Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sexual Harassment

Marie-France Hirigoyen:


Pensez-vous que l’affaire DSK va faire évoluer les choses ?Oui. Quel que soit le verdict de la justice, je pense que cette affaire publique va faire évoluer les mentalités. Il y aura un avant et un après DSK. Les questions sexuelles, comme les questions de violence intime, fonctionnent souvent ainsi, avec des coups de projecteur. Il faut des événements forts, des électrochocs, pour que quelque chose puisse changer.
J’entends chaque jour des personnes, et, comme je suis victimologue, je vois davantage de victimes que d’agresseurs. Et ce que j’entends, c’est que ça secoue beaucoup de femmes qui se sont senties dans des positions d’impuissance face à des hommes de pouvoir.
On a tous une part de violence en soi, des fantasmes qui ne sont pas avouables, mais certaines passent à l’acte et d’autres non. Et je pense que beaucoup d’hommes doivent être en train de se poser des questions. De l’autre côté, cela va sans doute donner à beaucoup de femmes le courage de dénoncer les cas de harcèlement, de faire la lumière sur toutes ces situations où on n’a pas pu se défendre, parce que les faits semblaient trop minimes. Tout cela est un problème de limites.
And Chantal Brunel weighs in:

Cienfuegos : Que pensez-vous des récents témoignages de femmes politiques dans Libération ?Chantal Brunel : Des témoignages remarquables, que je peux faire miens. On a toutes nos histoires, nos références en matière de machisme. 

4 comments:

Robert said...

I don't know. I'm far from convinced. The powerful have ways to squash you like a bug if you're not a team player. Just look at what Anne Mansouret may face: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/world/europe/02france.html

Alex Price said...

@Robert, thanks for posting the link for the NY Times story about Anne Mansouret. The story is a little surprising in that it doesn't add anything new; in fact, it could have been written two weeks ago, when Michèle Sabban made her comments about Mansouret. The Times article advances no evidence for the claim made in the headline, that "French Socialists May Expel Member Speaking Out on Strauss-Kahn," nor have I seen that reported anywhere. Needless to say, there is a big difference between Sabban calling for someone's head on the radio and party leaders actually taking her advice. That the PS would even consider "expelling" Mansouret for defending her daughter seems highly improbable. Somehow I don't think it would do a lot for the party's image.

meshplate said...

Alex, indeed the story brings nothing new to readers of the French press. However, that is not so for most New York Times readers. So it seems fair enough to report this story, even if its a bit stale by French standards.

The effect, it seems to me, of the DSK affair is that women believe who come forward with claims of sexual harassment (or worse) believe that they will now stand a chance of getting a fair, or fairer, hearing in court than before the DSK affair.

However, since the powerful seem to always have extra cards to play in legal proceedings, I doubt that the balance of power will be fundamentally disturbed, although I hope I am wrong.

Alex Price said...

@meshplate, I agree that it doesn't matter if the NYT story is already a little old in France, but it was surprising to me that it didn't offer anything new. I don't always admire the Times' coverage of France, but the articles are usually better reported. Also, the headline on this story was particularly misleading.