* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Women’s eNews headquarters is just blocks away from where the head of the International Monetary Fund is facing charges at a New York court of attempting to rape a 32-year-old hotel maid. Suddenly it’s a story and the press mob is there.
Now an entire history of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s sex life is coming out—even the part that IMF covered up. Yes, the International Monetary Fund knew that the big boss was having sex with a subordinate and, after an investigation, decided that it was merely an affair—no abuse of power at all. No consequences for the big guy. The former IMF employee has now made public that the investigators ignored her claim that in fact Strauss-Kahn did abuse his power when he pursued her..
Cover up. I don’t think so. It might just be standard operating procedure—the secret code the permits men like Strauss-Kahn to believe forcing, cajoling, intimidating and otherwise using their power to gain access to the bodies of women or girls to believe it is one more perquisite of their status.
Also in New York City courts, two police officers are being tried on rape charges. One is accused of standing guard while the other raped a woman who was so drunk that the police were called to help her get home. The jury has yet to reach a verdict but all sides agree that the woman was drunk and the cops visited her apartment four times that night—and one admits he was in bed with her. What is truly remarkable about the cops testimony is the indications that the pair might have believed, and may still have a reason to believe that, like Strauss-Kahn that they would get a pass if they were caught.
And it starts real early.
Last week, Women’s eNews legal columnist Wendy Murphy reported that U.S. Supreme Court declined on May 2 to hear the appeal of a Texas high school cheerleader. The young athlete was kicked off her squad for refusing to cheer for a basketball player accused of raping her weeks earlier.
But that is not all. Because they lost the case, the victim's family has been ordered to pay $45,000 in costs to reimburse the school for its costs of defending its action.
A recent study by Dr. Dean Kilpatrick of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, Drug-facilitated, Incapacitated and Forcible Rape: A National Study, found that "during the past year alone , over 1 million women in the U.S. have been raped…Our estimates do not appear to support the widely held belief that rape has significantly declined in recent decades."
In a different study released May 11 by the American Journal of Public Health indicated that even in the parts of The Congo least affected by the war, a woman is 58 times more likely to be raped than a woman in the United States, where the annual rate is 0.5 per 1,000 women. The Congo — a nation of 70 million people that is equal in size to Western Europe — has been plagued by decades of civil war and most reports indicated that rape was being used a as a weapon of war. However, this latest study indicates that rape and sexual abuse is commonplace throughout the nation.
Yes, it is good news that the police took quick action in Strauss-Kahn’s case; the cops were at least forced to stand trial and that rape is now a war crime. Plus a group of former National Football League cheerleaders are organizing to support the Texas cheerleader.
Yet it remains commonplace. And too often with impunity. Who may we trust?