When is a Victim truly the “Victim?”: Examining The Strauss Kahn Case

Beulah Osueke September 05, 2011

International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss Kahn has recently been accused and acquitted of rape charges directed toward him by an African immigrant, Nafissatou Diallo. Earlier this year, Diallo, a hotel maid, told police authorities that Strauss-Kahn forced her to perform oral sex on him as she entered his hotel room to clean.

When is a Victim truly the “Victim?”: Examining The Strauss Kahn Case

According to BBC Africa, DNA has proved that the two did in fact share a “hurried” sexual encounter but there isn’t enough evidence to prove  that an actual rape occurred. Diallo’s claims of assault are the only indication that the encounter was forced, there is reportedly no other evidence. 

Multiple findings that question the credibility of the accuser also led prosecutors to drop the case. The defense claimed that “inconsistencies in her recollection of the assault and her background [are] faulty.” The defense also claims that Diallo overheard the monetary benefits of winning with a family member.

Despite the grave alleged offense, the most that Strauss Kahn ever faced was a civil suit. He must also face backlash from a worldwide audience that now shares ambiguous feelings about his character and credibility, but is that enough repercussion?

The outcome of this trial has the masses upset and disgusted while a select few believe that justice has indeed been served. It’s evident that those in favor of the judge’s decision to drop the trial believe that there was not enough evidence to charge Strauss Kahn of rape or to even continue the trial. The people who share these common beliefs of doubt regarding the occurrence of rape also believe that Diallo’s faulty background (she was previously charged in the legal system of giving false statements) makes her less believable. 

This defense would lead one to believe that if a woman has told a lie once or twice in her lifetime, and doesn’t have the cleanest of slates in the legal system, that she is probably lying even in the event of an actual rape. The results of this case suggest that women who do not have a perfect background or the most impressive of positions are being left unprotected and vulnerable, especially when facing powerful men of power and influence such as Strauss Kahn. 

People have even been so bold as to ask who the true victim is. In the eyes of many, Diallo is When is a Victim truly the “Victim?”: Examining The Strauss Kahn Caseseen as a disgustingly desperate woman who would do anything for a quick buck. In this regard, Diallo is seen as a money hungry criminal who would enthusiastically drag the name of a prominent man in the mud in order to gain riches and undeserved wealth.

News of this case has caused people to wonder why a rich and powerful man would risk having unwanted sex with a hotel maid. Perhaps my perception of such inquiries is tainted. Questions like these suggest to me that Kahn is too high and mighty to engage in sexual activity with an African maid such as Diallo. Such mindsets perpetuate the acceptance of both racial and socio-economical injustices that have been deemed as standard in our society.  “How dare a feeble black woman claim that a white man of power and prestige would even dare to touch her in that manner?”  To those who are engulfed in these racist and ignorant mindsets, the thought of such an act is nothing less than completely absurd.

As of now, because of the cunning work of DA Cyrus Vance, Strauss Kahn is accused of nothing but infidelity and being a “vulnerable” man of power caught up in the mess of a hotel maid’s “get rich quick” scheme. Given that no jury was able to hear the case in order to decide the fate of Kahn or the authenticity of Diallo’s testimony, the verdict would have to lie in the hands of you and me.

What do you believe? What authenticates or dismisses the cries of an alleged rape victim and what are proper indications of true versus false tales? Based on your conclusion of the case and how it was handled, who do you believe the real victim is –  Diallo, an innocent woman who was raped and dismissed as a money hungry liar or Strauss Kahn, a man caught in a web of lies by a woman looking to dip her hands into his bank account?


When is a Victim truly the “Victim?”: Examining The Strauss Kahn CaseAbout Authour:

Beulah Osueke is a psychology major at Ouachita Baptist University. She believes the world's general view of Africa has been tainted and looks to address the inaccurate perceptions thriving in the media that result from an unjust past and unwarranted generalizations. She hopes to shine light on the efforts being made to generate a new respectable view of Africa, one that attest to Africa's rich culture, pure strength, and tenacious perseverance.



Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


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