There are a number of good reasons to not unquestionably believe in every victim. I’m not suggesting that we should return to the times when victims were often harassed and rarely believed, but I am saying (if we believe in our system of justice) that equal consideration should be given to the accused, who is supposedly innocent until (and if) they are proven guilty. In the case against my brother, very little investigation was done to try to determine the truth of his accuser’s claims. When an investigation is begun with the presumption of innocence of the accuser, the accused is automatically branded as guilty. Here are a few articles about the current status of the Believe the Victim movement.
This is a story from WHYY, a media organization in the Philadelphia area. The report centers on an open letter from professors and attorneys explaining why the Believe the Victim movement is a sort of junk science which can cause wrongful convictions.
Here’s a copy of the letter itself (PDF).
Here’s is a page about investigations from the website for SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments). It offers a number of suggestions for reversing this trend, and covers the situation primarily from the viewpoint of college-related sexual assault complaints. At the bottom of the page, though, there are nearly fifty links to editorials which are critical of the Believe the Victim approach to jurisprudence.
My feelings should be obvious by now. I do believe that my brother’s conviction ultimately happened because some members of a jury were either unable or unwilling to recognize the lies told against him in court. It was easier for them to just “Believe the Victim,” and not look for the truth. That’s the primary reason I have attempted, in the book, to discredit every lie that was told.
Have you been faced with a similar circumstance? What did you do about it? Tell me in the comments below.
Standard Disclaimer: Please post a comment below if you would like to. All comments are personally moderated by a grouchy old guy, though, so posts by self-promotional schemers, spammers, and lunatic ranters won’t make it through. Everyone else, whether your thoughts about this story are positive or negative, please feel free to speak your mind, but don’t ask me to reveal the identities of any of these individuals. Thanks.