Sexual Offenders: Innocent Until Proven Guilty
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Sexual Offenders: Innocent Until Proven Guilty

In light of the Kavanaugh case, Bill Cosby, Danny Masterson and countless others, we must reevaluate the way our society handles accusations of assault.

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Brett Kavanaugh was accused of assault and his reputation was punished far before the trial. Danny Masterson was fired from his role on the television show, "The Ranch," when talk of his assault was only whispers. Buzz about Bill Cosby's long list of assaults took him out of the limelight and his trial was his newest spotlight--no one doubted he did it. I don't doubt that these men did it either. Still, many big name male stars are clinging to the hope of the trial ending in their favor, stating that the woman was falsely reporting. Other big name stars are trembling, fearing that they will be falsely reported or blackmailed in order to keep their reputation. But false reporting doesn't happen as often as one may thing. In fact, many feminists groups scream that it's only 2% of all reports. Other's say it's 25%. Some all male groups boldly claim that it's 41%. Regardless, my qualm isn't where the men did or didn't do it. My issue is how America handles it.

Accusations of assault are to be taken seriously and the consequences that come with them are equally grave. But before you go ditching your favorite star, boycotting all their productions, and trash talking them everywhere you go, entertain the fact that, in America, all men are "innocent until proven guilty." This means because a report arises, the men should not be punished right away. The crime they supposedly committed is disgusting, and the survivors have a right to justice as swiftly as possibly, but we have no right to be punishing men before they've been proven guilty.

Yes, I know this thought is nauseating. I don't particularly agree with it myself even, but if we are to adhere to the due process of the law, we should not punish these men before they are tried in a court of law. If someone has an issue with this, then we need to change the foundation of America's court system in order to make a specific exception for how sexual assault cases are treated in particular or to change the way all serious offenses (i.e. murder, rape, human trafficking) are handled. But for now, since there is no large movement to change the way the government handles these offenses, I propose an alternative.

Women who report rape should always be believed. No matter what, they should be treated as a survivor. But in our minds, the perpetrator must be nameless, faceless. If a women says, "John Doe sexually assaulted me yesterday," or "John Doe sexually assaulted me twenty years ago," then they should be believed. But do not necessarily believe that John Doe did it--assume it is someone else, someone we don't know. After the law takes place and if John Doe is proven guilty, then all punishments that come with the ruling are just.

However, if the court finds that the man is innocent, and beyond a reasonable doubt, I propose that the man should be allowed to charge the woman for slander with more severe punishments--punishments that are comparable to the ones received by sentenced sexual offenders. If it is found that the woman is lying about her sexual assault, then her mental health should be checked, an evaluation should be made, and an appropriate and severe punishment must be given.

I know this may deter people from reporting sexual assault, but I am calling for the best change I can think of and I will stand by it until I see a better option. Let us not forget that the way the court is built isn't necessarily the largest problem. It's the way our societies' social expectations are structured.

Kimberle Crenshaw: "Her responsibility to remain silent was greater than his responsibility not to have done it in the first place."


Cristian Newman

Take a stand. Advocate for something, anything. Support someone who needs it. Tell someone they're wrong for talking about a man or woman in a certain way. Do anything you can to help people through the intense political situations we are facing.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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