Protest Against Prosecutor Cyrus Vance's Decision in the Straus-Kahn Case
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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Prosecutor
New York County District Attorney's Office
One Hogan Place, New York, NY 10013
September 24th 2011
Prosecutor Cyrus Vance,
We are stunned and baffled by your hostility toward, and attacks on Nafissatou Diallo, the apparent rape victim of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Your refusal to provide her the requisites of law in accordance with your sworn oath of office indicates a stark dereliction of duty. Mr. Vance, it’s not up to you to make an a priori decision of what the jury’s verdict will be; in effect, rendering a substitute verdict of your own to benefit Dominique Strauss-Kahn - and all rapists and potential rapists - based on flimsily constructed prejudicial rationalizations.
The preponderance of evidence speaks of a violent rape: the DNA indicating oral penetration; the contusions on Nafissatou Diallo’s arms and thighs and the torn ligament; the numerous witness confirming Diallo’s trauma immediately after the incident; and the bizarre suggestion of Strauss-Kahn’s high-priced lawyers that Strauss-Kahn’s sex act was “consensual.”
By refusing to prosecute Strauss-Kahn, a global financier with a well-known reputation of serial sexual assaults, while vilifying his victim, a hard working, single-mother, you blatantly mete out starkly unequal treatment favoring a gender, race and class. Just as starkly unequal was your investigation of Diallo’s past that had no bearing on the rape, while ignoring Strauss-Kahn’s reportedly long and germane history of violent sexual behavior. You damage your own credibility by attempting to smear the plaintiff’s reputation and destroy her standing as a complainant to avoid providing her equal treatment under the law.
Although Diallo constrained her counterattack against Strauss-Kahn during his assault on her for fear of losing her job, she lost it anyway. And now, instead of finally getting her chance to defend herself in criminal court, as she was unable to in the hotel room, she’s vilified, abandoned and bereft of her livelihood to support herself and her child. What a lesson about the criminal “justice” system this is for women. Rather than having recourse to the proper venue of criminal court (we taxpayers provide for victims of crimes), Diallo is being forced to use the civil courts to search for a second-rate justice and even vindication from the smear campaign she’s been subjected to.
We are left with no explanation for your shameful handling of this case, except that you and your team are playing to the lowest common denominator of opinionated misogynists, as well as pandering to a powerful man.
Betsy Warrior Amelia Sabadini Lillian Hsu Karen Schneiderman
Laura Montgomery Rhea Becker Gail Dines Laura Plummer
Rochelle Ruthchild Lisa Coppola Alison Read Lee Comer
Dr. Suzannah Tilton Virginia Mollenkott Kathleen Barry
Amy Elman Diana Russell Carol Accorsi Maura Sullivan
Dolly Arjun Karuna O'Donnell Melissa Penley Ming Chang
Anjell M. Bejanian Chris Womendez Kimberly Sansoucy
Jessica Whiteley Martha More Ann Macey Emily Jacobs
Gill Sampson Cloud Taylor Andrea Levine