These [low-status] women have nothing to lose when they report men who cross the line sexually. So the maid reported. And then, it turns out, all sorts of women in higher up positions spoke up against Strauss-Kahn. The women wouldn’t report the harassment on their own. They don’t want to suffer retribution. But now there will be no retribution, so it’s safe to come forward.
Nothing to lose? Like a good steady (if low-paying) job? And the right to stay and work in the United States with her child?
She didn’t know quite how important a political figure Strauss-Kahn is, or more exactly was – far more than a mere US Senator. She must have known – as Trunk herself points out – that middle-aged men who stay in $3000 hotel suites are rich and influential. Filing a complaint was extremely risky. At the very best it would certainly expose her to the trauma of cross-examination in the witness box by the nastiest defence lawyers money can buy.
The hotel manager gave a very strong endorsement of her :
Our employee worked at the Sofitel New York for three years and was completely satisfactory in terms of her work and behaviour.
We can therefore rule out that she’s a naive idiot. On the scanty evidence available, the most economical hypothesis is that she is simply an exceptionally brave human being.
I do wonder however if an equally courageous African-American maid in the same situation would have shown this African immigrant’s faith in American justice.