What if the woman allegedly raped by Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a gentrifier rather than a Guinean immigrant?
Imagine this scenario: Whitney Saltonstall, 23, an intern at high-end virtual goods retailer randomstatusobject.com stumbles out of a room at the Sofitel Hotel where she’s been doing ecstasy and coke for the past several hours with a couple of guys she met at a bar in the Meatpacking District the previous night. She’s called a car service to take her back to the brand-new Williamsburg highrise apartment that her parents just bought for her. Looking for the elevator, she stumbles instead into a room occupied by the head of the International Monetary Fund. An encounter of some sort ensues. Afterward, he leaves; she goes looking for the room where she was, can’t find it, eventually makes it downstairs where she calls the car service again. On the way home, she vomits on the floor of the cab.
Later on that day she wakes up to find the IMF bigwig’s spooge staining her dress. Outraged, she calls her father. Her father calls his lawyer. The lawyer calls an acquaintance at the police commissioner’s office, who then calls the precinct to request an investigation. The investigation turns up DNA evidence, and although the alleged rapist is the head of a multibillion-dollar multinational organization, it turns out that he’s French, and is immediately arrested.
The next day, the New York Post headlines read “SOCIALIST MONSTER RAPES AMERICA’S SWEETHEART.” Saltonstall gives an exclusive interview to Perez Hilton while the IMF bigwig is denied bail. Meanwhile, the IMF fires him and appoints a woman in his place. But he can afford to defend himself: his wife hires a Halliburton subsidiary to investigate Saltonstall. It turns out that she has a long history of getting wasted and hooking up with random guys. But the prosecutors press ahead with their case and a sensational trial ensues, punctuated by several delays where the alleged victim takes time away from the courtroom to film a new reality tv series, Manhattan Mistresses, as well as posing for Playboy.
All this is not to imply in the least that Nafissatou Diallo is not telling the truth. On the contrary, it’s estimated that 80 to 90% of all rapes go unreported: that she would be brave enough to come out and tell her story, with DNA evidence to support it, offers persuasive evidence that the case against Strauss-Kahn would be a slam-dunk. So why did Cyrus Vance Jr. stop the prosecution?
You know the answer. If Nafissatou Diallo came from money, she’d have a fighting chance getting justice in court, probably more than a fighting chance considering that the forensic evidence is a smoking gun. But she’s an African immigrant.
The height of irony here, of course, is that if Strauss-Kahn is in fact guilty, as it appears, this crime is hardly the worst one he’s participated in. Do you what know the purpose of the International Monetary Fund is? It’s essentially a slush fund doled out to any banana republic dictator who’s willing to crush democracy in his country in order to keep wages low and resources cheap so that the ultra-rich heads of western multinational corporations, and those who speculate in their products, can continue to make multimillion-dollar profits. What Strauss-Kahn has been a part of on a daily basis should rightfully earn him a place behind bars, never mind what happened at the Sofitel. Thanks to the IMF, criminal gangs like the Janjaweed rape dozens of women every day, scot-free. What Diallo suffered simply gives her one more thing in common with thousands of other women in the continent where she was born. Let us hope that she somehow gets through this with her sanity intact. Fortunately, African women are strong.