Why this story matters:
When someone like Tariq Ramadan, an establishedOxford academic, gets accused of rape -- the uproar begins.
In a country where serious claims of sexual harassment or aggression too often get put on the sidelines or 'explained', it's no surprise. The aggressor, holding on dearly to his reputation, still managed to charm the French press in some way or another.
This was the case with Dominique Strauss-Khan who, in 2008, was accused of manipulating subordinate(s) to have sex with him. Instead of focusing on the crime itself, French media bent in his favour, calling him "the Great Seducer".
It's time for France to own up to the fact that high-profile men are not wholly benevolent beings.
What France needs is to create a safe space for women to talk about these situations. Violence can be verbal, symbolic, physical or psychological. It can be tied to a larger feeling of guilt when it comes to religion. Opening a space in which women can exchange experiences and most importantly, religious women can be heard? Well, that's the dream.
Details from the story:
- Tariq Ramadan has been taken into custody over rape allegations
- Author Henda Ayari filed a complaint last October, claiming she was raped by Ramadan in a Parisian hotel room in 2012
- Another woman filed a complaint against Ramadan around the same time. Her complaints date back to 2009
- Ramadan decided to take a leave of absence from Oxford in order to deal with this case. He has denied all accusations, claiming he is the victim of a campaign of defamation
- The accounts against Ramadan are multiplying