Here’s the problem with “innocent until proven guilty” when it comes to accusations of rape or sexual assault:
It’s not that it’s wrong, but that people only talk about the accused and don’t accept the fact that the accusers are also innocent of false accusations until proven guilty.
We forget that two parties sit in judgement: the accused and the accuser.
Both deserve the right to due process.
That’s why we can’t watch these cases solely looking at the accused and saying they deserve due process, happy to conjure up any imagined scenarios that would absolve them, whilst never providing the same respect to their accusers.
Whenever you watch a case of a rape or sexual assault allegation unfold, it’s always the same story.
We think of every scenario that could allow the accused to be innocent, including accusing their accusers of lying, and pretend if we can’t rule them out then they are innocent – but we don’t grant the accusers the same due process. We don’t look at them and say “here’s every scenario where they could be innocent of lying, and if we can’t rule them out then they’re innocent.”
We saw it in the Kavanaugh case last month.
His innocence of rape was assumed, but his accuser’s innocence of lying wasn’t.
Why is that the case?
We all know why that’s the case.
We all need to change that.
If you grant an accused presumed innocence, you have to grant their accuser presumed innocence.