Tristane Banon - A Portrait
Here, just for the record, is part of the article from The Telegraph, dated May 16, 2011 that gives Tristane Banon's description of the scene that took place with Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a studio apartment in 2002. I have added (in italics) important passages omitted from the Telegraph's version. The French text I used is posted here:
Tristane Banon alleges that after the 2002 attack she was dissuaded from filing charges by her mother, a regional councillor in Mr Strauss-Kahn's Socialist party.
Miss Banon said the alleged incident took place when she went to interview Mr Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, in an apartment.
She gave a graphic account of the alleged attack in a 2007 television programme, currently posted on the internet.
Note: I have not found a working video, but there may be one.
In the clip the blonde Miss Banon, 22 at the time of the incident, tells a group of well-known journalists and actors she had requested a chat with Mr Strauss-Kahn for a book of interviews with leading French figures about the "biggest mistake you ever made".
She arrived at a studio with little more than a bed in it. She said he had insisted on holding her hand during the interview, then her arm and then made advances to her. There was no independent confirmation of her allegations.
"I arrived there in a black turtle neck; guys maybe get turned on by black turtle necks but they have to stop themselves
"It ended really badly. We ended up fighting. It finished really violently. We fought on the floor. It wasn't a case of a couple of slaps. I kicked him, he unhooked my bra, he tried to open my jeans," she said.
The politician acted, she said, like a "chimpanzee in heat".
It ended badly, but what marked me… (the video is cut here). Anyway I left, and he right away sent me a text message saying "so you're afraid of me?" provocatively. And I had spoken to him when we were fighting,
"I said the word 'rape' to scare him but it didn't seem to scare him much, which suggests he was used to it," she said.
And after that, he didn't stop sending me text messages saying "Are you afraid of me?"
Under French law, sexual assault charges must be filed within three years but attempted rape charges can be brought up to 10 years after the alleged attack.
The article closes with these words from her mother:
"For me, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is ill. It is very plausible that he sexually assaulted this woman (in New York). But I am quite formally saying he tried to abuse Tristane."
There is a very revealing article about Tristane's personality at 20 Minutes:
Fair skin, a slim figure, blond hair and big troubled eyes, Tristane Banon is 32 but looks ten years younger. From television studios to autobiographical novels, the young woman who is suing Dominique Strauss-Kahn has talked about herself often. But who is she really?
When her mother, Socialist councilor Anne Mansouret, gave birth to her on June 13, 1979 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, her father was present. It would be the last time. He got lost somewhere between the city hall where he went to register her birth and the hospital, related Tristane Banon to Thierry Ardisson during a 2004 television interview. At the time, the young woman was plugging her novel, J'ai oublié de la tuer (I forgot to kill her), about her mother.
If her father Gabriel Banon, a former financial counselor, was absent, her mother also neglected her. Tristane Banon acquiesced when Ardisson evoked her "childhood destroyed by the terrible indifference of her mother". Left in the care of an alcoholic nanny who, she says, eventually beat her, the little girl claims she was fondled by one of the close friends of the nanny.
On the subject of the men who came "parading" in for her mother, the young girl insists that she "almost felt pity for them" as they allowed themselves to be manipulated. "I was more suspicious of women than of men," she recalls. Only one happy memory: the semblance of a close family life that she found in Paris when she lived with a family who lodged her in exchange for tutoring for their daughter. At the time, she was 14, and her mother had gone off to live in Brittany. Without her.
Upon graduating from the Advanced School of Journalism in Paris in 2000, the young woman was a photographer for publications such as Paris Match and Le Figaro. But she dreamt of literature and published her first book in 2003, to be followed by three novels. She became interested in sports journalism, and currently Tristane Banon writes at the website Atlantico, launched in 2011 and considered as right-wing.
Note: Le Monde gives Atlantico a rating of "left-wing". Others say it is a site that supports Sarkozy. As I post this Tristane is being accused of manipulation and of being the instrument of a plot by politicians. Atlantico says she is not even paid for her articles. I will have more ASAP.
Tristane Banon forgave her mother when she became an "adult in quotes". And yet it was again her mother who asked her not to file a lawsuit when she learned that DSK had tried to rape her. In February 2007, she related the episode, again on television with Thierry Ardisson. In 2003, for her first book, in which she prodded men to admit their "Errors Confessed", she met DSK. "He unhooked my bra, he tried to open my jeans," she said, describing the fight.
The young woman says she is a friend of Camille, Dominique Strauss-Kahn's daughter, and the goddaughter of his second wife. She did not want to be "the girl who had a problem with a politician". Today, "I can no longer stand hearing that I am a liar because I did not file a suit," says Tristane Banon. It remains to be seen if a courtroom trial will silence the skeptics.
The photo above shows her in 2008. She is very pretty, and well-named by her mother. Tristane, of course, means "sad" from "triste". She has not had a happy life, but to prove her case, she will have to show some kind of material evidence - a wound to her body? Did she go to a hospital in 2002? Was a photo taken of an injury? She probably has copies of his text messages, but they are not proof of attempted rape, only of intimidation.
Is she a reliable witness? Is she emotionally unstable? Will her case unravel as the other one did? Will there be pressure on the court from the government or from the Socialists?
It is possible - I am speculating - that Dominique Strauss-Kahn uses some violence in his sexual encounters, especially if there is resistance. It is possible he manhandles the women, and injures them. Note that she was cut off in the video when she said she had been "marked".