When Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, was arrested on sexual assault charges over the weekend, the reaction in France was defensive. Some French politicians, male and female, protested the "violent" treatment of Mr. Strauss-Kahn and called him a "victim" of the American criminal justice system.
But as more details emerged about the case, and as other women came forward to accuse Mr. Strauss-Kahn of sexual harassment and assault, the anger also turned inward. Prominent female political leaders and others expressed revulsion at the charges, while debating whether the French admiration for sexual swagger in powerful men had anything at all to do with encouraging sexual coercion. In a Times Op-Ed piece, a British writer, Stephen Clarke, condemned the "sense of impunity" of powerful and famous French men.
Are women in France more forgiving of male misbehavior, whether it is brazen infidelity or sexual harassment of co-workers? Or is this an unfair stereotype?Read the Discussion »