The hotel maid at the centre of rape allegations against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has spoken publicly for the first time. In an interview with Newsweek the 32-year-old said she wanted Strauss-Kahn jailed. It is also the first time Nafissatou Diallo has been named – she said she had no choice after her credibility was questioned. Diallo claims Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her when she entered his room to clean it.
In Newsweek, the story is told as follows: ‘The 32-year-old Guinean [Nafissatou Diallo], an employee of the Sofitel hotel, had been told by a room-service waiter that room 2806 was now free for cleaning, “Hello? Housekeeping,” the maid called out again. No reply. The door to the bedroom, to her left, was open, and she could see part of the bed. She glanced around the living room for luggage, saw none. “Hello? Housekeeping.” Then a naked man with white hair suddenly appeared, as if out of nowhere. That’s how Nafissatou Diallo describes the start of the explosive incident on Saturday, May 14, that would forever change her life—and that of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund and, until that moment, the man tipped to be the next president of France. Now the woman known universally as the “DSK maid” has broken her public silence for the first time, talking for more than three hours with NEWSWEEK at the office of her attorneys, Thompson Wigdor, on New York City’s Fifth Avenue’.(1)
The piece continues: ‘“Hello? Housekeeping.” Diallo looked around the living room. She was standing facing the bedroom in the small entrance hall when the naked man with white hair appeared. “Oh, my God,” said Diallo. “I’m so sorry.” And she turned to leave. “You don’t have to be sorry,” he said. But he was like “a crazy man to me.” He clutched at her breasts. He slammed the door of the suite. Diallo is about 5 feet 10, considerably taller than Strauss-Kahn, and she has a sturdy build. “You’re beautiful,” Strauss-Kahn told her, wrestling her toward the bedroom. “I said, ‘Sir, stop this. I don’t want to lose my job,’” Diallo told NEWSWEEK. “He said, ‘You’re not going to lose your job.’ An ugly incident with a guest—any guest—could threaten everything Diallo had worked for. “I don’t look at him. I was so afraid. I didn’t expect anyone in the room.” “He pulls me hard to the bed,” she said. He tried to put his penis in her mouth, she said, and as she told the story she tightened her lips and turned her face from side to side to show how she resisted. “I push him. I get up. I wanted to scare him. I said, ‘Look, there is my supervisor right there.’” But the man said there was nobody out there, and nobody was going to hear. Diallo kept pushing him away: “I don’t want to hurt him,” she told us. “I don’t want to lose my job.” He shoved back, moving her down the hallway from the bedroom toward the bathroom. Diallo’s uniform dress buttoned down the front, but Strauss-Kahn didn’t bother with the buttons, she said. He pulled it up around her thighs and tore down her pantyhose, gripping her crotch so hard that it was still red at the hospital, hours later. He pushed her to her knees, her back to the wall. He forced his penis into her mouth, she said, and he gripped her head on both sides. “He held my head so hard here,” she said, putting her hands to her cranium. “He was moving and making a noise. He was going like ‘uhh, uhh, uhh.’ He said, ‘Suck my’—I don’t want to say.” The report from the hospital where Diallo was taken later for examination notes that “she felt something wet and sour come into her mouth and she spit it out on the carpet.” “I got up,” Diallo told NEWSWEEK. “I was spitting. I run. I run out of there. I don’t turn back. I run to the hallway. I was so nervous; I was so scared. I didn’t want to lose my job.” Diallo says she hid around the corner in the hallway near the service lobby and tried to compose herself. “I was standing there spitting. I was so alone. I was so scared.” Then she saw the man come out of 2806 and head for the elevator. “I don’t know how he got dressed so fast, and with baggage,” she said. “He looked at me like this.” She inclined her head and stared straight ahead. “He said nothing.” The entire incident had taken no more than 15 minutes, and maybe much less. According to a source familiar with the phone records, nine minutes after Diallo entered the room, Strauss-Kahn made a call to his daughter. The maid had left her cleaning supplies in room 2820 when she went to check on Strauss-Kahn’s suite. Now she retrieved them and returned to the suite in which, she says, she had just been attacked. Disoriented, she seems to have sought some kind of solace in resuming her routine. “I went to the room I have to clean,” she explained. But she couldn’t think how or where to start. “I was so, so, so—I don’t know what to do.” Prosecutors, losing faith in Diallo’s credibility, would later raise an issue about this sequence of events. They said she told the grand jury that after the attack she hid in the hallway, but subsequently changed her story to say she cleaned room 2820 and then began to clean the DSK suite. She disputes that she changed her story, and hotel room-access records support what she told NEWSWEEK. Many aspects of Diallo’s account of the alleged attack are mirrored in the hospital records, in which doctors observed five hours afterward that there was “redness” in the area of the vagina where she alleges Strauss-Kahn grabbed her. The medical records also note she complained of “pain to left shoulder.” Weeks later, doctors reexamined the shoulder and found a partial ligament tear, she said. If there is one inconsistency for defense lawyers to dwell on in the hospital records, it is a passage that says her attacker got dressed and left the room, and “said nothing to her during the incident.” In her interview with police and her account to NEWSWEEK, Diallo recalled several statements Strauss-Kahn made during the alleged attack. Defense lawyers are expected to challenge the nature of her injuries, her recollection of events, the veracity of elements of her life story, and her conduct with other men if the case proceeds’.(2)
(1) Christopher Dickey and John Solomon, “The Maid’s Tale” Newsweek (25 July 2011). http://www.newsweek.com/2011/07/24/dsk-maid-tells-of-her-alleged-rape-by-strauss-kahn-exclusive.html.
(2) Christopher Dickey and John Solomon, “The Maid’s Tale-2”. http://www.newsweek.com/2011/07/24/dsk-maid-tells-of-her-alleged-rape-by-strauss-kahn-exclusive.html.