“Don’t You Know Who I Am?”

Bernard-Henri Levy goes another round. Self-parody:

I maintain that those who are surprised that one doesn’t take the side of the “poor, immigrant woman” as a matter of principle against the “rich and arrogant white man” who supposedly has raped her are reinventing a kind of class justice in reverse. It’s no longer, as before, “poor bastards, the rich are always right” but “rich bastards, the word of the poor is sacred.” This prejudice is as disgusting, no more, no less, than the precedent, and this reversal recalls—at least in France—the notorious affair of Bruay-en-Artois of the early ‘70s, when, because he was a bourgeois, a notary was decreed guilty of a crime, one which, it was later determined, once the winds of hysteria had died down and his existence was already a shambles, he had not, in reality, committed. And thinking about it makes a shiver go down one’s spine.

Good God. He's now in Ben Stein territory. Yes, of course, the courts will and should determine this. Yes, of course, tabloids are tabloids – although I retain a grain of deep Fleet Street respect for the New York Post headline "Frog Legs It." Yes, I agree, the perp walk is de trop. But are we not supposed to notice the reports of the alleged victim after the alleged rape? That she was barely able to speak, kept spitting out of her mouth, had DSK's sperm on her dress, and was clearly traumatized? How does BHL explain that, after a mere romantic interlude in a hotel room? Did she come on to him? Seriously? And even if she did, her trauma does not seem as if consent continued in the violent encounter. Can you even imagine what Strauss-Kahn looks like naked? Does he actually think that could be attractive to anyone – if you were not attracted to his personality or power?

Now we read reports that he is trying to bribe her impoverished family in Guinea and this:

Meanwhile, in another development yesterday, it emerged that Strauss-Kahn allegedly shouted, "Do you know who I am?" as he assaulted the victim, according to a new report. "Don't you know who I am? Don't you know who I am?" Strauss- Kahn repeatedly inquired during the incident, according to Fox News.

"Please, please stop. No!" she cried as he pinned her to the bed, law-enforcement sources said. "Please stop. I need my job, I can't lose my job, don't do this. I will lose my job. Please, please stop!"

In a heartless reply, Strauss-Kahn, allegedly told her, "No, baby. Don't worry, you're not going to lose your job," sources said, adding that he again repeated, "Don't you know who I am?" While she begged him to stop, he allegedly pressed the attack, dragging her down the hall and forcing her to perform oral sex.

The maid finally escaped by pushing him into a piece of furniture in the $3,000-a-night Sofitel suite, she said. Sources said that the Frenchman has a gash on his back where he hit the armoire and that blood was found on the sheets. Investigators also confirmed a DNA match between Strauss-Kahn and a semen sample found on the maid's shirt.

The core of sexual abuse is an abuse of power: power of physical strength or social standing. It is a violation of a core human freedom and a way to enforce the subjugation of women to men. In many ways, the power differential matters more here than in many other crimes. That is why I refused to dismiss the credible claims of Paula Jones and Anita Hill who were treated as a social inferior told to "suck it" in a hotel room, and an employee for whom sexual abuse was part of the deal. It revealed something ugly in the souls of Bill Clinton and Clarence Thomas.

The woman here, more to the point, is apparently an asylum case from West Africa. Can you imagine what she escaped? To come to America and allegedly be raped by the head of the IMF is almost a parody of a power-differential. I have no interest in pursuing people's consensual adult sex lives. But this – judging merely from the victim's traumatized reaction and the physical evidence – was not that. Maybe there is something we do not yet know. Maybe DSK has a thing for armoires and blood to turn him on. But from what we do know, DSK is already a molesting brute.

Earlier thoughts here and here.