Strauss-Kahn case puts spotlight on gender inequality

By Pat Watson Wednesday May 23 2012 in Opinion
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Former French presidential hopeful and former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 63, may have been an excellent choice to continue leading the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or France for that matter but his a predilection for sexual excesses have come to overshadow any other abilities he has.


Strauss-Kahn is now facing a court battle in France, charged along with other high profile individuals, including a police chief, with “aggravated pimping in an organized gang”. Strauss-Kahn hasn’t denied that he attended a series of so-called sex-orgies in a number of cities on both sides of the Atlantic. He is, however, denying these particular charges.


This is the same man who was arrested in New York last year after 33-year-old Guinean, Nafissatou Diallo, who worked as a maid at a hotel in which Strauss-Kahn was staying, alleged that after she had arrived to clean his hotel room, he had confined her and committed an illegal sexual act. She alleges rape.


Excesses ruin lives. Whatever ambitions Strauss-Kahn held for himself and his country are surely gone. Whatever hopes Diallo had for her own future are also gone since she had been thoroughly investigated after her allegations and her character found to be wanting. She was deemed to have made a false claim in order to receive asylum in the U.S. and subsequently faces deportation.


Despite the powerful wheels of influence that turned to get Strauss-Kahn off the allegations made by Diallo, the woman has steadfastly stood by her statement. In fact, she has filed a $1-million civil suit against Strauss-Kahn. And in what her lawyers characterize as an example of his “misogynistic attitude”, Strauss-Kahn even tried to get Diallo’s civil suit thrown out on the grounds that he had diplomatic immunity at the time of the incident. He has now filed a counter suit charging she has seriously damaged his reputation.


Maybe what she damaged most was his reputation for not being caught by the legal system for his actions. There have been numerous charges of sexual assault brought against this high-powered individual who, even now, faces charges in France.


Diallo, who is a single mother, has not worked since the alleged assault last year. According to one of her lawyers, she is impaired by a shoulder injury said to have occurred during the encounter with Strauss-Kahn.


Here is a giant on the world stage trying to save his self-made reputation as a sexual glutton in a fight against a member of a lower social and economic stratum.


Whatever the outcome of her lawsuit and his counter suit, the pattern of abuse is not new. People in positions of power, that means men in particular since they have for centuries held the majority of power positions, have seen it as their prerogative to do whatever they please with females. Therefore, in a sense, Diallo’s fight is not hers alone. Too many males still have a sense that women are objects at their disposal, or essentially their property, to do with as they please.


We like to think this attitude exists in places far away, in Afghanistan, for instance. But the incident that brought Strauss-Kahn and Diallo to the headlines took place in a New York City hotel. The number of killings of women by their spouses or boyfriends, fathers or brothers right here in Canada prove the horror of this strongly held attitude, to the determent of females.


This is not an indictment of all men. Let’s be clear. But the prevalence of this attitude means we have a lot of work to do to bring about an absolute understanding of female humanity.


On female equality, here is today’s slogan: ‘This is my life, not your possession; you don’t own me.’


A note on hypocrisy…


One of the problems with having a high IQ, particularly if one also has an ego that is not held in check, is that one thinks that just about everyone else is not as intelligent. Certainly that has been a characteristic that stands out among the top guys in this current federal Conservative government. And, what is ironic about this is the characteristic arrogance that they so despised in the Liberals when that party was in power has now come to mark the attitude of the Conservatives in power.


In effect, they have become what they had so despised. Additional proof of it is in the current policies the Conservatives are advancing, changing the social texture of this country in a manner that significant portions of the Canadian populace distinctly disagree with, even in the Conservatives’ spiritual base, Alberta.



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