There is so much we are still learning about the unfolding case around former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Nafissatou Diallo. She is, as we now know, the hotel maid who went public this week in an attempt to reclaim her name and her narrative against allegations that she was a drug dealer, liar, prostitute or all of the above.
Reading her story, I was struck by three basic facts. First, whatever happened before or after Strauss-Kahnís alleged attack in the hotel room, Nafissatou has been consistent about the events in the room, and her story has been validated by hotel records and employees. All else is white noise; she never strays from her account of those 11 minutes. The prosecution that has now begun to question her strength as a witness, but has never once claimed her story doesn't hold together.
Second, Diallo is as much worried about her immigration status as the shame of coming forward about the alleged assault. Repeatedly, she comes back and back to her status, her good work ethic, her daughter, and their future. The alleged attack, however violent and humiliating, seems to no longer be on the top of her mind.
Finally, in our attempts to protect her identity (neither the prosecution nor many newspapers, including the Globe, disclosed Dialloís name until she did) we unwittingly disempowered her, allowing the telling of her side of story be at the mercy of a district attorney's office with its own agenda. Clearly, at some stage the DA lost confidence in her; now it's not clear that the DA will continue to prosecute the case. We delude ourselves by thinking that withholding her name somehow protected her from forces beyond her control. Nafissatou Diallo was never protected, from the moment she called the police.
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images: Nafissatou Diallo, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant, who accused former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, speaks at press conference on July 28, 2011 at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.