I’m not going to comment on Strauss-Khan’s guilt, but just so we’re clear, there is no way in which this hypothetical, twisted Abbott and Costello routine exonerates him from a charge of rape. The identity or occupation of the victim is no more evidence of Strauss-Khan’s innocence or guilt than his own. Even if the victim were a sex worker, that would not justify Strauss-Khan continuing to assault her despite her refusing to give consent. The matter would be no different if this were an issue of mistaken identity. Sex workers do not relinquish their right not to be sexually assaulted merely because they have sex for money. A sex worker’s right of consent is as inviolate as anyone else’s. You cannot accidentally rape someone, no matter how bad your taste in food—or jokes—happens to be.
Adam Serwer responds to Bob Kuttner’s somewhat bizarre post.