What do the Congo, the Peace Corps, and Dominique Strauss Kahn have in common? Rape. The crime that exists so many levels- political, personal, social, and military. The news about the Peace Corps hiding rapes was surprising- the women were convinced not to report the rapes that occurred in the different countries they were serving in. One woman was told to say in the report given to the organization that she was drunk. And these were college educated young women dealing with a United States agency. Yet they were unable to speak out.
Which leads to Dominique Strauss Kahn. He was notorious in France for being a sexual predator. One woman who had worked with him said she made it a point to never be alone with him. There is probably no doubt he is capable of sexual assault but was it a set-up? I’d like to think we’ve reached a point where an immigrant woman who cleans hotel rooms (a job my mother did when she came to this country) could stand up and accuse an international leader of this. It’s difficult to picture- she could be afraid of losing her job or the repercussions of such an accusation. Bravo to her to overcome all of that! If it is so, we really have made progress. A small bright point in the midst of horrors.
Then there is the Congo. 400,000 rapes in 12 month period of 2006-7. The mind boggles.
It was Adrienne Rich’s birthday. Here’s her poem: