Rethinking rape. In 2011, a very powerful man faced rape charges on the international stage—just as a very powerful man did last year and the year before that. The story hit some familiar notes. In May, a New York City hotel maid accused then-IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in the bathroom of his suite; in August, charges were dropped after prosecutors dredged up portions of the maid's history that compelled them to doubt her trustworthiness. In the interim, the accusations against DSK inspired their fair share of bizarre sexual assault excuses. Ben Stein stood up for his fellow economists: "In life, events tend to follow patterns. People who commit crimes tend to be criminals, for example. Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes?" Bernard-Henri Lévy also stood up for his friend: "The Strauss-Kahn I know, who has been my friend for 20 years and who will remain my friend, bears no resemblance to this monster, this caveman, this insatiable and malevolent beast now being described nearly everywhere. Charming, seductive, yes." Even American Prospect co-editor Robert Kuttner stood up, amazingly, for johns: "There’s a knock on the door, a young woman enters. Strauss-Kahn expecting his hooker du jour to emerge naked from his toilette, and despite her protests he doesn’t believe that she’s not there to service him. This could be the parsimonious explanation for otherwise almost inexplicable behavior."
Photo via (cc) the World Trade Organization