The National Organization for Women deplores the decision to drop Nafissatou Diallo’s charges of sexual assault against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. This miscarriage of justice exhibits all the hallmarks of a society that tolerates sexual violence by blaming and shaming the survivors — but the real shame belongs with the perpetrators and the prosecutors who allow them to walk off scot-free.
NOW applauds Ms. Diallo for bravely coming forward to tell her story. Despite attempts to bully her into silence, Ms. Diallo did not back down, and she stands as an example to all women that we can, with dignity, demand justice for ourselves — that women who are sexually assaulted need not be perfect in order to be believed.
The Manhattan prosecutors, Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers and the media all deserve to be condemned for their shameful conduct in this case. Sexist, racist, classist and ethnic stereotypes were all called into play in order to discredit Ms. Diallo. These attacks not only helped ensure that Mr. Strauss-Kahn would escape criminal prosecution, but they also help foster a climate where women victims of sexual violence fear being re-victimized by law enforcement and the press.
This case underscores the fact that we still have a long way to go in ending violence against women, and NOW will not rest until we achieve that goal. Ms. Diallo’s courage gives us inspiration to hold our heads high and keep striving.