There’s a great deal of disappointment, even distress, in the air as news spreads that Dominique Strauss-Kahn might not be charged with rape (or attempted rape, or sexual assault). He’s guilty, the victim’s character is being attacked in order to protect him, and the Culture of Rape will emerge triumphant once again—or so I’m being told by various Emails, Tweets, etc.
On the other hand, the whole thing was a conspiracy to facilitate the pillaging of the Greek people and the replacement of DSK at the IMF by a robber baron more loyal to the Austerity Agenda. Or so I have been assured.
In addition, the entire episode illustrates the danger in recklessly charging people—especially famous and important people—with crimes, until they have first been proven guilty. Or so we are learning from Thoughtful pundits.
I actually think that some (or none) or even all of these stories could be true. What I object to is the assertion that each one is true, not because the facts demonstrate it (we haven’t been given the facts) but because that’s the way the world is.
Here’s a general depiction of the world that is true: Rape is common and traumatic and often goes unpunished; victims are put through further trauma when they press charges; honest victims are often viewed as liars; victims lacking legal status and union membership and other advantages can be even more reluctant to press charges; our culture does not sufficiently condemn rape; our mercenary firms fighting our wars can apparently rape their employees with legal immunity.
Here’s something that depiction of the world doesn’t tell us: DSK raped his accuser.
Here’s another general depiction of the world that is true: False accusations of rape are extremely common. Acquittals and exonerations through DNA suggest a large number of false convictions in cases lacking DNA evidence. Americans used to lynch large numbers of African American men on the basis of false rape accusations. Well-intentioned opponents of date-rape have preached that regret can transform sex into rape.
Here’s something that depiction of the world doesn’t tell us: DSK’s accuser lied about being raped.
Here’s another general depiction of the world that is true: Major financial interests have no shame or conscience and will engage in all variety of dirty tricks to get their way. General Motors tried to set Ralph Nader up with a phony rape charge. DSK’s downfall was perfectly timed to benefit the plutocrats and destroy the hopes of the Greek people.
Here’s something that does not tell us: DSK was set up by the global financial oligarchs.
Here’s yet another state of affairs that is true: DSK has both a suspicious history of numerous allegations of sexual harassment and assault and a great deal of financial influence himself. If any dirt could be found to defame his accuser (since no means could be found to buy her off) and if the prosecutors didn’t find it on their own, DSK was far more likely to find and provide it than your average person accused, rightly or wrongly, of a crime.
Here’s something that doesn’t tell us: DSK is getting away with rape due to the unfairness of the U.S. legal system.
Of course, we might very well know one or more of these things to be indisputably true by the end of the day or the week or the month. Or we might never know. But a great many people are convinced that they already know; and that’s what worries me.
There are international conspiracies. But there isn’t always one everywhere. There are rapes. But there isn’t always one everywhere. There are false accusations. But some accusations are true.
I get the impression that for many people these facts are theoretically recognizable but practically irrelevant.