Real Talk: Would You Stand by Your Man?

Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), who was accused of sexually assaulting a Black hotel maid on May 14, broke his four-month silence yesterday in a French television interview. He discussed the events in the hotel room and how he's hurt his wife.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), who was accused of sexually assaulting a Black hotel maid on May 14, broke his four-month silence yesterday in a French television interview.

“What happened [in the hotel room] includes neither violence, nor coercion, nor aggression, nor any criminal act. It is the district attorney who says that, not me,” said DSK, former head of the International Monetary Fund and a one-time top presidential contender in his native France. “What happened was a relationship that was not only inappropriate, but more than that, an error. I am not proud of it. And I regret it infinitely.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office filed a motion to dismiss the sexual assault case against DSK on August 22. The document described his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, as “persistently, and at times inexplicably, untruthful in describing matters of both great and small significance.”

DSK stated that the sexual encounter with Diallo was consensual and denied it was sex-for-pay. He did not give specific details as to what exactly occurred.

After listening to his interview, I’m even more confused. If you’ve read my previous posts about the DSK accusations, you know that many things have never added up to me about what happened in that room. The one plausible implication from DSK’s team was that the encounter with Diallo could have been sex-for-hire gone wrong, in that DSK didn’t leave the agreed-upon money on the nightstand so Diallo got mad and made up a rape story.

But now DSK debunks that theory, which was implied by his own lawyers. I’m left wondering how his version of the event is even remotely possible: a woman who likely didn’t know who he was (full confession: I’d never heard his name until he was accused of rape), was so instantly attracted to him that she happily and consensually performed oral sex on him within minutes of their first encounter?

Big Daddy Kane circa ’88? Okay. But DSK, especially if she didn’t know who he was? Unlikely. (Highly.)

DSK also spoke of his wife of nearly 20 years, Anne Sinclair, a former news anchor and wealthy heiress who is standing by her man. Of Sinclair, he said, “I hurt her. I know it. I am angry at myself for it." He added that the rape accusations had changed him. "I've seen the pain that I caused around me and I thought, I thought a lot," he said.

So much to cover, so little space.

Reading the reports of the interview, I wondered how many women would stand by their man if put in the same position as Mrs. DSK (assuming that she was “hurt” by his actions, I’ll assume their marriage isn’t “open”).

While I make no judgment about her decision, could I stay? I don’t think so. But maybe DSK actually has learned something throughout this ordeal and has changed. He says he has.

Do you believe him— about changing or anything else? And changed or not, would you stay if he was your husband?

Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of "A Belle in Brooklyn: Your Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk.

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