Stop waiting for men to stop male violence against women

“When will it end?” This has been the ever-present question every time a woman is murdered by her husband/partner in countries around the world. It used to be just the women who would ask, “When will it end?” Now both female and male voices can be heard in the chorus of the heartbroken. Yet the violence against women endures and the women continue to die.

I asked myself this question again this week and I found an answer. I know when the violence against women will stop. It will stop when women make it stop. You see, violence against women is not a new phenomenon.

It existed in ancient times, when the Bible says the Israelites went around conquering other tribes (especially those who worshipped feminine deities), either killing the women or taking them as slaves or “wives” (against their will). Still today, rape along with other such violence against women is used as a “weapon of war.”

Violence against women existed during the days of the Inquisition, when, according to some reports, as many as nine million women were murdered as witches. Even today, women who practice holistic healing or explore feminine religions are stigmatised as “witches” – as if it were a bad thing to heal others or to choose your own religion.

Moreover, all through the ages, women have been subject to domestic abuse, sold as sex slaves, put on funeral pyres to be burned alive alongside their dead husbands, isolated inside houses away from the world, refused an education and given as brides while still little girls to be forced to have sex and babies before their bodies were ready for either.

This all still happens today. And today girls are killed before they are even born, just because they are girls. There are just so many ways to torture and murder women and it seems men like to be creative in their violence – as is evidenced by the headlines this week.

All throughout history men could have stopped the violence, but they did not. It was not until recently – when women started voting and gaining political power – that laws were even instituted to curb the violence. It was lawful to beat your wife. In some countries today, a man can still kill his wife and not be held accountable for it.

So when is the violence against women going to stop? When women make it stop; and not a second before. When women stop making excuses for men who beat them and put them in jail; that is when violence will stop. When women stop pretending that men will willingly stop raping and killing women and stand up and make them stop; that is when it will end.

I am not saying that all men are rapists and murderers. However, look at the mostly male law enforcement system that refuses to protect the women; look at the politicians who read the same headlines of murdered women as we do; yet still the murders continue.

Some may wonder why women just accept the violence. During the Inquisition, there were many women who stood up and refused to accept the religion being forced on them. Those women were tortured until they wished they were dead…and death soon followed in the most horrific of ways.

When some considered the choice of death or acquiescence to the violence of men, women often chose to live: sometimes for themselves and sometimes for their children. Either way, women were a conquered gender.

It is clear that women are still conquered today as we sit and grieve over a Sister who is hammered and stabbed by her husband, but we do nothing to demand an end to the viciousness. We go on with our lives the next day as if nothing happened… until the next Sister is brutalised and murdered.

It is my opinion that in many countries around the world, female politicians have very little power because they allow themselves to be controlled by the male politicians and the agenda of those male politicians. The problem with the male political agenda is that it has allowed for the violence against women to continue. The blood of those nations’ women continues to flow. And let’s be honest, the men will continue to allow the violence until women demand otherwise.

How does a woman demand an end to the violence? In any possible way she can. I can think of a gazillion ways to demand men stop their violent ways. In fact I am doing that right now by writing this column. The possibilities range from confronting the placatory male leaders to swarming the streets in solidarity to learning how to effectively defend ourselves.

Men did not want to give women the right to vote. Women fought for that right (though not the way men fight) and we won that victory. Likewise, the only way violence against women will end is when women make it end.

Sisters, I don’t know about you, but I cannot in good conscience grieve over another mutilated dead woman without demanding an end to the constant violence against women. Yes, we will grieve like we always have. We feel loss of life deeply as we are the ones who give life and work our whole lives to sustain life. But let us use that grief to move us to action. Let women be the ones to put an end to the violence once and for all.

June 4, 2012 at 1:09 am Leave a comment

There will be blood

I have been pondering the “purity” factor imposed on women for a couple of months now. I have talked about it with friends, read about it in books and watched a documentary about it. It seems there are just so many ways that a woman can be “icky.”

For example, social norms has long held that if a woman has sex before she is married, she is not pure. When she is on her menstrual cycle, she is not pure. In fact, just by virtue of being a woman, she is so unclean that she cannot enter certain religious areas or functions.

In other words, we are made to believe that by just being alive a woman is unclean. Nonsense! How on earth does it make sense that it is okay for a man to have sex before marriage, but it somehow makes a woman impure?

Sex is a natural biological function for both females and males. Sex does not (or should not) improve one gender’s honourable standing while degrading the other’s.

Yet there is a constant demand throughout recent history to make sure the girl stays a virgin and thereby “pure’ while the man can have sex as much as he wants without any declaration of icky-ness.

And then we have menstrual cycles. Oh my! It really gets me mad when I think that patriarchal societies have turned the very blood that makes life into an unclean and evil thing.

A woman’s period is yet just another biological function. There is nothing – I repeat, NOTHING – that is gross, unclean or impure about a menstrual cycle.

In fact, it is because of the woman’s menstrual cycle that any of us are even alive today. That menstrual blood should be revered, as it once was millennia ago, rather than held in contempt. Sadly, women believe it when they are told they are somehow “unclean” when on their periods.

I was elated to read that a VICE photo series by photographer Emma Arvida Bystrom, entitled, “There Will Be Blood,” is challenging that silly taboo.

According to an article entitled, “Menstruation Taboo Challenged by VICE ‘There Will Be Blood’ Series” in the Huffington Post, “The series depicts women going about various everyday activities, like jogging, reading, texting and waiting for the bus. The photographs aren’t sexual, they’re nearly mundane … except that each woman is bleeding through her clothing — something that has probably happened to most women — some more than once.”

I went straight to vice.com to see the photo series and was elated that there are women who really do get it – we are not icky like we have been made to believe. (To see the blood in all its glory for yourself; the photo series can be found at http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/there-will-be-blood)

Women have long been burdened with our presumed icky-ness. We’ve been bogged down with guilt for being unclean and impure for no other reason than biological functions. It is time to free ourselves of this archaic hogwash. We are not impure. We are the bearers of life! Without our beautiful blood, humanity would cease to exist.

Yes, there will be blood and that blood will continue to flow like it has for ages and generations.

This wondrous event is not something to scorn because the day that blood dries up is the day humanity dies. Therefore, a woman’s period should be a time of celebration of the miracle of life.

How did things get so turned around that women are made to feel embarrassed by their periods? Women sneak around to buy sanitary napkins hoping no one sees them or hide their tampons in their sleeves as they go to the bathroom.

This is all wrong. It might be a private thing, but it is not an icky thing. That blood represents the power of procreation.

The truth is that some men want women to think they are icky just by being born in the first place. There are countries where baby girls are killed just because they are female. In some countries women are bought and sold like cattle. It is no wonder that even in Western countries women still feel the stigma of the not too distant past history when our Sisters in other parts of the world still suffer so greatly.

This perceived icky-ness of women is so wrong and immoral. Women should be honoured and revered for their place in procreation. They should be free to be female and proud of it.

Women have been held back (put in their place) for so long that it has hurt the human race. Making women feel guilty for sex, or for their periods or even for just being born (all ways of holding women back) is counterproductive to the overall good of humanity.

It is time for women to take their rightful place in society. It seems I have made that last statement a million times over, but I will continue saying it until it becomes reality. The longer it takes for women to find a way to reject these ridiculous ideologies that promote female icky-ness, the longer the human race will continue to suffer from the gender imbalanced approach to global leadership.

To be more specific, until women are leading the world, side-by-side with the men, there will most certainly be blood, and it should not continue to be the blood of death and murder, but the life-giving blood of women. Until women step in and demand an end to the wars and the violence and find peaceful ways of resolving conflict, the human race will continue on the destructive path it has been on for so long.

I am not the least bit offended at the blood of a woman’s menstrual cycle. That blood of life is beautiful. What offends me is blood shed in violence.

That blood signifies wasted life and the brutality of a male-only led world. If anything is impure, unclean or icky, it is the unchecked savagery of the male ego and the lengths to which he will go to conquer and rule.

May 26, 2012 at 12:50 am Leave a comment

Inappropriate workplace advances

So guys, what do women think of your inappropriate workplace advances?

Listen to a friend’s story about an incident that happened to her a couple weeks ago.

“I have this client. He’s been a client of mine for a little over a year when I was just freelancing, and now he’s a client [for my new business]. He often says things that are quite inappropriate, but I just ignore them and stay professional and business-focused. That’s always worked.

Well he’s been trying to get me to go out to dinner with him for a long time to discuss a project he has for [my business]. I kept trying to change it to lunch, but eventually caved and agreed to dinner…this past Thursday.

Dinner went fine, conversation was mostly professional and he did have a real project for [my business] to work on. There was a little personal conversation sprinkled in about kids and his wife of 35 years, the house they just bought, etc. So when we left, he said he’d walk me to my car. When we got there, he gave me a hug (which I’m okay with), but then tried to lean in to kiss me on my lips!!!

I immediately turned my cheek so the kiss landed there instead. I firmly said, ‘Thank you for dinner. Good night.’

I did NOTHING to make him think kissing me was okay. What on earth was he thinking?

I’m sure it happens to a lot of women all the time. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me. I’m usually really careful about who I go to business meetings with because many times it’s just the guy wanting to spend time with me and get to know me – not my business offerings. So I only [have face-to-face meetings] when I know the person is a decent guy or serious about commissioning our services, [otherwise] I keep everything virtual.

And not to mention this guy’s daughter is the exact same age as me! Sickening!”

So guys, what do women think of your inappropriate workplace advances? They are disgusted by such nonsense. Women do not go to their workplace to be groped and to hear ridiculous quips about their body parts or what they are wearing.

I know full well that most of the men reading this column who are egotistical enough to be guilty of workplace sexual harassment will say to themselves that women do not react to their advances like my friend who was revolted by what happened to her. Again, these narcissists are so very wrong.

Most women typically react to workplace harassment the same way my friend said she did when the fool mentioned above would say inappropriate things: she just ignored the harassment and tried to stay focused on business. I hate that women feel they must play dumb about these things to maintain a professional relationship.

Guys, women don’t want your advances at the workplace; they think those advances a waste of their time and energy when they are trying to get things done on the job. Moreover, when on a job, a professional woman’s focus is not romantic; it is on the task at hand.

Now I know some egotistical guys think women do nothing else but sit and think about “mack daddy” all day long and wait with bated breath for them to walk by with a statement that will objectify women and reduce them to sex objects instead of capable humans with a keen brain. But, let me let you in on a little secret…once again you are wrong.

Instead, the ladies in the workplace gather and talk about how silly you look when you try to “mack” and laugh behind your back because you think you have “game.” There are other ladies who find it downright offensive when you treat them like a potential sexual conquest instead of a co-worker on equal intellectual footing.

More often than not, women go to their girlfriends and relay the whole disgusting incident (like my friend did) and the exchange of information is not flattering for the guy at all. So while you go around thinking your mack-daddy-ness is making the ladies swoon, you are actually the creepy clown that the women try to avoid.

You see, it is not “cool” to be disrespectful to women and until you can approach a woman with the respect due her and her position within the workplace, your childish antics will forever put you in a designated spot of avoidance and women will not take you seriously on any level.

In order to gain respect, a person must be willing to give respect. Women who respect themselves would never find sexual harassment to be endearing or respond to it in a positive manner.

Men who inflict sexual harassment on women are endured to keep the peace or to keep a job, but not because women are okay with the harassment.

Guys, keep this in mind the next time you want to harass a woman. Instead, grow up and talk to women with respect. If you treat women with respect and they will reciprocate.

May 19, 2012 at 12:46 am Leave a comment

Bad Romances

I often wonder how many women settle for relationships that are not mutually satisfying. How many spend day after day wishing they had a better relationship while living with a spouse or partner who could not care two cents about having a thriving relationship?

I am talking about the kind of relationships where the woman does everything, like nurture the relationship, bears the brunt of the household chores and at times even looks the other way while he talks to another woman on his BlackBerry.

As women, we hear some of these Sisters talk about their situations and try to help them through the tough times. Others quietly bear their hurt and pain, hoping one day the man will wake up and be that loving and caring partner they are so sure he truly is, deep inside.

Sadly, there are women who live this way for years and years until the multiple sharp barbs to the heart have calloused them so much that it is difficult to tell their dead feelings from those of the man who made them this way. Society expects women to stay in such relationships no matter how punishing. A woman is supposed to stand by her man and hope her goodness will rub off on him.

We all know, of course, that the man does not change. He doesn’t even want to change; does not see a reason to do so. In fact, most men will see that goodness from the woman as a licence to do even more that will hurt her.

When confronted about the hurt they cause, men like this tend to want to be defensive or to push the blame back on the woman instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. After all, he had no choice but to work late (365 days a year) or to talk to that other woman several times a day (it’s just a “business” relationship) or to walk all over the woman’s feelings (he never understands the tears – and never tries to do so).

That very same man would never tolerate this type of behaviour from her. Yet the woman is expected to just accept his ill-treatment with a smile and dinner on the table. And sadly, many women do just that.

On top of holding down a job to make ends meet, so many women in this type of untenable situation go home to wash and press that man’s clothes, clean his house, raise his children, shop for his groceries, cook his meals (and even take the food out of the pot and hand him the plate!) all while his majesty grumbles and complains about this or that – or talks to his sweet woman on the phone.

She does not get flowers for her hard work. There are no kind words for her; they are saved for the sweet woman. There’s not even a measly “thank you” for everything she does and all the sacrifices she makes, so he can live like a prince.

This goes on day after day, week after week, year after year. And when the woman just can’t take it any more and breaks down into tears, he calls her “emotional” or crazy or pathetic (sometimes all of the above). Afterwards, she is the one left feeling like she has done something wrong by putting a dark cloud in his majesty’s blue sky. This is madness to the nth degree.

Yet she fights to hold this unhealthy relationship together. She does not understand why she works so hard to preserve a relationship that causes her so much hurt and heartache; she just knows that it would disappoint society if she cannot make him happy. Moreover, she has invested so much of herself into this relationship that she can’t seem to just walk away – even if it is for her own good.

This is not a question of love. It is a question of self-preservation. How long can the woman hold on until she either loses all of herself to this relationship and becomes nothing more than the walking dead or has a mental breakdown from dealing with the constant bombardment of hurtful barbs?

What is wrong with this picture?

Does he have any intention at all of changing? Of becoming more loving, caring and attentive? Does he plan to stop hurting her with his curious relationships? Will he ever decide that he, too, has responsibilities in the home and finally help her?

Women should not be forced to live like this. Yet think about how many Sisters you know who live like this every single day. There is so much feminine potential in those Sisters that goes to waste as they spend all their energy trying to get even one smile from that man who is too wrapped up in his own selfish world to even take note.

Even her beauty and intelligence are lost on him. When others tell him how pretty she is; he gives a blank stare. When others tell him what a great woman she is, he picks up his BlackBerry to see if his sweet woman has sent him another message.

He thinks that sweet woman understands him better, but most times she doesn’t even know him. It is the spouse who has seen him through thick and thin, through richer and poorer and who really knows him. It is the partner who knows all of his ugly ways and still accepts him that truly loves him.

Imagine the possibilities if instead he spent all that “sweet woman” time, energy and effort on his wife.

When she finally cannot take it anymore and finds the courage to take her life back, all too often he suddenly he realises he loves her. Most times the man will beg her to stay and make empty promises about being a better husband, but one cannot help but wonder at this point if he fears losing his wife and his love – or just his maid.

May 5, 2012 at 12:39 am Leave a comment

The revolution should be feminized

As I was casually browsing the many booths with information and goods from the various women’s organisations at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) Conference in Istanbul, Turkey last week, I spotted some T-shirts that grabbed my attention. Although I had already walked past the booth, the message on the T-shirts made me do an about face. Just as I was turning around, a voice from the booth said, “Stella?” The thought struck me as to how unusual it was to hear my name being spoken in Istanbul by someone besides my Guyanese colleague. It was a Sister from Jamaica who is also a Facebook friend and, as it turned out, the person who created the T-shirts that grabbed my attention.

The message on the shirts stopped me because it was obvious it could only have come from a Caribbean Sister. The shirts read, “The Revolution Should Be Feminised!” After chatting with my Jamaican Sister, I bought a T-shirt to hang in the S4 Foundation office as a reminder that any revolution that does not include women is not a valid revolution.

On the topic of revolutions, today in the US there will be marches in many cities around that nation by women (and men who care about women) who are fighting back against the injustices meted out to them. They are taking a stand. They are making their voices heard as their very own government representatives try to take away their reproductive rights. It is sickening to me how something as priceless as a “right” or justice can be used as political tools, as if men should be able to give and take these precious commodities whenever it strikes their fancy.

In America, the women are now struggling for their right to choose when they reproduce. I’m not talking about abortion alone; I am also talking about access to birth control. The desire for men to control women’s bodies seems insatiable. This struggle in the US will have global consequences and the American women cannot fail. They must persevere and win this war.

In the past year in the US there have been a record number of laws passed to infringe on women’s reproductive rights. This is going backwards, but it is true. Decades ago, Margaret Sanger said, “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”

In other words, by taking away a woman’s right to choose when she procreates, you are taking away her freedom as well. And to what end? To sate the egos of men who cannot handle the likes of a woman who thinks and makes decisions for herself? Or to hold all women to the most extreme versions of religious theology, even if they do not practice that religion themselves?

It is no wonder more and more women are walking away from religion. There is currently a global revival of extremism in most of the world’s religions and that intemperance is accomplishing one of two things: it is either shackling women even further or chasing them away. Both consequences are not good for religion–or for women.

Today is also the start of a sex strike in the US in response to the trouncing of women’s reproductive rights. A sex strike is a method of non-violent resistance in which one or multiple persons refrain from sex with their partner(s) to achieve certain goals. It is a form of temporary sexual abstinence. The sex strike runs through May 5 with the thought that if women’s reproductive rights are denied, so will men’s.

In Guyana, women won a shallow victory when Henry Greene, the former Police Commissioner accused of rape, retired from his post. The good news is that he is finally and permanently out of that important position. But that is the only good news.

The bad news is that Greene was allowed by the government to subvert the justice system and retain his pension and benefits (paid by taxpayers). This is no real victory for Guyana’s women. In fact, it is the complete opposite of a victory.

Indeed, any revolution that does not include women is not a valid revolution. The opposition and the government can go head-to-head in dramatic fashion all they want, but if they neglect the women and their children in the process, their efforts are counterproductive to the overall health of the nation. The revolution should be feminised!

April 28, 2012 at 12:26 am Leave a comment

Feminist Economics 101

Picture this: the world’s brightest women on economics coming together with thousands of women’s rights advocates from around the world to address the global economic situation as it applies to the female half of the world’s population. What a dream!

This dream is reality for me this weekend in Istanbul, Turkey as I attend the Association for Women’s Rights and Development’s (AWID) 12th forum entitled, “Transforming Economic Power to Advance Women’s Rights and Justice.”

AWID is an international feminist membership organisation that works to strengthen the voice, impact and influence ofwomen’s rights advocates, organisations and movements internationally to effectively advance the rights of women.

I came to this forum to get a better sense of the global scope of the women’s rights movement. With 2,200 women’s rights advocates from over 100 nations, I am getting that and so much more. It is beyond my ability to describe the feeling of seeing a sea of Sisters from around the world greet and encourage each other.

Although I love to travel, this is the first time I have ventured to a country where I cannot speak even one word of the native language, which in this case is Turkish. It has been only a slight inconvenience. I am here with another human rights advocate from Guyana to learn as much as we can to take back to our work in Guyana.

This is my first time attending an event of this size on an international level. We have met Sisters from India, the Congo, Australia, Greece, Turkistan, Sudan, Mexico, and Guatemala; in fact, we have met so many Sisters from so many countries that I can not even remember them all to make a proper list.

You would think that with the convergence of so many cultures into one conference centre there would be an element of fragmented suspicion at least, and, at worst, open hostility over bitter international relations. That is absolutely not the case. On the contrary, we greet each other with a hug and a kiss. There is genuine affection and concern for each other and marked interest in the work each Sister does in her respective country.

This conference has inspired me to believe that a global Sisterhood is not only a possibility, but to understand that it already exists. One of the primary reasons I came to Istanbul was to learn more about how global and local economics impact women. I can easily grasp social and political aspects as they apply to women, but understanding economics has always been a problem for me, even in general, much less on a more specific basis concerning women.

Yet I am not one to be daunted by a subject I do not understand. The answer to everything we want to learn rests in study and research. I came to Turkey with the clear intention of leaving with a better understanding of how economic issues apply to women.

Imagine my extreme pleasure to realise there are so many brilliant women who not only comprehend the economic situation in their own countries, but also have in-depth knowledge about economics on a broader, worldwide scale. It was also a pleasure to realise that these women want to teach the rest of us what they know so we can use this information to improve the lives of other women.

In fact, as my colleague and I left a particular interactive session on Thursday a bit confused and befuddled about some of the views expressed on micro-financing, we happened across the path of a brilliant woman who was a speaker at the first general session. She took the time to listen to our queries and explain the other views we had encountered, which in turn helped us to see possible pitfalls that should be avoided.

To be sure, women are often left out of economic decisions. The world’s dominant economic systems were built by the patriarchy, giving little thought to the significant roles women play in the financial well-being of the world. For example, the unpaid labour produced by women (i.e., childcare and housekeeping, cooking) can be seen as subsidies to the capitalist system practiced in many countries around the world. Without such subsidies, capitalism would fall.

In fact, according to UN gender reports, women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of its food, earn just 10% of its income and own only 1% of its property. I have one word for these statistics: FAIL.

In fact, it was not too long ago when women themselves were seen as property (and still are in some countries). Why on earth would a man’s property need to own property, right? Again, FAIL.

As it becomes clearer that the present economic systems are not fair to the world’s overall population and the 99% begin to demand a change in financial distribution, it is women who continue to suffer most.

In Istanbul this weekend, these Sisters gathered from all over the world know that as we continue to struggle for gender equality in our social, political and religious environs, we must also battle for equality in economic policies and development.

April 21, 2012 at 12:11 am Leave a comment

On the credibility of rape victims

Rape victims are not always ten-year-old little girls who couldn’t possibly have done anything at all to provoke the lust of a grown man (although this week’s headlines have those, too). Those who rape little girls are obviously demented. Rape victims are also grown women.

Sometimes these adult women have consensual sex with men (aghast!) and as such they are often blamed for being raped since they happen to enjoy sex. After all, if a woman enjoys consensual sex, she must also enjoy being forced to have savage intercourse against her will, right?

This means that in sexual assault cases, a woman who has sex has a credibility issue. This is absolutely ludicrous, yet that is life for women in today’s patriarchal society. Women obviously want to be brutally raped, have all sense of security ripped from them and live with emotional turmoil for the rest of their lives.

Then there are women who, on top of having and enjoying consensual sex, may have additional credibility problems. Maybe she has lied or done something immoral in the past (who hasn’t?), or perhaps she had some drinks the night she was raped (being tipsy must mean she wanted to be raped) or maybe she wore a slinky, eye-catching dress (whatever was she thinking?).

In other words, if a rape victim didn’t have a credibility problem from the start simply because she was a woman and enjoyed sex before being raped, she would definitely have one if she is less than perfect in the eyes of law enforcement and judicial systems run by men.

A reader of this column recently sent me a March 5 article entitled, “Alan Dershowitz Convicts DSK,” from Newsweek’s Daily Beast on the credibility issue with the rape victim involving French elitist and former International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK). DSK was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper who was a Guinean immigrant when she went to his room to clean it.

DSK got off scot-free because the prosecutor felt the victim had credibility issues.

What made this article so very interesting is that it describes Alan Dershowitz, America’s famous defence lawyer (think high-profile defendants such as televangelist Jim Bakker, football star OJ Simpson, boxer Mike Tyson and publishing heiress Patty Hearst), as he assumes the role of prosecutor in a mock sexual assault trial against DSK that never happened in real life. This was done for his legal ethics class at Harvard University.

Dershowitz was convinced he could secure a guilty conviction, even with the victim’s credibility problems. However, being the extraordinary defence attorney that he is, Dershowitz did not hold this opinion from the start. He was convinced by Sofitel lawyer Lanny Davis who told him, “Many rape victims have credibility issues. But what does it say to future rape victims if a case with this much physical evidence and credible outcry witnesses gets dropped because the victim lied about how she got in the country and other personal issues?”

This mock trial was Dershowitz’s way of addressing the issue of credibility with rape victims. Here is a portion of the Daily Beast article as it describes the mock trial:

First, Dershowitz would tell the jury they had every right to doubt the accuser. Second, Dershowitz would seek to get entered into evidence a picture of Strauss-Kahn’s naked body, possibly from the police forensic exam after his arrest. If that failed, Dershowitz would have to help jurors picture in their imagination a naked 62-year-old DSK – overweight and slightly hunched, his chest sunken and his skin sagging from the natural progression of age. With the ground rules established, Dershowitz took centre stage.

The classroom was silent, with students hanging on every word.

“What we are asking you to do is to look at all the facts in the case and decide based on all the facts whether she is, in fact, telling the truth about this one instance, mainly that she was sexually assaulted in that hotel room,” Dershowitz bellowed in his usual impassioned courtroom voice. “Ladies and gentlemen, you have seen the photograph of Dominique Strauss-Kahn naked. Now I just want you to imagine for a second him walking out of the shower, stark naked, and this young woman who you see before you, an attractive young woman, looks at him.”

Finally, there are a few giggles from the jurors’ box. Then another hush.

“Now the theory of the defence is that she looked at him and could not resist her lustful temptations to have seven minutes of oral sex with this man. She simply couldn’t control herself,” he continued, a touch of sarcasm in his voice.

“She didn’t do it for pay because if she did, you would have heard in the media or this courtroom the theory that this was a financial transaction. She didn’t do it because she was forced to, if you believe the defence. She did it because she wanted to. And why would she want to? The only reason she would want to, according to the defence, is that she was so lustfully driven by this beautiful 62-year-old, white-haired, overweight man’s presence that she couldn’t resist his chops.”

Dershowitz continues, “Now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if you believe that story you should acquit. But if you don’t believe that – if you say to yourself that there is no plausible basis for that account – then you have to seriously consider the prosecution’s account: mainly that she was forced to submit to his sexual advances. And you can do so whether or not you believe she is a woman who is generally credible in the other aspects of her life, whether or not this is a woman who has previously lied about other important matters in her life.”

The brilliance of Dershowitz in this mock trial has set the stage for successful future convictions of rapists regardless of the credibility of the victim. It should also be noted that the evidence against the rapist in this trial was substantial and he has been accused of this type of thing before. There is no doubt in my mind that DSK should be in jail for a very long time.

Seriously, why on earth would any young, attractive woman in her right mind willingly choose to have sex with an old, wrinkled, overweight dirt-bag? She wouldn’t.

March 24, 2012 at 1:55 am Leave a comment

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