You’ve probably heard of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund who has been indicted on attempted rape and other charges in connection with the sexual assault of a hotel worker at a Manhattan hotel.
Joan Ditzion, an OBOS co-founder, alerted us to a petition on change.org “to unite people in support of the alleged rape victim.”
Available in English, Spanish, and French, the petition, which so far has more than 2,200 signatures, is a statement of international support for “a wake-up call to renew action against sexual violence, not only in the US where his arrest occurred and in France, where media and many public figures are portraying him as the victim, but around the world.”
Started by a group of international feminists, the statement reads:
We join French feminists in saying that just as Strauss-Kahn is innocent until proven guilty, his accuser must also be respected and believed to be credible unless proven false. We commend her employer, Sofitel, and the action of the NYC Police for taking her complaint seriously. We call for feminists around the world to join with her union (New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council Local 6) in collecting funds for legal and daily expenses, as her work is now curbed and life circumstances vastly altered. Contributions can be sent to Judson Memorial Church (attention Women’s Fund) 55 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012-1018.
We also share French feminist indignation at the deliberate and opportunistic confusion of seduction and sexual violence, from Strauss-Kahn’s declaration that he “loves women,” to the journalists and politicians who rally behind this “Great Seducer.” It is outrageous that the allegation of attempted rape during the course of a housekeeper’s work day raises issues about any woman’s life story and sexual history. And portraying powerful Strauss-Kahn as “too civilized” to commit a violent crime plays upon colonial and racist stereotypes vis-à-vis an African immigrant woman.
We adamantly oppose all harassment, sexual violence and rape, and we know that when there is a large discrepancy between the power, the wealth and racial hierarchy of the parties involved, justice is even harder to come by. All rapists and harassers believe they are entitled, and often when they are part of the power elite they assume that influence will outweigh the legal protection and freedom from coercion all women should enjoy. Feminists around the world demand that justice be done.
The topic will be discussed Wednesday, June 1, on the radio show “Joy of Resistance” on WBAI (9-10 p.m. EST). The show will focus on the critical aspects of the attempted rape case against Strauss–Kahn, and the issues surrounding it — including the international petition, the underpinnings of widespread rape, and the fact that sexual assault of women at work is an everyday occurrence.