Remember him? President of the IMF who attempted to rape a housekeeper at the Sofitel Hotel and then didn’t even get prosecuted because he’s white and powerful, and Diallo, the housekeeper, was “an unreliable witness” because the D.A’s people on the case, who are also white and powerful and male, apparently understand nothing about what it means to be a victim?
Netflix has a new documentary about what happened, which I just finished. It’s grotesque from start to finish. There’s a procession of French men who are like: Casanova, Don Juan, what’s the problem? There’s a procession of French *women* who apparently feel the same. There’s DSK, who is unrepentant and, in the manner of all powerful, famous men, thinks the problem is simply that he got caught and is held to a higher standard than all the other working rapists who get to do as they please, pauvre DSK. There’s the especially appalling spectacle of everyone trying to discredit Diallo (not to be confused with Amadou Diallo, who was murdered by a bunch of white NYPD) as a prostitute, a con artist, a plant because NO WAY could this powerful white rapist have actually attempted to rape a housekeeper—I mean, a 9-minute encounter between a fat, saggy decomposing raping windbag and a rather lovely hotel employee that happens in the hallway and leaves this lovely employee bruised and hysterical TOTALLY SOUNDS CONSENSUAL.
I’m guessing DSK thought the housekeeper actually was a prostitute he’d arranged to have sent to his room—as was his habit—and figured: well, someone bought her so I can do to her what I want. Hard to believe that’s the best-case scenario.
Watching this documentary revived for me all the bile, hatred, and outrage of watching another rapist get confirmed to the Supreme Court not so long ago. It’s hard to know what to do with all that fury. I’m writing a novel about this (sorta, not really) that’s called, as of today: In Which I Scrabble Through Life, Trying to Feel. Is this title memorable, catchy, easy to say? Will it pass muster with the marketing team? Nope and nope. But one thing I’m noticing is that the less estrogen that courses through my body, the more I don’t care what people think of me or my work. It’s obvious why this happens, which is itself testament to how hardwired submission and doubt (themselves a form of coquetry—AHHHHHHHH!) are to women vis-a-vis men. No wonder they gaslight us. It’s because they can! Kaboom.
It’s nice that #metoo probably grew out of NYC’s failure to prosecute yet another crime against women. “Nice.” It’s nice that several men have not gotten away with same in the wake of DSK’s reprieve. But, is this ever going to end? It’s possible that even racism stands a better chance of eradication than sexism, misogyny, and rape culture, which is saying a lot. But I’m saying it anyway because: The doers and enablers? The women who think all this behavior is just how it is? Boys will be boys? The men who close ranks around each other? All this cuts across race, ethnicity, class. Find me a woman anywhere, of any color, of any means, who hasn’t been harassed, at minimum, or assaulted, grabbed, groped, beaten, raped by some guy and I will find you a world in which men like DSK don’t go free.
It’s infuriating! Tonight, as always—the rumble of anger is always there—I am infuriated.
Also, um, Happy Holidays! Tune in next week, as I put my anger in a little box, and return to the wisdom and pith I know you’ve come to expect of me by now. Also—no, don’t do it, Fiona. Resist! Do not say: Eh, I’m just grumpy. Do not apologize for polluting everyone’s morning with your toxic negativity. You have no estrogen! You don’t care! Be you! Yeah, okay, but also: sorr—