Letter to the editor: DSK: the only reason he got caught, is because he did it in the U.S.
Editor's note: Carmen Parrinello is a Greenwood resident. She was recently assaulted by a man in France and the terrifying encounter gives her a unique insight in the French justice system and how it handles perpetrators like Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
"I am a resident of Seattle and a native of France.
A couple months ago, as I was vacationing in France, I ended up being sequestrated and beaten up by a man in my family. The violence was unprovoked from my part, and voluntary from his. At some point I managed to grab the phone and, locking myself in the bathroom, called the cops; begging them to help me out of there.
They arrived and ordered the man to open the door. I came out of my shelter foolishly thinking my aggressor would open the door to them. But he refused to and his violence increased to the point where I envisioned for a split second that I’d be dead before the police officers would be able to stop him.
Eventually the officers managed to enter the premises and free me from the perpetrator.
They asked me if I wanted to file a complaint and for the perpetrator to be taken to the police station. I said yes to both. This is more or less where my story and the story of a certain maid in a New York hotel start to merge.
The man who had brutalized me was not arrested; there was no investigation made; no one ever questioned any witnesses in the building or talked to the three policemen who had come to my rescue. About a month later I was told that my file had actually been “closed” and all charges were dropped without explanation.
I was unable to contact the judge who handled the case because I couldn’t even get his name. “You know, there are about twenty of them there in the Court!” I was sharply told.
Moreover, I was informed that in order to reopen my case I’d have to pay a deposit, the amount of which would be determined by the Court.
A deposit? For what?!
Now for those of you who still wonder how Dominique Strauss-Kahn (the IMF Director who was arrested in New York for sexually assaulting a housekeeper) could do what he is accused of having done and believe he’d get away with it, stop scratching your heads. He could easily have done it that day in the US because he allegedly had done the same stuff countless other times before to different women, with no consequences whatsoever. Because when that sort of thing happens to you in France, you’d be a fool to think that anything will be done about it: you shut up and thus avoid having to bear even more painful consequences.
Thanks to the undying feudal system in place, there are scores of abusers that keep abusing women and children, and who get away with it because law enforcement and the legal system actually do not see what is quite so wrong about it. I mean, even my female friends accept the fact that there is nothing that can be done. “Just drop it,” they say (that’s for the few who say anything at all).
In France, one woman dies every 2.5 days in the hands of her male partner (according to the French organization SOSFemmes).
But in France, preventing violence against women is not a priority; nor is arresting and judging the abusers. All of us already know that the bureaucratic, narcoleptic, male dinosaurs that crowd the French administration will never do anything about it nor will their great-grandsons.
Generally speaking, abuse is considered a mere disadvantage compared to the host of privileges being a female awards you: wearing affordable laced lingerie, being whistled at in the streets by cocky “séducteurs”, etc.
At some point, it became clear to me that I could not expect anything more than condescending or scripted responses from the dozen government agencies or independent organizations I contacted – one woman even giggled as I finished telling her my story. Giggled!
This is the country I left more than 25 years ago and it hasn’t evolved a bit.
Women are cattle, objects, things, belongings; women are supposed to silently cope with being transgressed emotionally or physically, beaten up, raped, and even sometimes killed. And the few who dare raise their voices know from the onset that absolutely no one will listen to them, or do anything about the guys that keep getting away with abuses.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn now lives in a palace in New York that is supposed to pass for a jail, because when you’re a French ‘monarch’ nothing is ever good enough for you, whatever you do, and wherever you are.
How cruel of you, American people, to have exposed him handcuffed to the flashes of the paparazzi!
And how could you give credit to a mere colored “bonne” who either made it all up, or works for the CIA?
How did you dare secure a bracelet to this Monsieur’s ankle as if he were a simple commoner like you, or me, or this suspicious “bonne”?
Now, I’m not saying that you should stop forcing your kids to take French in high school - I know it looks rather good on their school reports. Do not suddenly cancel your French Riviera vacations either, please don’t. But when you get there, just remember that you’ve not just traveled several thousand miles across the globe, you’ve also traveled several hundred years back in time. Pretty sickening."