Why is it so Hard for us to Believe Victims?
1 year ago
We've all gave Eddie Long, Penn State, Syracuse, and Herman Cain the benefit of the doubt, even if for a second
This is so common. Penn State and Syracuse are both stories about Division I sports programs mired by allegations of sexual abuse of young boys but they are not the same. While at Penn State actual witnesses to the alleged rape of children by Assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, did not allow for victim blaming as much as in other cases, at Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim was quick to defend his assistant and defame the accusers with allegations that they were liars and perhaps seeking money. In the face of damning evidence, he has since apologized.
Also, in the news of late former Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain who was accused of sexual harassment by 4 different women, 2 of which we learned of publicly, and 1 long term affair with a woman named Ginger White. His defenders were swift to call all of the women liars, "pathetic," and “husbandless” only seeking to take this great man down. Once again, we trash the accuser to defend the accused.
The truth is it is extremely difficult for victims to come forward. Both victims of abuse, assault, and harassment. Not all three of these crimes are equivalent. But the treatment of the victims in all of these cases is similar. The idea that a victim is automatically lying about something so personal and tragic in their lives but the accused who has every reason to lie is somehow in this instance telling the truth is a problem that needs to be changed. Also, troubling still is that accusers lives’ are dissected instead of the accused. Turns out there is no program that teaches women and men to live their entire lives in anticipation of having to make these types of allegations publicly. Maybe only a nun would stand up to such scrutiny.
You have every right to a defense in a court of law but the accusations hurled at accusers in the court of public opinion is an unjust trend that must cease to exist. We will have made progress when someone can bravely come forward to report allegations of sexual assault and the public (and the law) has a laser like focus on the actions of the accused first and foremost.