August 17, 2011
New York District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.
One Hogan Place
New York, NY 10013
Dear District Attorney Vance,
Radical Women is an international socialist feminist organization that has branches across the United States, including New York City, as well as in Australia. For over forty years we have fought for equal rights and equal access to justice for women.
We call on you to continue the prosecution of the sexual assault case now pending against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. When the case first emerged back in May, we applauded the willingness of the District Attorney's office to stand with Nafissatou Diallo despite the power and money that backed Strauss-Kahn. In the intervening weeks there have been a flood of allegations, innuendoes and character assassination against the victim, who is a low-income working mom and African immigrant. Many have already proven to be false. The allegations reek of immigrant bashing.
Strauss-Kahn, as the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, has powerful friends and great influence, and clearly isn't afraid to use them. One must wonder where all the falsehoods against Ms. Diallo originated. How ironic that the IMF has dominated and pillaged poor countries much as Strauss-Kahn is accused of dominating and raping the victim.
Ms. Diallo doesn't deserve to be denied justice because the mainstream press has conducted their own kangaroo court. Even if any of the allegations should be true, due process should never be denied because of a person's past actions. The strength of the physical evidence in the case demands that it be prosecuted.
Survivors of sexual violence often refuse to come forward because they know they will face the same kind of defamation Ms. Diallo is now suffering. When those who come forward are attacked for every misstep, real or imagined, it's not surprising that so many stay silent.
Will you press forward with criminal charges, or will another victim of sexual assault be denied her day in court? We urge you to do the right thing and represent the interests of Ms. Diallo and of society by prosecuting the case against Strauss-Kahn. The world is watching to see what you, and your office, will do on August 23.
National Executive Committee