Dominique Strauss-Kahn Scandal: Why Are We Blaming The Victim?

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newsweek cover dsk dominique strauss-kahn maid Nafissatou Diallo nafi
The relationships editor at Essence questions the media's coverage of DSK accuser Nafissatou Diallo.

There was a time when it was said that there were three sides to every story; what she said, what he said, and then the truth. But now, it seems there are four—add public perception.

Nafissatou Diallo, or "Nafi," the 32-year-old black domestic who dared to accuse one of the most powerful men in the world of rape, has unexpectedly stepped forward to prove to us that her allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, are true. And further, that she is not guilty of the salacious accusations that have been made against her in the press since she accused Strauss-Kahn of rape two months ago.

Over the past two days, Diallo has opened up to both Newsweek and "Good Morning America" to give her detailed side of events that took place in Room 2806, a presidential suite at Manhattan's Sofitel Hotel. Diallo paints a picture of Strauss-Kahn as "a crazy man" who attacked her, and left her afraid for her life. "Because of him, they call me a prostitute," she told Newsweek, referring to the way the New York Post, branded Diallo a "hooker" on the front page. (Her lawyers are suing The Post for this accusation.) "I want him to go to jail," she adds. "I want him to know there some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money." Essence: Should Men Take The Pill?

As Diallo seeks justice in and out of the courtroom, she bucks a startling trend for black women. One in four black women will be raped in her lifetime, according to statistics. And yet, just 7% of black women will report the crime to police, compared to 42% of the general population.

But even as Diallo defies one trend by speaking up, she falls squarely in line for another — double victimization — where women are harmed by their attackers face a second "attack" from the legal system which too often places the onus on women to prove she didn't "want it" or somehow "asked for it." Then the woman's past is diligently combed through to use anything possible to debunk her credibility. By now, Diallo knows this method all too well. In the last two months, her friends, her method of obtaining a green card, the amount listed on her income taxes and the number of deductions she claimed, have all been used to create a cloud of suspicion around her. It's so thick, that some wonder if the District Attorney will proceed with her well-publicized case. Essence: Do You Trust Your Partner?

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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