Banon, 32, says the former International Monetary Fund director attempted to rape her in an empty apartment during an interview she conducted with him in February 2003 for a book she was writing.
In an interview on Wednesday evening with public broadcaster France 2, she was asked why she had waited eight years before reporting the incident to the police.
“It was very difficult before. For eight years, I believed that by not pressing charges, by listening to the advice given to me by my mother and by journalists, I could forget about it,” she said. “In fact, that’s not possible. One only realizes that with time.”
She denied rumours that have been circulating that she is psychologically fragile or has been manipulated into pressing charges, perhaps by Strauss-Kahn’s political opponents, after he was accused in May by a hotel maid in New York of sexual assault. Before that incident, Strauss-Kahn was seen as a leading presidential contender in France’s 2012 elections. He is currently on bail in New York, waiting for his next court appearance on August 1st.
Banon has done volunteer work for the city council of Boulogne-Billancourt, which is controlled by the conservative UMP party.
“I am neither unstable nor have I been manipulated, either by the city council of my city, by politicians on the left or right, by my lawyer or by my mother,” she insisted. “I am 32 years old and I can make my own decisions, even if they are difficult ones.”
Strauss-Kahn has denied any wrongdoing regarding Banon, calling her story of attempted rape “imaginary.” His lawyers have filed a slander complaint against her.
To critics who have accused her of courting publicity, the novelist shot back with the sardonic observation that the process she was going through was “very well paid.”
On Wednesday Banon’s mother, socialist party politician Anne Mansouret, was questioned by police regarding the case. It was she who had encouraged Banon not to press charges against Strauss-Kahn after the alleged incident. Mansouret said she gave police the names of “a certain number of people who played a role” in the affair.