Has the DSK Scandal Changed French Attitudes on Harassment?

Two new complaints against a French minister may mean the code of silence has lifted

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If something positive comes out of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal, it may be how French women are treated in the workplace. On Wednesday, two French women filed sexual harassment complaints against civil service minister Georges Tron citing the courage to come forward of the Guinean hotel he is alleged to have attacked. "When I saw that a chambermaid was capable of taking on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I told myself I didn't have the right to keep quiet," said one of the women filing a complaint which will open an official investigation of Tron on rape and sexual assault. "Other women may be suffering what I suffered. I have to help them," said the alleged victim who remains unnamed. "We have to break this code of silence."

Tron, whose served as mayor of Draveil since 1995 and joined the national government in 2010, says the claims were motivated by personal vendettas, but reporters are describing the new allegations of a wake-up call moment for France. "The arrest has triggered soul-searching and debate in France about tolerance of sexual harassment and French media reluctance to pursue and highlight such issues more aggressively," reports Gerard Bon at Reuters. Peter Allen at the Daily Mail says the new allegations have led many to believe that "influential politicians have regularly taken advantage of female subordinates."

The two women's complaints add to a string of alleged victims who have come forward since the arrest of Strauss-Kahn, including French writer Tristane Banon, who accused Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape and an unnamed European journalist who said he insisted "almost directly that I had to sleep with him for an interview."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.