Sometimes when there is so much to say or to write, when the person armed with the knowledge knows the subjects too well, is aware of the inside story, and consequently the truth, it is difficult to begin. For me, having spent twenty-two years as a journalist in Paris, and ten of those years in a relationship with a highly placed member of the French Socialist Party, I refused a number of interviews and even unattributed “source” background for stories that appeared in the French and American media. Added to my decision to button up was that several of my closest French friends refused to admit the truth—that the reputation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn was not only well known throughout France, but that Anne Sinclair was painfully aware of her husband’s psycho pathology. We all knew. The fact is that a group of us shared the same doctors, dentists, hairdressers, and had the same friends. Paris is a small town, much like New York, or any other sophisticated city where there is six degrees of separation.
The question going through readers’ minds at this point might well be, why now did I decide to open up about this? I suppose because DSK, as he is known throughout France, and now throughout the world has, according to many in polite and not so polite French circles, gotten away with making violent and obscene sexual advances toward many women. Fortunately, I am not one of them though I was the object of several vulgar gestures made by DSK at a Socialist Congress where I was one of hundreds of people.
It was well known that Anne Sinclair suffered through her husband’s affairs and bore the pain of myriad accusations leveled at her spouse, weathered the gossip that circulated around Paris, and wept to a chosen few of her closest friends. People talk. They talk not always out of malevolence but often out of outrage that a woman like Sinclair, attractive, successful, privileged, and smart refused to cut her sick spouse loose years ago. But then, DSK always managed to get away with his behavior, and seemingly did not even suffer the slightest pang of conscience or regret. Perhaps someone forgot to tell him that foreplay was not a smack on the head, and consensual sex was not grabbing a woman by the hair as a prelude to fellatio. Not unlike OJ Simpson whom so many believed killed his wife and her friend and gave himself permission to believe that he was innocent, so too did the former head of the International Monetary Fund, believe that he was too powerful and uber entitled to suffer the consequences of his actions. Until, of course, a maid at a New York hotel claimed he forced himself on her while she entered his room to clean. But yet again, the great white hope of the French Socialist Party was lucky enough to fall upon a woman who turned out to have a checkered past, a dubious present and who made the fatal error of lying to the office of the New York District Attorney.
Once again, the world has put the alleged rape victim on trial. Interesting that DSK’s past would not have been admissible in a court had there been a trial, but apparently his most recent victim’s past made headlines throughout the world which resulted in no trial.
What really shocked me was that in the very beginning and still now, DSK’s defense was that the sex was “consensual.” In this instance, the poor guy didn’t have a choice as his DNA was all over the woman’s shirt and the carpet in his hotel room. What shocked me even more, however, was how Anne Sinclair, rallied to his defense, as if consensual sex between her husband and a hotel housekeeper or anyone else for that matter—and there have been many “on the fly” encounters—before he dashed in for a quick lunch with his daughter with traces of toothpaste on his lips, on the way to catch a flight back to Paris, was acceptable. Could her thought process have been, “Dieu merci, at least he didn’t attempt to rape anyone this time…”
So many of my French friends had the attitude that if he had a moment with a hotel maid or anyone else, so what? Rape of course, they claimed, was serious, but who’s to say if it was rape? Some insisted it was a plot by President Sarkozy and the rest of the French right wing, to “set up DSK for failure in the upcoming French election.” If he had been “set up,” that would indicate that the French president and his array of advisors and dirty-trick meisters surely knew that putting a woman, any woman, alone with DSK in a hotel room would end in a violent sex act. Let’s not forget the French and their ability to believe, rationalize, and report on what is convenient. After all, they rolled over for the sake of art and lunch when the Germans goose-stepped into France. And, during the 80s, gay actors and comedians who died of AIDS always had some other disease. The French never recognized AIDS until Rock Hudson inconvenienced them by showing up at the Pasteur Institute for a new treatment that had not yet been approved in America. Even today, people still believe that women who dress seductively are “asking for it,” or going to man’s apartment or dorm room is tacit permission to be penetrated. There was one case where the scion of an important French family was accused of rape and one of his pals who had been with him and the victim at the beach quipped, “We all went skinny dipping so they had sex.”
The latest in this disgusting saga is that the French think the American justice system is crude and primitive. We “rush to judgment,” they say. We “humiliate” the accused. France, according to the French, is the last bastion of honesty, tolerance, and that special French “laissez faire” or “live and let live.” In actuality, the French system is based on Napoleonic law where everyone is guilty until proven innocent. Of course the big equalizer is that it often takes decades for a case to be brought up before a magistrate which usually means that witnesses are senile, perpetrators are aphasic and victims are dead.
So, why are you smiling Anne Sinclair?
Is it because now you’ll get back the $1 million cash bond you put up and the release of your Washington house worth $5 million? Or, is it because you think you still have a chance to be First Lady of France? Better yet, are you smiling because you believe that notwithstanding your husband’s denials and outrage at the charges levied against him, that he has learned a lesson? Well, keep smiling. This kind of behavior is indelibly in his hard drive, in his DNA, and in his psyche. He can’t change.
The good news for the rest of us is that somehow, somewhere, sometime, he will do this again or something equally as heinous. And, like OJ, he will be charged, convicted, and jailed. Until then, Dominique Strauss Kahn is irrevocably tainted. At this point, he couldn’t even get an account at Match.com, never mind a six year stint at the Elysee Palace.