mercredi, mai 18, 2011

Dirty old men, French and American

There is nothing romantic about rape.

And the allegations against the former head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, are those of attempted rape -- and imprisonment.

The lawyers for the French Socialist, apparently known for his aggressive habits when it comes to females, want him out on bail. Shocking, isn't it, to think of someone that wealthy wearing prison garb instead of his bespoke suit?

Let's hope they keep him at Rikers for long enough to get a sense for how ordinary criminals feel.

But really, it's droit de seigneur, or droit de dirty old men as writer Stephen Clarke called it in this morning's New York Times, that is on trial.

It's hard not to think of another person, across a continent, who had not solely an affair, but a child. That's the former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger -- when she learned that he'd fathered an illegitimate child, wife Maria Shriver moved out of their home.

In both cases, it apparently was common knowledge that both men couldn't keep it zipped. But it seems to trouble Maria Shriver more than Strauss-Kahn's wife, Anne Sinclair, a television interviewer. It seems she might have turned a blind eye to his affaires.

That being said, it doesn't mean that French women tolerate rape allegations any better than American women. It does imply, however, that there is still a double standard by which the wealthy can get away with doing things ordinary folks cannot (and certainly shouldn't) .

And hopefully, the media will ask American and French men what they think about the allegations.

As shocking a breach of decorum as it might be, a little perp walk might help the wealthy French, and their American friends, realize that rape is rape, whether it's in a 3,000-a-night hotel, or on the streets of a city. And consequences, when the truth comes out, are consequences.

We better all hope that the hotel maid has a fabulous lawyer.

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