Matthew Yglesias says that Penelope Trunk gets it wrong. Dominique Strauss-Kahn's past sexual assaults have been covered up not because the women he assaulted "had something to lose" but rather because the women he assaulted did not belong to a labor union.
Yglesias » Harassment Incentives: Penelope Trunk:
These women have nothing to lose when they report men who cross the line sexually. So the maid reported. And then, it turns out, all sorts of women in higher up positions spoke up against Strauss-Kahn. The women wouldn’t report the harassment on their own. They don’t want to suffer retribution. But now there will be no retribution, so it’s safe to come forward.
This is why men are going to focus harassment at the higher ranks of the corporate ladder. These are the women who have to keep their mouths shut if they want to keep climbing the ladder.
But God help the guy who harasses a women with nothing to lose....
Is it true... that a maid has “nothing to lose”?... [I]f the economy operated at a permanent full-employment state... if you did get fired you could find some other hotel to clean in. But when unemployment’s 9 percent it seems to me a low-wage worker has a huge amount to lose.
Unless she’s represented by a strong labor union, which was the case for the maid at the Sofitel in question.