the scene, footage from the hotel’s security cams, injuries suffered by the maid, who was treated at a local hospital. There may well have been witnesses too; we simply don’t know. (Also, the maid has now been named in the French press. Wonderful.)
Second, and more importantly, why should the fact that the arrest has affected world markets have any bearing whatsoever on the case? By this logic, no important political or financial figure should ever be arrested for anything.
To make myself perfectly clear here: Harlan does not say explicitly that DSK is too important to be arrested on the word of a lowly maid, but that seems to be the implicit suggestion of his post, the whole reason to quote several articles about the effect this is having on the world economy, all because of “the word of an unnamed maid [the world] knows nothing about.” I have asked him to clarify what exactly he did mean, and he has refused. In a followup post he asks rhetorically “Have we handed an unnamed maid too much power to destroy a presumptively innocent man?” and answers himself by saying “The question scarcely survives its statement.” Which I will take as a “yes.” He goes on to say:
We reported yesterday what the world press is saying about the sexual assault claim against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. About how it could impact not only the IMF he heads, and France where is a presidential hopeful, but the global economy itself. It is widely believed that Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s reputation has been marred beyond repair, regardless of the outcome of this affair.
To say this is morally grotesque does not capture the evil of what is happening to a presumptively innocent man. …
If there is a running theme in this blog, it is this: we have handed anonymous women and children far, far too much power to destroy the lives and reputations of presumptively innocent men before even a scrap of evidence has been introduced to prove their guilt.
If I am reading this correctly — and please correct me if I am wrong, Mr. Harlan — he is saying that ALL men are too important to be arrested on sexualk assault charges based on the word of “anonymous women and children.”
Again, let me ask you, Mr. Harlan, is this what you mean? I invite everyone here to read the two posts in question — the first one here; the second one here — and tell me what you think he is trying to say.
Mr. Harlan, if you want to clarify what you mean here, I will put that clarification up without comment as a post, under a neutral headline (Pierce Harlan clarifies what he meant in his posts on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrest”).
I would also like to point out, again, that the police seem to be going on a lot more than the “word of an unnamed maid,” including surveillance tapes, statements from those who spoke to the maid immediately after the alleged incident, DNA evidence in the room. There may also be DNA evidence on her clothing; that we don’t know. But it seems fairly clear that there is evidence beyond the maid’s testimony.
Meanwhile, over on In Mala Fide, a guest blogger from Human-Stupidity.com, an MRA site that devotes a lot of its attention to railing against child porn laws, attacks the accuser and dismisses the charges. It’s hard to know what in the post is sarcasm and what is simply astounding stupidity. But as far as I can figure it, Mr. Stupidity is far more distressed by reports that the maid accidentally walked in on a naked Strauss-Kahn than he is by the possibility that he sexually assaulted her:
The story is very strange, and dominated by clear mistakes and screwups committed by the accuser. A five-star hotel maid trespasses into a naked client’s room? Unforgivable. …
This is not supposed to happen in a high-class hotel. Were the sex roles inverted, were a male employee to walk in on a prominent female guest, like Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the male employee would be fired and arrested for sexual harassment.
Mr. Stupidity then goes on to suggest that such a powerful man would never try to rape anyone because, you know, powerful men don’t do that sort of thing.
A hitherto well behaved, civilized man, suddenly goes crazy? Just because he was naked, he wanted to take advantage of her and rape her?
A man pictured on the covers of magazines, admired by millions of women, who could get any woman he wanted with a snap of his fingers. A man from a country with legalized prostitution who could afford two luxury prostitutes per day, if he happened to be a sex addict. And this guy, exactly the moment the woman walks in, illegally, incorrectly, grabs her and rapes her?
Never mind that other women are coming forward with stories of assaults by Strauss-Kahn, suggesting that he may not be quite so well-behaved as Mr. Stupidity assumes.
So what does Mr. Stupidity think really happened? After raising the possibility that this is all some political setup, he ends the piece suggesting that the maid – who, he says “committed a serious professional lapse, almost a crime” by accidentally walking in on Strauss-Kahn – simply made up the story in order to protect her job. Because maids are instantly fired for accidentally walking in on guests? Because never ever in the history of hotels has a maid walked in on someone naked? (A quick Google search suggests not only that this is relatively common, but also that it’s a sexual fantasy of quite a few men.)
Meanwhile, Ben Stein – not, as far as I know, an MRA, but a neocon and a bit of a dick – has offered his own highly problematic defense of Strauss-Kahn, which boils down to, well, envy:
this is a case about the hatred of the have-nots for the haves, and that’s what it’s all about. A man pays $3,000 a night for a hotel room? He’s got to be guilty of something. Bring out the guillotine.
More on this as it develops. And it’s developing fast.