Dominique Strauss-Kahn is the head of the International Monetary Fund.
He is also the man who is accused of sexually assaulting a maid at the Hotel Sofitel on May 14, 2011.
The rape apologizers and conspiracy theorists are out in full force, commenting on the case. Among the commentary is an article by Ben Stein, published in the The American Spectator.
In this article, he makes several points that I find to be ridiculous, here is one:
"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? Can anyone tell me of any heads of nonprofit international economic entities who have ever been charged and convicted of violent sexual crimes? Is it likely that just by chance this hotel maid found the only one in this category? Maybe Mr. Strauss-Kahn is guilty but if so, he is one of a kind, and criminals are not usually one of a kind."After a few minutes of googling, I was able to find several (and these are just the ones who have been convicted, not the ones who have been charged, but not yet tried):
-Robert Von der Ohe, Former Rockford College Economics Professor Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse
-Col. Russel Williams and Paul Bernardo, Williams and Bernard were College Pals (at the University of Toronto where they both graduated with degrees in economics)
-Joseph Sheffer, Cobourg's Former Economic Director Goes to Jail for Sexual Assault
Let me assure you, and Mr. Stein, that each of those crimes were violent. Sex crimes, rape and sexual assault, are violent acts. There is no such thing as a non-violent sex crime.
All criminals start somewhere. They aren't born criminals. At some point in their life, they make the decision to commit that first crime.
There is no set template for a rapist, just as there is no set template for a child molester. You can not look at someone and say, "He is a economist (or journalist, or teacher, or mechanic, or musician, or any other profession) and therefore can not possibly be a rapist." Just like you can not say that they are a rapist, based only on their profession.
Another point from Mr. Stein:
"People accuse other people of crimes all of the time. What do we know about the complainant besides that she is a hotel maid? ... How do we know that this woman's word was good enough to put Mr. Strauss-Kahn straight into a horrific jail? Putting a man in Riker's is serious business. Maybe more than a few minutes of investigation is merited before it's done."What do I know about the complainant?
-She reported the alleged crime to a detective from the Manhattan Special Victims Unit.
-She was taken to a hospital for an exam.
-She picked Strauss-Kahn out of a lineup.
-She testified before the grand jury.
Yesterday, the grand jury handed up an indictment, and when asked about the case, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance said, “The evidence supports the commission of non-consensual sexual acts. These are extremely serious charges.” It seems to me that more than a few minutes of investigation have happened to get Strauss-Kahn to this place.
There is much about this case that I do not know, many answers that I do not have.
That is what trials are for, the opportunity for both sides to present their case and let a jury decided.
If the jury does their job, they will make their decision based on the evidence, not based on the profession of the defendant.
They will make their decision based on the evidence, not based on the background of the victim.
Which is exactly how it should be.
I wonder, does Mr. Stein fancy himself as a representative of all economists accused of heinous crimes? And for what reason? So that he can have his name mentioned on a few news programs? If that was his goal, then he certainly succeeded.
Unfortunately, he also succeeded in questioning the woman's background and truthfulness, turning a sexual assault case into a conversation about the hatred of rich people, and perpetuating the stereotype that a victim must be intimidated by the presence of a weapon for it to really be a sexual assault. And those successes, are a detriment to us all, even the economists.