A tale of two rape charges

May 23, 2011

By Naomi Wolf
The opinions expressed are her own.

With the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, New York City has abruptly become the scene of two very different official approaches to investigating sex-crime cases, one traditional and one new. The new approach so far appears to be reserved for Strauss-Kahn alone.

Consider the first case: the ongoing trial of two police officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, charged in the rape of a 27-year-old Manhattan woman. She was drunk, and, after helping her to enter her apartment, Moreno and Mata allegedly made a false emergency call so that they could return to her. At that point, the woman says, she woke periodically out of her intoxicated state to find herself being raped, face down, by Moreno, as Mata stood guard.

The alleged rape of a citizen by a police officer — and the alleged collusion of another officer — is surely a serious matter. But the charges and trial have followed an often-seen pattern: the men’s supporters have vociferously defended their innocence (the presumption of which has been scrupulously upheld in the press); the victim’s pink bra has been the subject of salacious speculation, and her intoxication has been used to undermine her credibility. As the wheels of justice grind unglamorously forward, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made no public statement supporting the victim’s side.

Moreover, Moreno and Mata have not been asked to strip naked for “evidence” photos, were not initially denied bail, and were not held in solitary confinement, and are not being strip-searched daily. Their entire case has followed the usual timetable of many months, as evidence was gathered, testimony compiled and arguments made.

Then there is the Strauss-Kahn approach. After a chambermaid reportedly told her supervisor at the elegant Sofitel hotel that she had been sexually assaulted, the suspect was immediately tracked down, escorted off a plane just before its departure, and arrested. High-ranking detectives, not lowly officers, were dispatched to the crime scene. The DNA evidence was sequenced within hours, not the normal eight or nine days. By the end of the day’s news cycle, New York City police spokespeople had made uncharacteristic and shockingly premature statements supporting the credibility of the victim’s narrative — before an investigation was complete.

The accused was handcuffed and escorted before television cameras — a New York tradition known as a “perp walk.” The suspect was photographed naked, which is also unusual, initially denied bail and held in solitary confinement. The Police Commissioner has boasted to the press that Strauss-Kahn is strip-searched now multiple times a day — also unheard-of.

By the end of the second day’s news cycle, senior public officials had weakened the presumption of innocence, a cornerstone of any civilized society’s justice system. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was calling for Strauss-Kahn’s resignation from the IMF, and Bloomberg remarked, in response to objections to Straus-Kahn’s perp walk, “don’t do the crime.” Whatever happened in that hotel room, Strauss-Kahn’s career, and his presumption of innocence, was effectively over — before any legal process had even begun.

If Strauss-Kahn turns out, after a fair trial, to be a violent sex criminal, may his sentence be harsh indeed. But the way in which this case is being processed is profoundly worrisome. In 23 years of covering sex crime — and in a city where domestic workers are raped by the score every month, often by powerful men — I have never seen the New York Police Department snap into action like this on any victim’s behalf.

Harriet Lessel, executive director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, agrees that this case has seen “a very quick and targeted response,” and points out that rape is “a grossly underreported crime” in New York. Worse, she says, many victims under other circumstances believe that the criminal justice system is unresponsive to their needs and more oriented toward ensuring that the innocent are not convicted.

While Lessel is quick to add that New York has “some great police officers and prosecutors who really care,” she says that the police do not normally issue public statements supportive of victims’ credibility, let alone early on, as they did with Strauss-Kahn’s accuser. Nor has she ever heard of someone being photographed naked as part of the evidence.

So what is happening here?

We now live in a world in which men like former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was investigating financial wrongdoing by the insurance giant AIG, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Strauss-Kahn — whose efforts to reform the IMF gained him powerful opponents — can be, and are, kept under constant surveillance. Indeed, Strauss-Kahn, who had been the odds-on favorite to defeat Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s French presidential election, probably interested more than one intelligence service.

This does not mean that Strauss-Kahn is innocent or that he is guilty. It means that policy outcomes can be advanced nowadays, in a surveillance society, by exploiting or manipulating sex-crime charges, whether real or inflated.

In other words, ours is increasingly an age of geopolitics by blackmail. Why, after all, were U.S. operatives asked to secure the “biometrics” and DNA of subjects abroad, as some of the U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks were revealed?

After Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, a caller to a New York radio talk show, who identified herself as a domestic worker in a New York luxury hotel, reported that “every week” a man in a towel accosts her, seeking sex. Another caller, a hotel manager, confirmed that this is a common way for male hotel guests to solicit sex. The New York Times flagged on its front page a report that hotel domestic workers are often targeted with clients’  requests for sex in exchange for money.

Are these men disgusting predators soliciting desperate, underpaid women? Yes. Is knowing about this economy relevant to the charges against Strauss-Kahn? Maybe.

Unfortunately, such questions may never be investigated, much less answered, for this is not being treated as a typical New York City sex-crime case. The authorities, perhaps with their own agenda, have publicly asserted a foregone conclusion; and that kind of intervention ultimately diminishes the chance of any one of us being able to rely on what used to be real American due process of law.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Brilliant. And I had no idea DSK was being strip searched several times a day. If it’s true, it’s appalling.

Posted by ellenfreilich | Report as abusive

“..she says, many victims under other circumstances believe that the criminal justice system is unresponsive to their needs and more oriented toward ensuring that the innocent are not convicted.” I don’t get that statement. Is not the function of the court to *ensure* the innocent are not convicted? And if *they* are innocent that means there is no victim in the first place right? What needs would a person claiming to be a victim have if no crime took place?

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Naomi Wolf:
Spot on! Your analysis needs to be splashed across the front pages of all the major newspapers and websites. All media should be asking the same questions and making the same observations.It is my firm belief DSK has been the victim of a set-up because the chambermaid’s narrative of the 15 minute alleged assault makes no sense. It simply does not add up. Instead, we have the media and officials ganging up and smearing the reputation of someone who has been ripped of his presumption of innocence.

Posted by Ceciboloca | Report as abusive

The situations in the two cases seem to be entirely different. Moreover it would be inappropriate, for legal reasons for the Mayor to say anything prior to the conclusion of the trials. In the policemen case, I wonder if they were on duty. If so what were they doing having even consentual sex while on duty? Taxpayers would like to know that.

Posted by alconnelly | Report as abusive

I appreciate Naomi’s point. I despise double standards. But I feel it is appropriate to ask, why was it so difficult in that case for Wolff to appreciate the nuances that has distinguished the treatment of Julian Assange?

Posted by monthofsundays | Report as abusive

The NYPD is a very political organization so someone higher than the NYPD has influenced their actions. If we had any investigative reporters today, someone would know by now. But since we don’t, this man could be railroaded for an offense he didn’t commit. Someone is making a statement here..whether it’s prejudice against the French, the powerful, or prejudice for an African woman. Would be interesting to know the details about the people investigating this event….race, sex, age, political leanings, etc. Does anyone have any of this information?

Posted by lezah2 | Report as abusive

Yes, it’s a little confusing, but that’s the point. This article seems to suggest that DSK was framed! But it blames the authority forces, that way taking attention away from the media which are also part of the coup (I see you Reuters). It works, because at this point voicing any opinion about the man just conveniently adds to the heap!

Posted by iwritedoper | Report as abusive

The unproven charges against DSK brings back memories of the time when a Captain Dreyfus was wrongfully convicted of treason, both were French Jews and both were serving their country honorably. After two years in Devils Island Captain Dreyfus was freed when evidence of his innocence appeared. Unsupported accusations must be suspect and not be allowed to destroy careers. The accused should have the benefit of a full investigation and jury trial before their reputation and freedom is taken away. Those found guilty of filing a false police report must be dealt with harshly.

Posted by morristhewise | Report as abusive

This was a political lynching. Six months from now it will be quietly mentioned that he was innocent. We’ll never know the real truth.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

Your points are well made. It is beginning to look similar to the Duke LaCross Players case in Durham, North Carolina. The “Time Line” bothers me and, while the defendant is known to be a womanizer, logic dictates that, like the actor Sheen or Jim Brown, he could have simply availed himself of a “hired and paid” person. Bloomberg has deep pockets. If DSK is acquitted in a NY Court, he will be sued for his “presumption of guilt”. Unfortunately tight wad that he is, he will likely settle using Citi funds, since he is Mayor ..

Posted by Bludde | Report as abusive

Why, of course the treatment is different. Moreno and Mata are cops. The rest of the cops are doing everything in their power to keep their fellow thugs out of jail.

Posted by bloozitis | Report as abusive

it is funny that these female writers are trying to clear the name of this french monster… this guy has a history of these kinds of events… it looks like after they treat IMF’s president this way they will not treat anyone else in a lesser degree…

if this women were white female i bet the accusations in here would be very different…

Posted by Ocala123456789 | Report as abusive

Let’s face it, if this particular alleged crime was not investigated in a top priority manner by NYPD, how would hotel businesses in the city ever again keep enough female maids employed (at those low wages) to keep their businesses running smoothly?
Since this involved a putative president of a European nation, Macho Men of the US felt they had to bite back on behalf of an alleged no stature victim (as are most rape victims). It is a lot less work to do that than to pro-actively ensure a safe working environment daily for those women of a “lower class”.

Posted by dnna | Report as abusive

Has anyone but me actually wrestled with their girlfriend to get an idea of what it actually takes to rape a girl? the fact is it takes a lot of exertion and most men couldn’t pull it off. Now, if you can tie her up or knock her unconscious, sure. But trying to wrestle someone really putting up a fight and do the deed. Maybe a strong young man but not an out of shape old man. No way in H***. Yeah, he’s being framed! If I were him, I would pay a women of comparable build to agree to an attempted rape by a man similar to himself. Likewise, I would offer the would be rapist a sizable reward for success. I would tape the encounter and present it to a jury. Case Closed!

Posted by hanblecheya1 | Report as abusive

The cases are obviously different. DSK was reportedly on suicide watch, hence the strip searches. NYPD wouldn’t want him to get a hold of anything he could harm himself with, now would they? He’s now out on bail to the tune of millions. Why would they treat him differently? Because he has the means to ditch bail and hob-nob with Roman Pulanski and nobody could do a thing about it.

Posted by OldeMan | Report as abusive

Interesting. Any police department is going to try and cover for their own, of course. Always have and always will.

But it may be that DSK had the misfortune, if it can be called that, to rape a maid while the NYPD was desperately looking for a high-visibility rapist to crucify.

Lets hope it all comes out in the court.

Posted by carlthefree | Report as abusive

Naomi Wolf’s analysis is spot on and needs to be splashed across the front pages of all the major newspapers and websites. All media should be asking the same questions and making the same observations.It is my firm belief DSK has been the victim of a set-up because the chambermaid’s narrative of the 15 minute alleged assault makes no sense. It simply does not add up. Instead, we have the media and officials ganging up and smearing the reputation of someone who has been ripped of his presumption of innocence.

Posted by Ceciboloca | Report as abusive

Since 9/11 the American justice system has gotten much worse at remembering that one in innocent until proven guilty (if it ever did believe that for the poor and non-white).

I believe that DSK is the victim of a political plot to discredit him but then again; What do I know?

Posted by ssg1217 | Report as abusive

What is actually “worrisome” is that DSK’s lawyers are smearing the woman who claims alleged attempted rape by DSK & alleged forced oral sex. They are saying it was consensual.

And “geopolitical blackmail”? Please, let’s not get carried away. This isn’t about politics it is about alleged sexual violence.

Kudos to the maid for pressing charges, and to the NYPD for rapidly processing the case. DNA evidence has its own tale to tell and it will probably prove this case one way or another.

Posted by JulzNYC | Report as abusive

http://misogynistnyc.blogspot.com/2011/0 5/naomi-wolf-comes-across-as-barbie.html Naomi Wolf has spent too much time in the A list world to actually write an honest piece for instance she left out the fact that both the Rape Cop lawyers and the now Ex-IMF Chief lawyers will both put the rape victim on trial, blame the victim and how the means to hire very expensive lawyers. Joe Tacopina charges $750 an hour and his partner Chad Seigel compared our women’s private parts of a Venus Fly Trap which was a warm-up for painting the drunk woman as the aggressor. Commish Kelly condemn the cops actions and they were told not to come to work. Tacopina Seigel would tell Naomi as they did the rest of the world that the poor rape cops had to endure the painful process of having their pubic hair pulled out. Rape cop admits to cuddling her but not penetration and IMF Chief rapist admits to sex but it was consensual although the victim and the blood on the bed suggest the opposite.

Posted by SuzannahBTroy | Report as abusive


Posted by remyshapiro | Report as abusive

Just a point: The policemen will never, ever, be convicted. They’ll go scot free leaving the woman to pick up the pieces. That’s justice when the police are involved.

Posted by Francophile | Report as abusive

Thank you Naomi for making the case for one of your own. That said, I can see why Dominique Strauss-Kahn finds this incident so impossible.
He just finished screwing, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and was just about to get in bed with Spain, another reluctant partner – without much trouble.

Posted by genevo | Report as abusive

Stories like this make me feel like my life is useless, will I ever know the truth around me? Every day there are several stories and things that we see and I am sure lot of them out there do not believe what they see and hear, but we just have to accept. This incident is one of them, it is hard to believe that DSK is being treated like most wanted criminal in the world.

Posted by neozeon | Report as abusive

Sure, I approve of the concept of innocent until proven guilty, but usually the rich and powerful members of high society don’t even get officially accused of wrongdoing.

After three years and relentless public outcry by the minority of Americans who realize what happened in the years leading up to the Collapse of 2007/2008, an investigation of Goldman Sachs may finally produce criminal charges.

If America’s memory had been just a little bit shorter, I believe there would have been no consequences for Wall Street beyond scoldings and fines.

Such a vigorous response to DSK’s crime must have something to do with the sexual aspect of the accusation. Little else evokes such a collective gasp from ordinary Americans.

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive

I think a lot of responses here are missing the point. This article is not about suggesting DSK has framed. I think it’s very clear that Ms. Wolf has not suggested that. Instead, this article makes a great point about social, political and media responses to allegations about sexual assault. Generally, victims of sexual assault are questioned or blamed when they go (or are made to go) public with allegations of abuse. There is a widespread tendency to disbelieve sexual assault victims in our culture. The social support for the victim of DSK is, in my opinion, extremely outside of the ordinary. I think this article only stands to suggest that the public support here is due to the fact that to villify DSK may be politically useful, whereas it is not politically useful (to those in power) to villify two members of NYPD.

Posted by ktoner | Report as abusive

The policies and procedures have always been held hostage to the whims of those who influence and help shape the outcome to their desired end.These vested interests have an agenda so intense of their own that they forget the norms laid out to ensure due legal process is completed without prejudice.

Posted by schadha100 | Report as abusive

I feel like there is a good chance the man is guilty of this crime given his history. But I feel someone should point this out. DSK is putting together a package to bail out the deadbeats of the European Union’s economy. The EU is one of our principal competitors economically. But 2 plus 2 doesn’t always equal four.

Posted by ronryegadfly | Report as abusive

The whole of this OpEd is flawed. It is written in order to attack the NYPD and current governor. This writer is peppering truth with lies. In a Goebellian writer’s strategy.
We had several facts:
1- People must have rights preserved. No matter if poor, humble or rich and powerful.
2- The accuser have plenty of evidence of Dominick Strauss Kahn all over her. There is body fluid.
3- The defendant – DSK – Dominick was on board plane, en route to leave the United States.

Fact is he even forgot his mobile phone. He left in a hurry. He was alredy aboard an airplane.

The possiblitiy that there maybe a case of allegged crime from the NYPD officers does not exhonerate DSK. Two wrongs does not make any right and BOTH women deserves justice served.
Spitzer disgraced the seat of governor of NY because he lied. Most people does not care for his phillandering. We do care of PERJURY from Bill Clinton. We already know too that if DSK had fled, the same Naomi would write a piece criticizing the NYPD for letting him go easily.
There is enought evidence to see that Naomi Wolf has a special type of reasoning. There is at least two reports of rape on the same DSK. Dominick has disgraced the IMF when he abused his powers to get sex from his assistant. Even more so because it was perpetrated in Davos, while on duty. Dominick has also attacked a newswoman in France.
And yes. He must be as well contemplating suicide. This is the REASON why he has to be strip searched. He is a coward in the sexual real. Must be a coward when facing the reality.
Get your facts straight.

Posted by edharrys | Report as abusive

Wow – I had to check the biography to make sure that this was the same Naomi Wolf….you know, the feminist? What a joke.

What the hell happened, Naomi? This is how you react to powerful men getting their comeuppance? With defense and sympathy? What a nauseating opinion piece.

I understand your argument about “secret world powers are doing constant surveillance on powerful men,” and it fails on the merits – everyone knew about this guy, there was no surveillance necessary. If this guy really wanted to see his policy agenda furthered, he should have stopped raping women awhile ago. (The same goes for Eliot Spitzer and his prostitute problem.) Nobody is making these men act this way, and if they are the only people capable of advancing a progressive agenda, then maybe that agenda should be re-examined.

Also, do you think that maybe, just maybe, the reason the news media were all like “He’s toast,” immediately after the arrest is because they knew that this person was an out-of-control sexual predator? It kind of sounds like everyone was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And I don’t think that hotel maids everywhere will much appreciate your implication that they are all whores.


In contrast to the aspersions cast by Ms. Wolfe, I would like to take a moment to commend the character of this hotel worker: she is sticking to her guns despite being quietly offered huge sums of money to recant the charges and refuse to testify (DSK’s wife is a billionaire heiress).

This hotel worker came to this country as a refugee, and I hope that her dreams and hopes for the promise of this country are upheld by the process of justice. She, unlike the well-connected smug insiderish I’ll-hate-women-too-if-you-just-let-me-i n-your-club pseudo progressivism of Ms. Wolfe, represents the best of America.

Posted by Seneca_Falls | Report as abusive

In the historical contest many the top tank people, has ben protected or executed like in Imperial China, or strangled like in Europe from Roman Empire to Medieval period, for different type of crimes .
Today to establish some connection if difficult, but we must concentrate in values, as when money and power became the only source of a narcissistic society , this is the result. Probably DSK, developed a charming personality, part of a mental disorder. Nobody around him suspected ?? perhaps !! May be he was i victim of his grandiosity.

https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&shva =1#inbox/13011c454f511e73

Posted by xuande | Report as abusive

Naomi: there are huge differences between the cases you discuss. There’s no ADN evidence at all showing that the “victim” in the NYPD case was raped. However, there’s plenty of it in the Strauss-Kahn case. THere’s no evidence that the “victim” in the police case had any sex. The scene for the Strauss-Kahn case is very favorable to the hypothesis of violence and unlikely for a hypothesis of consent. Strauss-Kahn has a history that is quite compatible with the hypothesis of violence. The claim about violently forced sex came much earlier in the case of SK than in the case of the NYPD case. SK has tried to rape his daughter’s best friend! Even trying to seduce one’s daughter’s best friend would be considered a beastly behavior. SK has a history of making passes at female receptionists, trying to rape a socialist representative in France. He’s not normal.

Posted by voltairianskep | Report as abusive

Funny, I never thought of the two NYC Police Officers as flight risks. Nor do they have an entire nation out there willing to shelter them for a lifetime. But of course the analogy is the same…

Posted by shedemon | Report as abusive

I would have preferred to see the 2 police officers who were charged with raping the woman in the east village succumb to a body search. Since their duty is to protect her, not rape her… in terms of DSK I was bothered by the denial of bail, as bail is standard in these types of cases, The judge was swept away by all the cameras… The only reason Port Authority and NYPD arrested him so quickly is because he called the hotel looking for his cell phone and asked the hotel to bring the phone to the airport and gave the hotel is flight information. Its not because the police are efficient far from it. They treated him differently because of his stature and position. Its all politically motivated. Don’t get me wrong I do believe he attacked the maid and he does have a pattern in his past of using force against women sexually. But i believe the degree in which his rights were so trampled over is disturbing…..I have no doubt the maid is telling the truth 100%. Look on another level, when a person has a serious character flaw in their makeup and his violent, disrespectful and sexually assaults women, its just a matter of time that eventually this will turn around and bite him in the ass, his time has finally come…….! Justice is for all…Where is Al Pacino when you need him?

Posted by BPF | Report as abusive

The French have a right to be pissed. This could very well be a scandal meant to take out the probable future president of France.

Posted by kc10man | Report as abusive

The solid facts/evidence about this alleged sexual assault are still unknown. So any statements here to that effect are sheer speculation. The only thing we have are the 7 charges filed by the D.A.’s office- all based on the believability of the chambermaid’s words. Nothing else.

Posted by Ceciboloca | Report as abusive

Ms. Wolf comes shamefully down on the side of those described by a commentator in Le Monde this weekend, who said “Once again, the French elite are outraged at the workings of the justice system when it is applied to one of their own.”
I can make no sense whatsoever of the garbled references to former Gov. Spitzer, who was misusing his privileges and could have been prosecuted. Would Ms. Wolf have had him or other violators not under surveillance?
Ms. Wolf criticizes the tenor of public debate about the cases of the police officers and of Mr. S-K. Does she presume people do not have opinions, or suggest that there be no public debate?
Had the NYPD dragged their feet in the investigation Ms. Wolf would have been the first to accuse them of being dilatory. Would she have had the case handled by less-experienced officers? She is perhaps hoping for another botched case on the model of O-J.
Ms. Wolf has clearly determined that the police officers are guilty. Unlike Mr. S-K, neither of them has a history of the sort of behavior they are on trial for.
Had Mr. S-K been allowed to leave the country there would have been no way to return him to the jurisdiction, whereas the officers could have been forced to return.
Prisoners under suicide watch are routinely searched for their own good, as required by the rules of their incarceration. What would Ms. Wolf have said if Mr. S-K did indeed manage to commit suicide while in NYPD custody?
What in the world is meant by “geopolitics by blackmail?” Should justice not be the goal?
Since some chambermaids and men may solicit favors from hotel guests, does this in any way justify the alleged behavior of Mr. S-K? Was he only “doing what everybody else does,” so it was OK?
I could go on, but it would only further dignify this absurd diatribe.

Posted by RichardNYC | Report as abusive

Naomi, you have convincingly described your misgivings about the handling of two separate accusations of rape in New York City. With respect to one case, you raise the possibility of overzealous prosecution; in the other, you suggest a lack of interest in convicting anyone at all.

So… what is the moral imperative?

For now, I have to take my usual path and assume the women are telling the truth, the cops are guilty, so is DSK, all the authorities in both New York and Paris are incurably corrupt, and that if justice is done in either case, it will be purely coincidental.

More I do not know.

Posted by Ralphooo | Report as abusive

Naomi made the same excuses for Bill Clinton – who had numerous women come forward to say he did more than abuse his power with an intern, but groped and flashed and raped just like DSK.

And the bail issue is a joke. DSK would fly the coop given a chance and everyone knows it.

Posted by Parker1227 | Report as abusive

two thoughts on the story: any other female would have hurt him instead of pleasuring him, cause she (the victim) is in control (doing the action) while he is still!

with the cops, they should be charged twice, once for committing the crime and once more for betraying the trust.

Posted by nouh | Report as abusive

Until reading many of the posts regarding this article it hadn’t occurred to me that the article was anything more than a healthy questioning of the inconsistency surrounding due process of law. Were we to extract the names, status of the accused, privilege, position, politics, from the simple facts surrounding this case I think we’d agree that our social and legal justice systems are themselves revealing signs of decay. DSK may be a criminal, but justice isn’t properly served when the first step after an arrest is to throw a rope over a tree limb.

Posted by Baldylocks | Report as abusive

Same as it always was. History is replete with the abuses of powerful men against less powerful women – all in the name of a hard-on and a hormonal itch.

Powerful men generally have gobs of women throwing themselves at them (also driven by genetic mandates to find wealthy nest builders). This makes powerful men start to believe that ALL women really want “it” from them, and if they don’t, there must be something wrong with them.

Add in the huge number of political ideologues and sycophants (like Naomi Wolfe), who are willing to “man” the ramparts and turn truth up-side-down for “the cause” and we get what we get: powerful men who think they have carte blanche to cajole and or force far less powerful women than they to meet their selfish needs to be bull elks and have a harem at their disposal.

Anything for the cause, right Naomi?

Posted by Parker1227 | Report as abusive

Whenever i doubt claims the USA has become a polarised society, my hesitation is demolished by a quick trawl through news articles and the associated commentary. It seems ‘the middle way’ has become something of a no-mans-land.

Conspiracy theories (always a favourite), demonisation of groups through the extreme actions of minorities, complex arguments reduced to Republican/Democrat policy posturing and calls to action on completely non-related issues are very satisfying fare for this observer from Down Under. It’s reassuring to be reminded that our Australian versions of injustice, cronyism and stupity are no more than a reflection of the global malaise.

The treatment of the IMF fellow seems pretty reasonable really… It’s probably a case of the NYPD being ‘damned if they do, and damned if they don’t’ so it’s good to see that they have acted promptly, and didn’t attempt to sweep things under the carpet. The assumption of guilt is a breach of protocol at the least, and you’d expect appropriate reprimands on that front but it doesn’t negate the positive of swift action.

The comparison with the police officers doesn’t really seem warranted, other than to highlight the lack of action on the sex charges.

So we have two valid stories, and a journalist using the comparison to raise a few pertinent points.

That’s just good journalism, isn’t it?

(and a tip o’ the ‘at to all who fume in outrage at my flippancy – love your work).

Posted by iambemused | Report as abusive

Ah, USA, outspoken critic of other countries’ human rights.

Posted by greenacres | Report as abusive

And this man devoted his entire life to public service. I wonder if I high ranking American national would have gotten the same treatment??

Posted by Maaike | Report as abusive

[…] de mineure droguée pendant plus de 30 ans grâce au refus français d’extradition), se retrouver du côté des Français apparemment nombreux à soutenir la thèse du complot contre DSK […]

Posted by Affaire DSK: Séduction en-deçà de l’Atlantique, viol au-delà (From Antioch to Sofitel: Blame it all on date rape!) « jcdurbant | Report as abusive

Great article Naomi, though your last line (that kind of intervention ultimately diminishes the chance of any one of us being able to rely on what used to be real American due process of law.) makes me pause: Did it ever truly exist? Or is the legal system in most (political) instances a mere semblance of “justice” manipulated by the strongest bidder?

Posted by kt1 | Report as abusive

Strauss Kahn is a leftie.

Naomi is a leftie.

Case closed.

Posted by edharrys | Report as abusive

Sounds like you would have prefered DSK to be treated like Moreno and Mata. And you make it sound like what he did was trivial, just because it is “a common way for male hotel guests to solicit sex.” Indeed, justice has to be applied with equal strength, but DSK is not a victim. Precisely because he is a men of high power and public duty, the approach to him needs to be perfectly strict and examplary.

Posted by Pavelan | Report as abusive

[…] Look at the amount of doubt cast on victims’ purity, trustworthiness, or general character. In a severely misguided piece, Reuters writer Naomi Wolf would seem to have us believe that actually taking allegations seriously […]

Posted by Coming Out of the (Rape) Closet | say it ain’t sho. | Report as abusive

[…] Look at the amount of doubt cast on victims’ purity, trustworthiness, or general character. In a severely misguided piece, Reuters writer Naomi Wolf would seem to have us believe that actually taking allegations seriously […]

Posted by Coming Out of the (Sexual Violence) Closet | say it ain’t sho. | Report as abusive

Ceciboloca et al, you make me throw up a bit… with your male bravado and knowital tin foil hat. Was 14 minutes too little time? You would have raped her for longer?

Do not forget he was in a hurry and was about to meet his daughter before his flight… but no, it doesn’t add up. No matter his DNA is all over her and he left his cell phone behind. You need to read the Ben stein URL I added at the bottom. He is with you entirely and by the same logic I am sure.

After reading your comments and others I am sure that even fewer women will come forward after being raped. The humiliation and violation and in this woman’s case, trying to violate her every orifice, wasn’t enough. (There are 6 charges pending remember…)

Now she has to be accused of a conspiracy and having asked for it (which the French have done being they presume the victim wanted it and it was a setup… but do not presume guilt!) She will also have to endure a trial, more accusations… and a lifetime of memories of the assault. (none of which she “asked” for…)

His French friends understand his hormonal urges… and offer this defense:

“Dominique Strauss-Kahn is well-known as a seducer,” his official biographer, Michel Taubmann, said. “I can’t believe he would force himself on an unwilling woman. That doesn’t make sense.”

“Why all the fuss? It’s merely a bit of hanky-panky with the help,” said Jean-François Kahn, the crusading editor of the Left-wing Marianne weekly.

Jack Lang, a law don famous for having been François Mitterrand’s high-profile, graffiti-loving, diversity-fostering Culture Minister, dismissed it all rather infelicitously as an “overblown” affair: “Really, nobody died in that hotel room.”


Ben Stein wishes everyone would presume his innocence because he is an economist and you really have to read his defense of DSK… as it is unbelievable.

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/05/17  /presumed-innocent-anyone

I, as a woman, and one who was molested 3 times by men, and feel the lasting anguish that violence brings would rather fight for the rights of the victim. I am glad DSK was treated as anyone else would be and hope that the police officers are criminally charged if they are also guilty.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

Naomi, to compare it to the NYPD case, where they (and most police forces) have been known to protect their own… is just silly. Was their DNA? Were the police officers a flight risk?

As a ‘journalist’ what you should be questioning is why the rape kits are warehoused for years until no longer viable… and why rape is not considered a violent act upon women all of the time… no matter how wealthy, powerful or protected the person is, who is alleged to have raped.

No one should get off because they hired a powerful lawyer … and NO ONE should be above the law. If Rikers does 4 strip searches (before each admittance, before trial, before admittance again to ensure not carrying weapons) then of course DSK got that same treatment.

That you are appalled that DSK was violated in his nether regions is rather ironic… and make you sound elitist and prejudiced.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

I meant was ‘there’ DNA, lest you accuse me of being an ignorant woman who does not deserve to he heard.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

Naomi Wolf is being deliberately dense in comparing these cases. Obviously, the political ramifications are huge. That’s why top level detectives are assigned to this case. The authorities are humans and they make mistakes. The application of justice is a messy affair. The law attempts to create an equal playing field, but the reality is that a powerful celebrity accused will not have the same experience as an unknown indigent accused nor will two cops have the same experience before the legal system. This is obvious.

One positive to come out of the controversy of the “perp walk” is that it has brought an unfair practice into the limelight. She is correct that this should be done away with. Another lesson, this one for France. Publishing the name and personal details of an alleged rape victim is disgusting and wrong. Time to fix that practice as well. I won’t be holding my breath for either result.

One may criticize the skewed treatment of celebrities in criminal proceedings, but one may not use this unequal treatment to imply the innocence or guilt of the accused or accuser. The events in the hotel room are what they are. Nothing the authorities do after the fact has the power to go back in time and change what happened (whatever that was).

Two anonymous sources just leaked that DSK’s dna has been found on the alleged victim. Those anonymous sources have betrayed the system, possibly tainting the jury pool even more than all the publicity already has.

Let’s be honest. Almost everyone has made up their minds whether DSK is innocent or guilty, and not a single person other than DSK and the accuser actually knows for a fact what happened. When you read the comments and articles and reactions, remember this. People are proclaiming hardened beliefs about a subject which they have absolutely no proof one way or another. C’est tres milleng, non?

You may have an opinion. You may be inclined to think he is guilty or innocent. But to proclaim as fact your belief in his guilt or innocence, as 99% of the commenters here have done, only proves your own lack of objectivity, and nothing else.

You people are all thus proven guilty of shameless ignorance and thoughtless bias.

Case closed. You are hereby sentenced to a life of confused ignorance, until you free your mind. Then your rear-end will follow. :)

Posted by BajaArizona | Report as abusive

Correction: It seems 99% is too high a percentage. More like 75%, but I don’t like math and I have better things to do than calculate exact percentages of commenters opinions.

Hopefully, you get my drift.

Posted by BajaArizona | Report as abusive

The two cops allegedly had sex with an unconscious woman so not taking pics of them naked makes sense. Therewould have been no wounds on them because she wasn’t aware enough to attempt to fight them off. The woman was drunk and that should be enough to say she couldn’t give consent.
On the other hand Strauss-Kahn’s alleged victim fought him off so he could possibly have wounds on him. Isn’t a strip search standard procedure for inmates? Strauss-Kahn was boarding a plan to Europe so he was indeed a flight risk. Now it seems that Strauss-Kahn’s people are attempting to bribe the victims families in Guinea. Of course this case is going to be handled differently.

Posted by Libra_lady | Report as abusive

This just puts the wedge that bush created back in place,
the rest of the world wishes the US walks the way it talks,
we thought with Obama,the US would again take its place as
leaders in democracy,but more and more they show they will
twist it to suit their needs,Europeans are horrified to see
Strauss-Kahn frog marched in cuffs,We see this when he is
found guilty,but not when accused,Big interests in the US
did not like the IMFs social direction under Kahn.But its just confirms the Hypocrisy of the US,if its syria or libya they support action,but if its Bahrain,Israel they
fall silent.Its a sad day for everyone who believed in the US, especially Obamas presidency.The great dream is over.

Posted by radray | Report as abusive


A rape in New York City is handled by the NYPD, not the executive branch of the federal government. He is not a king.

I’m sorry that you’re such a moron.

Posted by BajaArizona | Report as abusive

I am so happy to finally see a converging view with my own opinion. And an american one. And a woman !

DSK is still under judgement and has not expressed himself, so he deserves innocence presumption: that’s the rule of the game or there’s no justice. How despicable all these lynching calls, in the supposed name of justice !

Innocent till proved guilty. That’s all

DSK is a proven womanizer. There are so far unsubstantiated rumors of quite oppressive seduction behaviors, even rape attempts. He’s certainly not my kind of person, even though I admire his political and economical skills. I would not be surprised he’s guilty of something in this NY case, though not something deserving 74 years of jail, but since i was not there, I would not ever claim anything, but his right to be judged fairly.

Regarding the political agenda of NYPD, I am too far to have good insights but i’m really surprised of their absence of doubts and their adamant reactiveness. Is Wall Street in NY, by any chance ?

(from paris)

Posted by no.pub | Report as abusive

Harriet Lessel: “Worse, she says, many victims under other circumstances believe that the criminal justice system is unresponsive to their needs and more oriented toward ensuring that the innocent are not convicted”

You report this without challenge.

There was once a principle “that it is better to let 99 guilty defendants walk, than to convict one innocent”.

Is this principle abandoned in general, or just for sex crimes?

Posted by Dafydd | Report as abusive

Typical response of yours Baja.Your Treasury secretary opened the door by comments he made.Euro officials always
follow the line of no comment cant comment,because you wait
until a trial is over.Anyway if he was a King maybe of saudi
arabia or Bahrain,your government would find some way of
shutting it down.They always take care of the right OH sorry !!Wrong people.And having opinion makes debate,using
slurs is very childish,Grow up.

Posted by radray | Report as abusive

“And having opinion makes debate,using
slurs is very childish,Grow up.”

No, having opinion doesn’t make debate. Having facts makes debate. Visiting Kings and Princes and other heads of state/government functionaries have diplomatic immunity. The worst we can do to a Saudi King is deport, even in the case of murder. DSK had limited diplomatic immunity, but since he wasn’t on IMF business, it didn’t apply. Obama has the power to pardon, but only after a trial and conviction. Your demand that he “would find some way of shutting it down” is rooted in ignorance. You are ignorant of the facts. That may hurt your feelings, but the facts are unchanged.

If you want your “debate” to be respected, stop making facts up in your mind and start learning how the world actually works.

Posted by BajaArizona | Report as abusive

[…] an article entitled “A tale of two rape charges” Naomi Wolf, most famously known as the author of The Beauty Myth and most recently known as the […]

Posted by A WOLF in sheep’s clothing: Maya and Lori take on Naomi’s latest misguided speakout | Report as abusive

@ BajaArizona, as a responsible citizen I would be truthful and recuse myself as a jury member if my remarks didn’t do it for me. I am well aware of my bias and reasons for my opinions to be so. I am not shamefully ignorant, however…

I allow my impartiality to show and I also allow that he may be found innocent in a court of law should the evidence not back up the story.

Although that same jury will not be able to hear of his past offenses and attempted rapes, I have and I make my opinion based on that. His lecherous behaviour makes him deserved of my dislike and presumption of guilt.

Let the lawyers duke it out in court, where his presumption of innocence and the law that allows him that privilege will take place. In my individual court of law, he would be castrated as he laid a hand on me.

Are you one of the same lawyers of friend of the accused that would proclaim or buy his innocence or pay for his lawyer or bribe the family or the judge to ensure it?

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

[…] A tale of two rape charges […]

Posted by Elizabeth Smart, 23, confronts Brian David Mitchell in open court today!… :: Jetsetting Magazine | Report as abusive

“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

G. Orwell

Posted by BajaArizona | Report as abusive

hsvkitty, no I’m not impartial. I’m not the legal system, I’m not on the jury, so I don’t need to be.

DSK somehow got his DNA all over the victim, her injuries are consistent with her story, the police only knew what flight number was because he called the front desk.

There is no conspiracy.

Posted by BajaArizona | Report as abusive

[…] enforcement officials forced him to be photographed naked, and the police commissioner apparently bragged, when he was initially denied bail and held in solitary confinement, that he was strip-searched […]

Posted by The Freedom Bulletin | Report as abusive

[…] Polanski, but they may not know how the U.S. criminal justice system works. Former feminist Naomi Wolf has sympathy for DSK. As in her defense of accused rapist Julian Assange, she points out that the […]

Posted by Men say they are civilized, for the most part (by Suzie) | ObamaPress | Report as abusive

I grant Naomi Wolf’s point that DSK is being treated differently than the usual accused rapist in NYC.

Which is right? — the treatment the police gave M&M or the treatment of DSK?

Did Naomi Wolf listen to Harriet Lessel?

“Rape is “a grossly underreported crime” in New York. Worse, she says, many victims under other circumstances believe that the criminal justice system is unresponsive to their needs and more oriented toward ensuring that the innocent are not convicted.”

Naomi Wolf seems perfectly happy to give a kid-gloves treatment to someone accused of rape. She seems perfectly happy to be unresponsive to the victim’s needs.

Naomi Wolf should know better. In these two cases the accused already have a massive power advantage. Not just that of rapist over victim but also the advantage of being a part of the power structure itself. I’m with Harriet Lessel.

Time to treat accused rapists like folks accused of other crimes. And time to remove the kid gloves when the accused culprit is someone “important.” Rebecca Solnit in yesterday’s New America Media makes that last point beautifully. I’ll close with her opening lines about the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

“How can I tell a story we already know too well? Her name was Africa. His was France. He colonized her, exploited her, silenced her and even decades after it was supposed to have ended, still acted with a high hand in resolving her affairs in places like Côte d’Ivoire, a name she had been given because of her export products, not her own identity.

“Her name was Asia. His was Europe. Her name was silence. His was power. Her name was poverty. His was wealth. Her name was Her, but what was hers? His name was His, and he presumed everything was his, including her, and he thought he could take her without asking and without consequences. It was a very old story, though its outcome had been changing a little in recent decades. And this time around the consequences are shaking a lot of foundations, all of which clearly needed shaking.”

Stephen Voss

Posted by Zapata | Report as abusive

Yet another example of the two Americas, one for the wealthy, where powerful interests move quickly, so quickly in fact that they are able to make an arrest within hours of the supposed crime, and the America without money, where crimes drag on for months without any progress.

Posted by lhathaway | Report as abusive

I am certain that the cops raped the woman because they had no business being in her apartment. If she was to drunk and needed medicinal assistance they would have called 911. It’s common knowledge by the way that cops commit crimes all the time. My father was a cop and he told me that about half of them where corrupts. There is also nothing like cops solidarity and judges giving cops the green light 99% of the time. In my case the cops made forgeries in order to frame. Search google with: Turku police forgeries . But lets go back to Dominique Strauss-Kah. It is also common knowledge that the rich and wealthy can get away with anything 99% of the times but in this case not? I don’t say he did or not because I wasn’t there but everything points to a setup to frame for sex crimes. “If” the maid had his DNA over her body I do not know but even if she had this still would not be a sign for rape nor any scratches on her body since she could have made them herself but he is already condemned before any investigation started? I am certain it’s political and most likely a setup. “You are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty under a court of law”. I grow up with this. So what happen since my school days? Accusations = guilt? Reminds me of the fake rape charges towards Assagne, founder of wikileaks.

Posted by Demetrenos | Report as abusive

[…] Read the original article on Reuters. […]

Posted by A tale of two rape charges – Naomi Wolf at Chelsea Green | Report as abusive

[…] A tale of two rape charges. (Reuters) […]

Posted by So Last Week: Sex News You May Have Missed | JamYe WaXman M.Ed. | Sex & Sexuality Educator, Author, Podcaster | Report as abusive

[…] leave a comment » via blogs.reuters.com […]

Posted by A tale of two rape charges | The Great Debate « The Leslie Brodie Report | Report as abusive

[…] from feminist writer Naomi Wolf. If I was going to defend Strauss-Kahn, I’m sure I wouldn’t have ingenuity to throw in […]

Posted by Gee, SK | CIRCUSMAXIMO | Report as abusive

[…] Naomi Wolf: A tale of two rape charges […]

Posted by The Freedom Bulletin | Report as abusive

[…] reporting on rape crimes in the US and Western Europe for over two decades argues in her article A tale of two rape charges that NYC has taken a very different approach to investigating the DSK case than any previous […]

Posted by Jessica Espinoza » Blog Archive » Power, Sex and Public Opinion | Report as abusive


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