Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian novelist, has a beautiful and unsettling essay in The Daily Beast about Nafissatou Diallo -- the woman who accused the World Bank's International Monetary Fund's Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape. It begins:
I know women like Nafissatou Diallo. Women who, like me, are West African but, unlike me, do not have the privilege of education or a middle-class upbringing. On television, she was familiar: the skin tone that suggested cheap bleaching creams, the ambitious hair weave, the melodrama. An American friend of mine thought her interview too theatrical and therefore unbelievable. Instead, I saw a woman speaking a non-native language, and so compensating with gestures; a woman both grateful and intimidated to finally tell her story; a woman whose way of looking at the world is vastly different from that of most of her viewers. Diallo comes from a place where melodrama is not unusual, and often suggests truth as much as lies.
When Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested and accused of raping Diallo in a hotel room, I applauded the American justice system: a powerless woman had reported an assault by a Big Man, and the Big Man had immediately been apprehended. In Nigeria, where I come from, this would not happen. Nor would it happen in Guinea, where Diallo comes from. Although I cringed at DSK’s “perp walk,” his arrest reminded me of what I admire about America. But the case was dismissed—not because the prosecutors were certain that DSK was innocent, but because Diallo was not a saint.
While Adichie didn't do this herself, I invite you to juxtapose what she's writing about here with her earlier declamation on "the danger of the single story." While she was then speaking primarily of literary stories, its application to this real-life narrative is bracing.
Via Jina Moore.