The rights of the accused should never be forgotten


What would you do if you went in for a job interview, only to be rejected due to someone making false claims of criminality against you? You know these to be false claims, and your accuser has little to no evidence to back these claims up, but the company chooses to treat you as guilty and wash its hands of you. Well, there are some people who seem to think that this is a world we should live in.

On Oct. 6, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice after much scrutiny over allegations of sexual assault. These allegations were uncorroborated, with no hard evidence to support them, and alleged witnesses said they had no memory of the event in question. However, I’m not here to debate the actual allegations themselves; I don’t think they have enough evidence to be considered credible, and the timing makes it seem like a political hit job by Democrats.

  I instead want to talk about what this whole event means for due process and “innocent until proven guilty.” There were people who, during the investigation, and even now, say that, since this was not a criminal trial, the presumption of innocence did not apply to Kavanaugh. Phrases such as, “Believe survivors!” were constantly echoed, and despite the holes in Ford’s memory about key details and lack of corroboration with witnesses, many accepted the notion that these were credible claims.

One thing that has struck me about this Kavanaugh event is how people no longer care for the rights of the accused. There are a group of people on the political left who push the belief that we should listen to and believe all women who come forward with allegations of sexual assault, and it is disheartening to see that many believe this.

And why is it disheartening? Because these people do not care for the innocent. They insist that women have no reason to lie about sexual assault, that false claims are few and far between, often citing statistics claiming that 2 to 10 percent of rape allegations are proven false. They act as though since there is such a low chance of women lying, all accusations must be treated as true, and if you are skeptical or side with the accused, they will insist that “you don’t care about survivors.” And in pushing these ideas, they show how little they care for the innocent, even if they don’t think that they are. Despite the numbers suggesting low percentages of false allegations, it shows that they happen nonetheless. By insisting that we believe all women, and treating every woman that comes forward as a “survivor,” you show that you are willing to let innocent men have their lives and reputations ruined, so long as it means all assaulters are caught. Even if you don’t think that’s what you’re saying, that’s what your beliefs could very easily lead to.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that all the people who were against Kavanaugh were either trying to block his nomination or just hate men. No, some are just being partisan and towing the party line. And others genuinely do have their heart in the right place. They want us to empathize with true victims and help them, which is not a bad thing. My main issue is that, in their haste to be empathetic with victims of sexual assault, they may, without realizing it, be diminishing victims of false allegations. These people exist, and their rights to be heard, believed, and presumed innocent is just as important as the rights of real survivors.

I care about all injustices. Rape and sexual assault are some of the worst injustices a person can commit. And yet, being imprisoned or having one’s reputation permanently stained, either because of a malicious lie or a case of mistaken identity that allows the real culprit to go free, are just as bad and should not be diminished.

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