The French have long been laissez-faire with regard to adultery and extramarital affairs, yet such moral laxity could never have been achieved and sustained without the permissive attitudes of women. Rather than taking responsibility, it seems many Frenchwomen have, in their laziness, created monsters by allowing adultery to grow to epic proportions. This coddling of their Frenchmen has now infected our shores (thank you, Anne Sinclair) as 62-year old Dominique Strauss-Kahn has made yet another attempt (surely this is not the first) to cross a boundary and then run away like a two-year old, looking over his shoulder to see if Mommy will react or he will get caught.
The question that should keep everyone and his wife up at night is, “Why does Dominique think rape and sexual assault is acceptable?” Is he drinking from the same lecherous chalice of entitlement that Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger have sipped? Is the plan to keep acting out and hurting people – both spouse and victim – for as long as he can until he gets caught?
As a means of trying to understand why Anne Sinclair would fall all over herself insisting upon Dominique’s innocence, we must understand the context. The most obvious reason why so many Frenchmen have affairs is because women allow it and look the other way, practically rewarding them for their disrespectful behavior with their continued presence. Like it or not, since the beginning of time women have found themselves in the unenviable and tiresome role of policing relationships. Backs up against a wall, many women have been forced to react in one of two ways: either blow the whistle, slap on a warning and ultimately walk away from the relationship, or conspicuously ignore and bury their heads in the sand consumed in denial, thereby emboldening the perpetrator to keep treating them like shit and betraying them either emotionally or physically. In France, raping a woman and forcibly demanding subserviency from an innocent victim bears the same punishment as a minor drug possession or sale might in the US (2-5 years). Suffice it to say, we are not making the friends with the French with this very public trial of Dominque. They are doubtless rolling their eyes over the gravity with which we treat rape or any sex crimes in the US for that matter. It would not be a stretch to imagine that Anne might want us to adopt the very maxim that has allowed Dominique to go off the rails for so many years “Boys will be boys.”
Sadly, that’s not the way we play in the Yankee sandbox. Beyond Anne’s view of our puritanical morals, she could also be furiously concerned with the lining of her own pockets and the imminent downfall of DSK’s career. Should he have perhaps thought about that before he savagely grabbed the Guinean maid’s breasts and forced himself upon her in the light of midday? Now let’s not get carried away here.
True to form, 57% of French believe this is a conspiracy theory aiming to threaten Strauss-Kahn’s political aspirations against Sarkozy. The preference has been to doubt the veracity of a single mother emigrant trying to raise her 15-year-old daughter in the Bronx over holding a Manchild accountable for his actions.
It is unfortunate that men such as Domnique, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tiger Woods had to experience such a loud thud of reality as a result of their sexual flagrancy. Their consequences have ranged from ruined careers to soiled reputations to discomfort of looking one’s self in the mirror to potential jail time. At least Tiger and Arnold engaged in something consensual, one might argue. Mike Tyson got 10 years for rape; perhaps Dominique will slide through with the same. Would these men have had to experience such dire consequences if their animalistic behavior were nipped in the bud, offense by offense, instead of responded to with a flippant “Oh, isn’t that cute, he’s virile!?” Time is nothing more than the space between a crime and consequence. Dominique couldn’t have thought he would keep looking over his shoulder forever. Surely at least one woman would find the self-respect to take a stand and speak for all of the women he devalued.
In a letter to the IMF board, Dominique Strauss-Kahn denied “with the greatest possible firmness” the allegations he sexually assaulted a hotel maid. This is too easy. No one doubts for a moment that our dear rogue was firm. Perhaps next time, (if our justice system grants Monsieur a next time) taking care of himself in the bathroom would prove the more prudent decision bearing far fewer consequences. As it was, he could have spared himself the loss of a few swimmers, gotten on the plane peacefully without forgetting his phone and gone back to his wife’s permissive arms. As it is now, he has destroyed his life in one fell swoop. Tant pis, tant pis.
Update: It appears our Dear Dominique has wiggled out of trouble this time. How did he do it? What are the implications? A former IMF employee, Piroska Nagy, told a Paris prosecutor who was assigned to a new sexual assault case he faces back home: “I felt that I was ‘damned if I did and damned if I didn’t’,” she added. Mr Strauss-Kahn was “an aggressive if charming man”, she wrote, with a “problem that may make him ill-equipped to lead an institution where women work under his command”.