Innocent Until Proven Guilty Applies To Women, Too

Innocent Until Proven Guilty Applies To Women, Too

To the Dr. Christine Blasey Fords of the world: I see you, and I believe you.

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We have a saying in this country that is (supposed to be) upheld in every courtroom: innocent until proven guilty.

The presumption of innocence is one of the founding principles of the American justice system. It is one of the key differences between the American judiciary and the European justice system. It is touted in every grade-school American history book across the country.

As Americans, we understand that every person is granted access to due process, legal representation, and a fair trial when it comes to criminal proceedings.

Why, then, is it so difficult to understand the same principle when it applies to female survivors of sexual assault?

There are some scary statistics out there: according to Forbes, one in four girls and one in six boys have been sexually abused before they turn 18, and one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point during their lives. Think of the number of women you know.

Now think of that statistic again.

These past two years have seen the dawn of the #MeToo movement: women coming forward to share their traumatic experiences with sexual harassment and assault in all walks of life--and taking down predatory men in positions of power while doing so: Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby...the list goes on.

An objectively good thing, right?

You would think.

There are people--primarily men--who become unreasonably angry not only with the delayed reporting of crime, but with women for saying anything in the first place.

"They're too sensitive." "If it really bothered them, why did they wait so long to do anything about it?" "Boys will be boys!"

"Like if you can't handle some of the basic stuff that's become a problem in the workforce today, you should maybe go teach kindergarten." (Almost a direct quote from Donald Trump Jr., son of our dear president).

"He's only been accused, he's not definitely guilty."

The running theme of these objections?

That these women are being somehow dishonest or misleading.

Despite glaringly obvious evidence of violence against women and the likelihood of retaliation by powerful men in response to charges, citizens all across American can't seem to wrap their heads around the idea that true victims of assault might be traumatized enough to stay quiet about these incidents.

This past Thursday, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford--in an impressive display of poise and bravery--gave testimony that Supreme Court nominee and judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party. This comes after being denied the request of an FBI investigation, I might add.

Dr. Ford maintains that her intentions in doing so were nothing more than her willingness to tell the truth, and in doing so revealing the true character of a man with the potential to assume one of America's most influential judicial positions.

In a display embarrassingly similar to the twitter and facebook rants of angry, white teenage boys in response to #MeToo posts, Republican senators--specifically Sen. Grassley--spent much of their designated air time questioning why Ford took so long to come forward, why she doesn't remember certain specifics from that night, etc., etc., etc.--after opening remarks summarizing the same vague defenses.

Is it really all that difficult to believe that a woman--a successful, intelligent woman--would willingly put her family and private home life at risk for the sake of truth and the greater good?

I for one don't think Kavanaugh's the only one who should get the benefit of the doubt.

Putting my own interpretation of the hearing aside, I have one simple question for American citizens: are you going to assume Dr. Ford's wrong before listening to a word she has to say?

I would like to think that as a true American, you would think twice.


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As A Victim Of Sexual Abuse, Painting '#MeToo' On A WWII Statue Is Taking The Movement TOO Far

There is a line you should never cross and that is it.

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The famous picture of the sailor kissing a woman was taken right on V-J Day, when Japan surrendered to the U.S. in World War II. For decades it was seen as a representation of how excited and relieved everyone was at the end of the war.

The picture touched the hearts of thousands as you could feel the overwhelming amounts of joy that came from the snap of the camera. While the woman in the picture died back in 2016 due to a struggle with pneumonia, the sailor just recently died on Feb. 17, 2019 at the age of 95.

Most people saw it as both a heartbreak and heartwarming that the couple that was once photographed were now together.

Other people saw differently.

There is a statue made of the picture that resides in Sarasota, Florida. Police found early Tuesday morning of Feb. 19, two days after the sailor's death, that someone had spray-painted #MeToo on the statue's leg in bright red.

As a woman, I strongly encourage those who have been sexually assaulted/abused in any way shape or form, to voice themselves in the best way they can. To have the opportunity to voice what they went through without being afraid. As a woman who has also been a victim of sexual assault and has been quiet for many years...

This act of vandalism makes me sick.

While the woman that was kissed by the sailor was purely kissed on impulse, she had stated in an interview with 'The New York Times' that, "It wasn't a romantic event. It was just an event of 'thank God the war is over.'"

People were celebrating and, as a sailor, that man was so over the moon about the war being over that he found the nearest woman to celebrate with.

While I don't condone that situation, I understand both the reason behind it as well as the meaning behind the photo. I understand that, while it wasn't an intended kiss, it was a way of showcasing relief. To stick #MeToo on a statue of a representation of freedom is not the right way to bring awareness of sexual abuse.

It gives those the wrong idea of why the #MeToo movement was started. It started as a way for victims of sexual abuse to share their stories. To share with the world that they are not alone.

It helped me realize I wasn't alone.

But the movement, soon after it started, became a fad that turned wrong. People were using it in the wrong context and started using it negatively instead of as an outlet for women and men to share their horrific experiences of sexual assault.

That statue has been up for years. To wait until the sailor passed away was not only rude but entirely disrespectful. The family of that sailor is currently in mourning. On top of it, it's taking away from the meaning behind the photo/statue. World War II was one of the darkest, scariest events in — not just our American history — but the world's as well.

Sexual abuse is a touchy matter, I encourage everyone to stand up for what's right. But to vandalize a statue of one of the most relieving days in America's history is an act that was unnecessary and doesn't get the point of #MeToo across in the way it should. If anything, it's giving people a reason not to listen. To protest and bring attention to something, you want to gather the right attention.

This was not gathering the right attention.

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