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Home > Politics or: the art of looking for trouble, Social commentary > SlutWalk NYC is pissing me off with its DSK protesting

SlutWalk NYC is pissing me off with its DSK protesting

Slutwalk Toronto via Wikipedia

Slutwalk Toronto via Wikipedia.

I though the concept of Slutwalk was cool when I first heard about it.  Taking back derogatory terms for sexual liberalization?  Awesome!  Sign me up for SlutWalk NYC for October 1.  I also followed them on Tumblr to remind myself of the date and get updates of any changes.

But I was not happy to receive an invite to the Dominuque Strauss-Kahn Protest, which seemingly presumes his guilt in the sexual assault case and labels the accuser as “the victim.”   Slutwalk’s characterization that DSK was treated lightly by the press this whole time is wrong.  Their claim that DSK paid people off for character assassination of the victim is unfounded.  They cited no evidence in that claim, presented  no rebuttals to all the contradicting evidence, and are walking on a dangerous presumption of guilt that is against the spirit of our entire legal system.

Reuters’ Anya Schiffrin makes excellent points in her blog about other organizations presenting their visceral emotional reactions rather than talking about the facts:

Much of the reporting has been done in haste and that’s too bad. One example was The New York Times’ piece on the sexist culture of the IMF which conflated  rape, sexual harassment and work place discrimination against women with the mundane subject of  affairs at the office.  By combining these four different subjects, the Times muddied the subject without adding much to our understanding.

By creating this fringe protest, SlutWalk NYC is undermining both its credibility and primary objectives.  A single court case with dubious evidence is hardly a paradigm of “rape culture” worthy of a protest.

I hope SlutWalk’s home-based Toronto organization doesn’t associate itself with its New York City satellite organization’s poor choice in politics.

[Edit:  I wrote a related post, On Feminism and Gender Egalitarianism, partially as a response to comments below. And another post commenting upon a race-issues blog which criticized a sign at Slutwalk NYC.]

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  1. X
    August 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Hey, you know what is against the spirit of our legal system?
    Not giving the accuser NOR the accused a fair trial. Or a trial, if at all.
    You know what’s also messed up and unprofessional? The DA’s negligence in spilling the information to the press about the case, including personal opinions, biases and attacks on the accuser.
    And do you know what is rape culture? Feeling sorry for a well-known repeat offender of sexist abuse. That’s a pretty “poor choice in politics.”

    -Slutwalk NYC Organizer.

    • scandalousmuffin
      August 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      What evidence do you have that the DA was negligent? States do not release the names of alleged sexual assault victims. Nafissatou Diallo revealed herself, talked to the press, and then I’m sure the press used the FOIA or whatever resources it had to their greatest extent.

      The judge today rejected a request for a special prosecutor. She can still sue him on a civil court basis.

      You love to make loaded assumptions, like that I or the people who support this article are “feeling sorry” for DSK. It is precisely the type of attitude which hurts gender egalitarianism.

  2. Jed
    August 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    The fact is that she deserved to have a fair trial and be judged by the jury, instead of having her case dismissed by the DA.

    This sends a dangerous message to women who are survivors of sexual assault:
    If you have a less than perfect case, or your attacker was a man of any power, you will be vilified and victimized by the press, and you will not see justice.

    It keeps survivors from coming out, and leaves rapists untouched.

    Not to mention the disproportionate power and resources he has. Men with money and power can buy freedom in this system, regardless of their crimes (often many)

    Some facts:

    The inaccuracies in her “story” are all in regards to her struggle to immigrate here (read: claim to asylum to enter the US) or her attempts to survive here ( obtain low income housing)

    Why should that have anything to do with a case that involves damning physical evidence, including internal vaginal bruising, and semen and DNA all over her clothes!

    This system demonizes rape survivors and rewards the powerful for their “comebacks” after they manipulate the courts.

    That’s why we are involved in Slutwalk, as conscious feminists in a period of escalated violence towards women on the world stage, and here in NYC.

    Join us on October 1st!

    Jed
    Freedom Socialist Party
    Slutwalk NYC Coalition

  3. scandalousmuffin
    August 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I agree it’s unfair (but predictable) media sensationalism to bring those details in, but not all the inaccuracies are about her asylum. According to the DA, she also lied in front of a Grand Jury about the circumstances surrounding the alleged event.

  4. X
    August 23, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    They didn’t have to release her name to slander her. The defense team and even the DA himself told the press that they thought she was a liar and a scam artist. Their defense strategy, in saying that it was consensual, was by making her out to be a sex worker. She had to reveal her identity to the press because the defense was already painting an inaccurate and slanderous portrait of her. And in fact her accounts were very consistent until they started asking for extreme details… like what minute she entered DSK’s hotel room? You’ve got to be kidding me. If I had to go through that kind of trauma the last thing I’d recall was the time. Also, anyone who’s ever had the misfortune to deal with US immigration policy understands that to become a legal citizen you have a better chance when you’re a) rich b) some kind of Caucasian or c) if you plead for amnesty. And for the latter, you have to have a pretty good sob story. But again, this is completely arbitrary to what happened in that hotel room. It’s like handling a robbery by asking the robbed shop owner where they ship their goods from.

    What hurts gender egalitarianism is people like you who excuse sexists for their behavior, or try to minimize it. It must be really, really nice to not have to think of the implications of this.

    • scandalousmuffin
      August 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      I’m pretty sure she released her own name.

      Under the Supreme Court’s precedent Brady v. Maryland, prosecutors have a duty to share with defense attorneys any exculpatory evidence they find. Moreover, part of the DA’s job is not to try a case that he or she doesn’t believe can be won. This the prosecutors did in good faith.

      I’m arguing with legal precedent. You’re arguing with pretending to know what happened that night, because DSK is an asshole so clearly he’s guilty.

      If you think that every criminal accusation should be tried in the US, then you are clearly out of touch with the legal system and reality.

  5. Ben
    August 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Jed,

    Your statement “The fact is that she deserved to have a fair trial and be judged by the jury, instead of having her case dismissed by the DA.” is disturbing and reveals a lack of knowledge about the American criminal law system. The DA needs to have a bare minimum amount of evidence to bring charges and have the trial that you want. It would be a very scary world if the DA can bring forward a trial with little to no evidence or tainted evidence. I don’t think any of us want that. By dismissing the charge for lack of evidence (even though they clearly wanted to bring him down), the DA demonstrated a responsible approach to the law.

    Also I can’t stress enough that no one is denying her a trial. She just has to use the civil court system, not the criminal court system. I’m with Scandalous Muffin in that, although I appreciate the slutwalk concept, I’m turned off by the NYC organization’s planned protest on this case.

  6. Ramjam
    August 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

    You guys sound like jim-crow southerners. The justice system IS the problem, which is why Slutwalks is right on to target DSK. There’s no question that the DA could’ve gone forward with this case; but since she’s not Rosa Parks they had to drop it, (and the civil case is NOT the same as a rape conviction). Right, none of us knows exactly what happened (which is the problem with the “he said she said” nature of these cases). But we do know the that NYC police felt they had enough to pull DSK off a plane and there was clearly enough physical evidence. If protecting powerful men is your agenda, then I see your points, welcome to the world as it is. The question is whether these women are victims or whether he gets the uncomfortable slap on the back because “boys will be boys”. Seeing women as his “willing” sexual partners makes the case and the whole argument, when in fact they were NOT. In case after case DSK has preyed on women who were his subordinates. The “IMF’s foreign offices were warned not to leave DSK alone in a room with any women”. The Nagy affiar went the same way: a legal review found no improper conduct in his relationship with a subordinate, yet they omitted Nagy’s own letter to the investigating counsel that “expressed objection to the way the investigation was being conducted and to the characterization that their relationship was “consensual”. Speaking truth to power is a dicey proposition. And those who are politically minded just won’t do it. Men, women, even hotel maids, should be warned that it will mean having your whole life investigated, turned upside down, and most certainly mean losing your job. That is the point of Slutwalks: to not permit society to re-victimize the victim. If you really think for one moment that our criminal justice doing a nice job at handling rape cases then you are simply not living in the real world.

  1. August 24, 2011 at 3:02 am
  2. August 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm
  3. October 6, 2011 at 8:11 pm
  4. June 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

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