Thoughts on "Believe The Victim"
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. -- Proverbs 18:13
The proper response to someone who claims to be a victim of sexual abuse is always "I believe you."
From Fox News: A woman filed a police report claiming her ex-boyfriend had raped her and tied her up. She was arrested when her story fell apart.
Investigators contacted Smith's former boyfriend and discovered he was in a different state at the time of the alleged sexual assault. Law enforcement in the state he was visiting – they did not say where he was – corroborated his alibi, Hood said.
A fabricated "rape" claim can do plenty of damage. Bernard Baran was framed for sex crimes he did not commit and went to prison, where he was raped 30 times. The Central Park Five spent years in prison for a crime committed by someone else. One of them says he still showers with his clothes on. What do you think happened to him while he was in prison?
Harm for false claims of "rape" exists beyond the criminal justice system. Men have been unfairly expelled from college after "hearings" that were designed to find guilt. That can mess up your life and job prospects. You can be fired from your job for a false accusation, and then find it extremely difficult to get a new one. Victims of liars then find themselves socially shunned, alienated from family and friends.
The right thing to do is seek the truth, and the fact is some women do lie. Mariah Smith, Tawana Brawley, and convicted murderer Crystal Mangum come to mind. There was another case right here in Bloomington where an IU student fabricated a "rape" in a police report.
Compassion for accusers and due process for accused are not mutually exclusive. One can respond with compassion without automatically believing every allegation.
I am all for severely punishing rapists. Brock Turner should never have been released, and Willie Horton should have been put to death 30 years ago. But due process and seeking the truth (rather than a "win") is essential.