In many of the many articles that will be written about Dominique Strauss-Kahn over the next few days and weeks, his role and great abilities as the head of the International Monetary Fund will be applauded. His role in saving or now not saving Europe from financial disaster will be written about in detail and even the possibility he could have been the next president of France, but the heart of this conversation is one of the possible abuse of this power in an alleged attempted rape of a woman with much less influence and power, a housekeeper at a Sofitel in Midtown Manhattan.
"The 32-year-old housekeeper told police she was planning to clean the spacious suite, which she thought was empty, when Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked. He chased her and pulled her into a bedroom, where he began to sexually assault her, the woman told police. She said she fought him off, but he dragged her into the bathroom, according to the account. The woman eventually broke free and alerted hotel staff, who called police. Police officials said Strauss-Kahn fled the room, leaving his cellphone behind. He later called the hotel to ask if he had left his phone, a police official said, and an employee asked for his location in order to return it. That led authorities to JFK International Airport, where they arrested Strauss-Kahn, who was on a plane bound for France, the official said. Officers with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey boarded the plane and removed him moments before he was to fly to Paris." Yesterday, Strauss-Kahn was charged with attempted rape, a criminal sex act and unlawful imprisonment.
While it is too early to determine the verdict in this case and the United States does work under a premise of innocent until proven guilty, it would not be the first time that a powerful man exerted sexual dominance manifesting itself in rape over a less empowered woman. We often like to believe that someone so successful would think through the consequences of this type of act, in fact for Strauss-Kahn weighting in on cause and effect was part of his tremendous success. But time and time again history has shown us that sexual assault is often wielded by those with the most amount of power, hoping this cloak of power will protect them. These individuals often hope the disadvantaged status of their victim will keep them silent, and sadly, it often does. Rape can happen anywhere, by anyone and to any individual...my deepest sympathies go out to this anonymous housekeeper, who if attacked, will not only have to deal with the process of overcoming sexual assault but will be a part of a trial with one of the most powerful figures of this era reliving this experience in front of the world.