Seemingly, some of us think that wealthy and powerful men are well-cultured and have better moral values than the rest of the male specie. Those who endorse this line of thinking fail to understand that while a wealthy man may not necessarily be a chicken thief, he may not be a saint either.
In the wake of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest three weeks ago, for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid in a plush New York hotel, there has been mixed reactions from around the globe on what actually happened. While some have slammed Strauss-Kahn and the prevailing climate in France, alongside other countries, which makes it easy for powerful men to get away with sexual crimes, others have opinioned that the maid simply cooked up the story for her own ulterior motives.
There are also some French pundits who think the incident was orchestrated to politically damage Strauss-Kahn. Worse yet, are those who suggest that it is okay for powerful men to sexually attack women, as long as they are African women. Whichever way you look at it, there is no denying that the Strauss-Kahn sex sensation has resulted in one mammoth free-for-all.
Strangely enough, approximately two weeks after Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, another well-heeled hotel guest, former bank chairman, Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, was arrested in New York for sexually assaulting a maid at the Pierre Hotel.
My aim is not to pass judgement on Strauss-Kahn. Hopefully, the jury will do a good job of that when the trial gets underway. I strongly believe in the rule of law. However, it doesn’t help when consummate politicians like the British Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clark, make inappropriate remarks about how some incidents of rape are more serious than others. You don’t need to have a PhD in Psychology to know that all sexual assaults are indeed serious and traumatising for victims, some of whom never fully recover from their ordeal.
As they say, there are positives to be taken from every bad situation. And as someone who is au fait with the hotel industry, these recent, high-profile, alleged sex assaults have highlighted the occupational risks to which female hotel employees are constantly exposed. Every time a female hotel employee goes into a male-occupied guest room, to service it, deliver room service or even collect laundry, there is a possibility that something untoward may happen to her. Hopefully, the publicity surrounding the Strauss-Kahn case will prompt hoteliers to review their current arrangements for mitigating the risk of sex attacks on female employees in the work environment.
I also hope that justice prevails in this case. If Strauss-Kahn is guilty of the charges filed against him, then it is only right that he pays for his crime. On the other hand, if it transpires that the maid made it all up, then she should face the music for wasting US public funds, police time, and ruining the career and reputation of an innocent albeit wealthy and powerful man.
Earlier this week in a New York court, Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted rape. For some weird reason, I feel that this trial may come to resemble the 1995 O. J. Simpson murder trial. Those who recall that trial will remember how the issue of race, as well as the handling of the investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, had a significant bearing on the outcome of that case.
For now, one thing I can say with definite conviction is that every dog will surely have its day in court.