Guinean community describe Strauss-Kahn accuser as discreet, serious
May 22, 2011, 10:09 GMT
Paris - The 32-year-old chambermaid at the centre of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal grew up in a farming family in a village in northern Guinea and only learned to write after she arrived in the United States, a French newspaper reported Sunday.
Through interviews with members of the 3,000-5,000 strong Guinean community living in the New York suburb of the Bronx, the paper constructed a profile of the woman who alleges Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her in his suite at New York's Sofitel hotel on May 14.
According to Le Journal, she was born into a devout Muslim family of the Peul ethnic group in the high plains of northern Guinea.
She did not attend school, as is common in many parts of rural Africa, where many parents don't have the money to pay school fees.
'She took some classes when she arrived here. To be able to write her name. That's about it,' Souleymane, described in the report as one of the leaders of the community, told Le Journal.
Married with a baby by the age of 17, she and her husband moved to the capital Conakry, where they lived for a few years, the paper wrote.
But her husband died of an illness when she was still young, leaving her to bring up their young daughter alone.
Seven years ago she decided to move to New York, where her sister, who is a few years older, was already living, and where she was given political asylum.
Once she had her papers, she sent for her daughter, who is now aged 16 and attending a local high school.
Community members described the Sofitel maid, who says Strauss-Kahn, 62, attacked her when she came to clean his room, as a hard-working woman who kept to herself.
'She is very serious and very discreet,' the owner of the local African American Restaurant, where she sometimes worked a second job in the evenings as a waitress, said.
The woman, who is said to wear the Muslim headscarf, has been staying at an unknown location for the past week.
A man described as a spokesman for the community, Maladho Diallo, also said the allegations would have a profound effect on her personal life. 'No one will want her now,' he said.
Read more about France
Read more about IMF