Things are changing fast, but it appears that the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is collapsing due to the unreliability of his accuser.
We don’t know what we don’t know. But what we do know is that women who lie on asylum applications can still be rape victims. Women who have shady drug-dealer boyfriends can still be rape victims. Women who themselves deal drugs, or who work in as prostitutes, or who commit fraud can still be rape victims. Yes, in a court setting, a pattern of dishonesty on the part of the accuser will undercut a prosecution’s case. But we need to push back against the developing narrative that only a “perfect victim” (virginal, middle-class, impeccably honest) deserves the protection of the legal system.
Women shouldn’t have to be flawless — or even all that “good” — to get justice.
UPDATE: I’ve been waiting for Jill Filipovic (an attorney in New York City as well as a feminist blogger) to weigh in. And she doesn’t disappoint. See There Are No Perfect Accusers.
UPDATE #2: Waking up this morning to more than two dozen comments in moderation on this thread, almost all from Men’s Rights Activists in gleeful, vengeful tizzies, I’m closing this thread altogether.
Let’s let the rest of the story come out.