When I was in Paris recently, the buzz was all about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, the (now former) head of the International Monetary Fund, and his charge of brutal sexual assault of an African hotel maid in New York. Initially the dominant cocktail conversation centered around his handcuffed ‘perp’ walk, something the French found horrifyingly prejudicial. It didn’t take long, however, for his history as an incessant groper of women to become the talk of the town. Women led the topic, pointing out that his actions far transcended being a womanizer and instead were indicative of an undoubtedly sick mind. And the overwhelming consensus was that his wife knew about his actions for years and looked the other way. In fact, French journalist Tristane Banon appeared on a popular French talk show way back in 2007 and said that DSK had attempted to rape her during a 2002 interview, remarking that his behavior was comparable to a “rutting chimpanzee,” resulting in ripping her clothes as she fought him off. Before his arrest, Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a Socialist, probably would have run against President Nicholas Sarkozy. Initial French polls showed that half the population actually thought the whole situation was a setup engineered by President Sarkozy.
As more stories emerged about DSK’s sexual aggression, the U.S. had its own public figure brought down by reckless sexual conduct, Arnold Schwarzenegger, making headlines. What is it with these visible, powerful cads, who think they can get away with such blatant disregard for their families and their constituents? The tide turned in America after the very public humiliation and consequent impeachment of Bill Clinton, although the spin was that Monica Lewinsky was the aggressor, and Clinton caved into his typical male desires. And as for consent, which is what DSK’s attorney is claiming about the oral sex, it’s a tough issue. I don’t believe for a minute that this DSK alleged assault was consensual, but let’s face it. There are instances when a woman has a rich, powerful boss – like the Sperminator – who chases after her while holding her employment in his hands and does what he demands. Let’s hope that more women, like the hotel maid, stand up for their rights and take these assholes down.