Boycott the DSK Rape Thread

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Boycott the DSK Rape Thread



I considered opening this thread in Rabble Reactions, but as the likely scenario unfolded in my mind's eye (men taking over the discussion, opining about issues that affect women in complete ignorance of feminist analysis, etc.), I decided that this was the safer place for a discussion of what I feel is purient tabloid-fodder masquerading as reasoned discussion on the topic of Dominique Strauss-Khan's "alleged" sexual assault of a female hotel employee.

Rabble, as an organization, does not hide behind "media objectivity" because it recognizes that no such thing exists and that to apply that label to any kind of journalism is the height of hypocrisy.  Rabble is also an organization that was started by women and is run, largely, by women who identify as feminists.

As a member of the staff of this organization, as a contributor, and a babbler, it saddens and disappoints me that a woman can still have her rational and credible argument undermined by the suggestion that her emotions are affecting her "objectivity" in what is supposed to be a progressive, pro-feminist environment.  This exactly the kind of tactic that is being used in the DSK rape thread.

As purile and voyeuristic as I think that discussion largely is, it is the methods of shutting down women's contributions that has me concerned.  I'd like to hear from other women - on this topic and on their contribution to babble in general - about whether they feel babble is woman-friendly and pro-feminist, and whether they feel their voices are heard with respect.


i rarely post here because of the general attitude of most men here. they get away with what they do for a number od reasons which i'd like to share with you

a. if a man has been here for a long time he can get away with verbal rape. since most of the moderators are men they are directly to blame for enabling this behavior. michelle, and maysie have given up it would seem and rebecca is being run off her feet trying to keep order. i don't see any effort from oldgoat or catchfire to enforce or promote feminist principles.

b. can we name names about who we feel are the worst offenders? svend and unionist come to mind, but that's just because they post more. there are others who say worse things but post infrequently so escape under the gaze.

c. the loss of feminist aboriginal posters like stargazer and yiwah leads to less chance to call the haters out.

d. there's a better site called bread and roses. very feminist oriented. rabble tried to be all things to all people and has failed miserably. shut it down or turn it into some internet freefor all. i don't really care.


Rebecca West wrote:
It saddens and disappoints me that a woman can still have her rational and credible argument undermined by the suggestion that her emotions are affecting her "objectivity" in what is supposed to be a progressive, pro-feminist environment.  

I'd like to address the premise behind the guys' "objective" stance for a moment; this whole notion that women are more emotionally invested and therefore less logical.  So let's have a look at the facts:

1. There is physical evidence supporting the victim's assertion that she was raped, as gathered by the physicians who attended to her afterwards;

2. There is none, as in zero, as in not a whiff of, objective evidence in favour of the hypothesis that there is a right-wing cabal out to "get" DSK.  There is, however, objective evidence to suggest that DSK is about as progressive as Donald Trump, as suggested by his work as a lobbyist for the Cercle de l'industrie, a French industry lobby group.  And as Minister for Economics, Finances and Industry, he instituted widespread privatization in France.  His appointment as IMF head was personally endorsed by Sarkozy.  It is true that he has suggested that the dollar be replaced as the world's reserve currency in order to stabilize the world's economy.  And he has made comments critical of bankers.  But these comments are consistent with the record of an ambitious man seeking to distinguish himself on the world stage;

3. The victim has been found to have prevaricated in the past, like lying to get out of her native country.  There are countries lacking in infrastructure or any sort of government, making it difficult for would-be immigrants to acquire the most basic paperwork, like passports or birth certificates.  Although there may be gangs of roving psychopaths roaming the countryside of said countries, raping women and chopping the limbs off random strangers, the worst thing you can do is fib on your immigration application.  So those of us living in relative comfort and safety, who can only comprehend such horrors on an intellectual level, can point to such a person, saying, "OK, so you lied to escape from poverty, starvation and violence.  But we can only conclude that you must be a perpetual habitual lying liar."  But the fact remains that these lies should have no bearing on the evidence in the case, though I think it was useful of Sven to point out that ancillary facts do carry weight in court.  We need to keep in mind that the law only bears a tangential relationship to objective reality.

So who's irrational now??

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Great post, Sineed. Thank you.

Buttonwood, I'm sorry that your experience of babble has been so sour. I agree with you that babble's difficulty of keeping FN women posters around (although I'm ecstatic to see Stargazer back again) is a major problem. I was sorry to see Yiwah go as well. bread n roses is a great space for Canadian feminists and I enthusiastically encourage any feminists who have difficulty finding space for their voice on babble to go check it out. Of course, Rebecca and I hope that we could create space for those voices here on babble, but so far we haven't succeeded, as the DSK threads (and the Assange threads before that) make abundantly clear. What those threads also make clear, however, is that the responsibility for creating such a space also lays on the shoulders of the community at large--there is only so much a moderator can do. Ultimately, babble is about its posters.

Ken Burch

I agree with your objections to the DSK rape thread and will boycott it, Rebecca,'re a why don't you just LOCK the thread?


Ken Burch wrote:

I agree with your objections to the DSK rape thread and will boycott it, Rebecca,'re a why don't you just LOCK the thread?

The thread was locked earlier today, though not by me.  My point in not locking it myself and asking for a boycott was a form of awareness-raising about issues that repeatedly get ignored or marginalized.  My simply locking the thread would not have provoked anything but cries of oppression and censorship by the usual suspects.  Instead, we now have this discussion.

Ken Burch

Ok, that makes sense. 


I closed the thread before having seen this, because I figured the regular mods were off enjoying their weekends with their families  near Rob Ford's cottage or something.  Even though I'm no longer a paid mod, I'll still respond to an out of control fire if I see it first.  I personally think we can have this thread without the board being sullied by the other.

remind remind's picture

Have been hesitant to post in this thread because I have been too angry to be coherent. In fact still am. But I have few things to say.

1. A long time ago it was agreed here that all things to do with rape/sexual assault of women would automatically be discussed in the feminist forum even if it did not start out there. Mods transfered it there. So that it stayed where it was was a huge error. As we have seen.

2. When you have experienced families having to...let's say cut their daughters/sisters/nieces down from their hanging themselves over being raped, or someother suicide equivalent, then you can make a comment that negates the lived experiences of millions of women. Because I guarantee you men, that if you had, then you sure as hell would not be making misogynist/sexist comments that you did/do.

3. Dave W's last comment should have earned him a huge time out in the boycotted thread, that it did not, along with everything else, makes a clear indication that rabble from an operational position means it is still not safe for women to participate at. So the answer from me to Rebecca's questions is a resounding NO to all 3.

4. Patriarchy and the support and furthering of it is still alive and well at rabble/babble.


French financier Dominique Strauss-Kahn will not accept any plea bargain and "won't plead guilty to anything" in the sex crimes case against him, one of his attorneys told CNN on Thursday.

Attorney William Taylor made the remarks a day after Strauss-Kahn's legal team met with prosecutors in the case for nearly two hours. It's not known if any plea deal was offered. The meeting came about a week after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. acknowledged that there are questions about the credibility of Strauss-Kahn's accuser.

The 62-year-old former chief of the International Monetary Fund is charged with sexual abuse and attempted rape of a hotel maid in May.

While Wednesday's meeting with prosecutors was "constructive," Strauss-Kahn's attorneys said, prosecutors maintained that they are not ready to drop the charges.

"The investigative process is continuing, and no decisions have been made," said Manhattan District Attorney spokeswoman Erin Duggan.

Maysie Maysie's picture

So can we post DSK updates here?

The DSK Case: Gender, Race and Politics by Debbie Hines

Rape cases are notoriously difficult to convict without any DNA evidence and only the verbal accusations of a rape victim. They become a credibility battle of he said and she said. And yet even in the Strauss-Kahn case, with DNA evidence, the defendant appears well on his way to a dismissal or dropping of charges on his next court date of July 18, 2011, if not sooner. Rape and sexual assault cases are often held to a higher standard than other violent crimes. The prosecutor-and often the public and the media-is quick to judge the victim, her past and anything negative about her in deciding whether to pursue the case to trial. The only exception appears to be the child abduction sexual assault cases.

In reviewing what has been revealed in the mainstream media and in speaking to sources, the evidence of a sexual assault occurring in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case seems so compelling. First and foremost, there is the undisputed DNA of Strauss-Kahn found on the victim's clothing and on the carpet floor of the hotel suite. After allegedly having forced oral sex with Strauss-Kahn, she spits out his semen onto the floor. Despite what we see on CSI and other TV shows, DNA evidence is not always present. That's the very strength of this case. The defense claims the sex was consensual. I find that difficult to accept.


B9sus4 B9sus4's picture

In the same breath and along the same lines as Strauss-Kahn, a socialist, then there was the rape issue in respect to Julian Assange. Assange is a "libertarian" ie a rightist. However, he seems to have inspired a cult like fanbase that refuses to grasp the fact that the women in Sweden have made very clear and simple charges. Nothing that is impossible to understand. Simple, clear, and rational. I looked at the matter and decided they were certainly right in laying these charges against that man. Corroborating information from former friends/associates of the man further convince me the charges were appropriate.

We are told that irregardless of the economic and political circumstances surrounding Strauss-Kahn's role in the IMF and it's current role in the financial destruction of Greece and soon of Italy, Ireland, Portugal, etc., and his role in confronting Sarko--who was in fact raised as a foster child by one of the canonical CIA agents, Wisner--and as totally CIA controlled as any man in Europe-- none of this is of any import what so ever. Only the charge matters.

Please, someone explain to me what the difference is between the case of Julian Assange and that of Strauss-Kahn.

Maysie Maysie's picture

B9sus4, please think about what it means to write the words "the rape issue in respect to Julian Assange" in the feminist forum.

Red Tory Tea Girl

B9sus4 wrote:

Please, someone explain to me what the difference is between the case of Julian Assange and that of Strauss-Kahn.

For one, there were no charges laid against Assange. He is currently in a state of extradition without being formally charged.

For two, the laws on sexual assault are rather different in Sweden and do seem to enjoy a reverse onus. Assange is basically being charged because the prophilactic he was using failed and this is deemed to have put him in a state of non-consent as the complainant had consented to sex with a prophylactic. Talk about a concrete example of the concept of Schrodinger's rapist, given that prophylactics randomly fail.

If Jullian Assange had done what he is alleged to have done in the city of New York, then he would have never been charged. Rape can happen where there has previously been consent, but again, the law in the Assange case as opposed to when a woman clearly calls for the activity to stop, regardless of the circumstances, instead of presuming non-consent, is fairly murky and has no co-equal in the Western World.

That's the difference. That said, should we be devoting far more resources to investigating and prosecuting rape? Definitely.

Should we spend less time trying to undermine an allegator's credibility with such damning evidence as that she lied to live in a country where there's clean running water or trying to get affordable housing? Obviously. That's protected by the freedom from self-incrimination.

Do we need to stop first responders from dismissing allegations of rape out of hand? You bet your bippy: There's an epidemic of prison rape that we have decided is part of the punishment to be meted out by the most violent rapists in prison, prisoners or guards both, for one. And for two, it could easily be made a firing or criminal offence for a police officer, prison guard, etc. not to refer an accusation of rape to a prosecutor. That would be much better for women who are discouraged because the police refuse to listen than trying to change the laws to eliminate basic criminal protections such as presumtption of innocence, or prosecutorial onus, or the right to face one's accuser, protections that are presumed automatic in other cases where a life sentence is a frequent possibility.

The woman who made this allegation should never have received the treatment she has. It's a travesty, and if the reaction results in laws that make it more difficult for poor people, people of colour, to receive a fair and aggressive defense, or help reinforce a police culture that refuses to take rape allegations seriously, that would be a far greater travesty.

Ken Burch

Can people please stop calling Strauss-Kahn a socialist?(sorry for the thread drift, but at this point it has to be said).  Basically, Strauss-Kahn intends to be the French Socialist Party's equivalent of Tony Blair, stripping the party of any remaining commitment to socialist or even "social democratic" values(assuming the words "social democratic" even mean anything any more) and making it, once and for all, a "Third Way" party of free market economics and a tiny, ever shrinking social wage.  Strauss-Kahn has always been the hero of the French elite, because he represents the completion of the project of removing anyone other than the elite from any real role in French politics at all.

Call him what you will, but don't call him a "socialist".  To be a socialist, you actually have to oppose neoliberalism and globalization.  Strauss-Kahn's situation is not the result of a conspiracy of the forces of capital.  It's his own damn fault for assuming he had the RIGHT to treat women like that, especially working-class women from Africa.


Red Tory Tea Girl wrote:

The woman who made this allegation should never have received the treatment she has. It's a travesty, and if the reaction results in laws that make it more difficult for poor people, people of colour, to receive a fair and aggressive defense, or help reinforce a police culture that refuses to take rape allegations seriously, that would be a far greater travesty.


Poor people and people of colour already are denied a fair and aggressive defense because of an economic and racist class-based judicial system.  This isn't anything that we haven't seen before, or experienced ourselves, and it is disgusting that it continues.

Red Tory Tea Girl

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Rebecca. There needs to be a like button.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture