Without evidence to the contrary, we need to err on the side of believing the victim.
I'm not like-minded with that approach, which looks indistinguishable from a presumption of guilt.
Here in the UK, at one time (less so now I suspect), the police used to remember their ABC - Assume nothing, Believe nobody, Check everything.
If law enforcement and the judicial system actually worked that way, I would be inclined to agree, but here in the U.S., at least, we have an epidemic of sexual abuse towards women perpetrated with impunity by men in positions of power and a culture of mistrusting victims that facilitates it, particularly when the accused have some cachet in the public eye. Additionally, as I wrote in the sentence following the one you quoted,
gcgiles1dollarbin wrote:We should know by now that "due process" is most often at the mercy of deep pockets, and to say merely that so-and-so will have her day in court--that we should therefore abstain from all judgment--does no service to justice.
Too often women, especially in the entertainment industries, have been threatened with retaliation if they report what has happened to them. The "check everything" of your ABC formula is nearly always compromised, and the mistrust of the judicial process--not unlike what has happened with crimes being underreported in the aftermath of Trump's moves against immigrants in this country--leads to complacency among those who are not directly victims, because they believe there is no serious problem or that the fabled omniscience and perfect disinterest of law enforcement and judicial procedure will solve whatever problems there are.
Brian C wrote:I don't know about this. What exactly would "do service to justice?" You used the phrase "we need to" three times in that paragraph without actually saying anything concrete that "we need to" do. Will it serve justice to stop watching films? Or should we form vigilante posses to round up the accused in the face of "deep pockets" obstructing justice? Or is it sufficient to merely post about our disgust on social media?
I think you are bristling more at my rhetoric than the points I'm trying to make. I can't tell people what they should do in their daily lives, or in their roles as activists and allies, in order to counter it; we all have different investments in this; different levels of expertise, commitment, and, yes, indifference; and different levels of resistance toward what I believe are highly exaggerated fears of vigilantism. There are any number of victim relief organizations that provide legal and counseling resources which you can support through donations. But, yes, as a civilized society, "we need" to start believing the stories of sexual assault victims more frequently, and at the risk of being boorish through repetition, I'll say again that "we need" to put aside defensiveness and admit that many of the achievements of film art we admire came at a dear cost, particularly to women. Neither demand should be controversial, and yet the discomfort that arises from discussing them is transformative and productive, even as it plays out on social media; in other words, don't sell these forum exchanges short. Also, the emphasis on abusers in the film industry is critical because each case is highly visible and can build greater awareness toward this problem more rapidly. "Justice served" is obviously subjective, but I doubt anyone feels satisfied that Harvey "working on himself" at a Swiss sex addiction clinic--when someone else with fewer resources might justifiably be in prison--constitutes justice. If he gets away with this because he has enough money to buy himself freedom and exoneration, then the message is clear: his victims were mere nuisances to brush away with wealth.