The American justice system is predicated on one very important rule: the accused is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. That is an admonition to jurors, of course, but it is nearly as important for the general public. There are instances where the evidence of guilt is so overwhelmingly obvious that commentators will rush to convict in the press, but it is always better to give an alleged criminal the benefit of the doubt. False accusations can ruin lives.
The left – whose denizens dominate the American press – has decided that the “innocent until proven guilty” rule shouldn’t apply to rape accusations. When Rolling Stone captured headlines with their story of a girl – “Jackie” – gang-raped by frat boys at the University of Virginia, liberals rushed to condemn the “rape culture” at our nation’s college campuses. UVA suspended Phi Kappa Psi activities, and feminists everywhere took to the airwaves and the blogosphere to decry sexual violence.
And then it turned out that the story had some…inconsistencies. Rolling Stone, in the face of overwhelming criticism, pulled their support of the story. While the real facts behind the gang rape remain unclear – it is very possible that nothing happened at all – the disintegration of the story hasn’t stopped the liberal onslaught.
Feminists For Fiction
Writing for the Washington Post (the newspaper most responsible for exposing Rolling Stone’s shoddy journalism), Zerlina Maxwell claimed that we should always believe “as a matter of default, what an accuser says.” Maxwell claims that a false rape accusation merely means the accused “would have a rough period…friends might defriend him on Facebook,” while being skeptical of accusations leads to “far steeper” costs.
Writing for Medical Daily, Stephanie Castillo blamed any discrepancies in Jackie’s story on (theoretical) traumatic damage to the frontal lobe of her brain, buoying this wild speculation with a clinical psychologist’s claims that “when a human being experiences an intensely threatening, terrifying event, there are really dramatic changes to the brain.” Castillo laments the horrible situation we have where police officers and reporters “are still trained to associate inconsistency with lying.”
Writing for Buzzfeed, Wagatwe Wanjuki flat out says she doesn’t want to hear the accused’s side of any rape story, insisting that “it isn’t just unnecessary, but it’s outright dangerous to demand that survivors must tell media who their attackers are to make their stories worth hearing.” Wanjuki instead believes that any deeper investigation into the claims only “plays into the tired ‘he said/she said’ framing often used to dismiss sexual assault.”
Finally, there’s Audrey Faye, who wrote an article at Auto Straddle in which she told her readers that the discrepancies didn’t really matter: “We must believe Jackie…I will honor [the story] as credible. I respect her pain and I want justice for her.”
All of this points to a radical feminist culture that has grown beyond the back alleys of Tumblr to infect the mainstream. Central to this culture’s thesis is that any victim treated with anything less than 100% credibility has essentially been raped a second time by the public. If a few innocent men have to endure a lifetime of stigmatism and suspicion to preserve the sanctity of women, well, that’s not too much to ask, is it? Nah, it’s really no big deal at all.