Why are women always assumed to be non-credible sources?

Innocent Until Proven Guilty Applies To Women, Too

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


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.

Popular Right Now

16 #MeToo Tweets Everyone Needs To See

Share your story. Share the facts. Take action.

The #MeToo movement has been dominating Twitter trends, been discussed on live TV, and is encouraging the everyday woman, celebrities, and even congress and senate members to speak up about rape and sexual assault in a public setting.

#MeToo was started by Tarana Burke, a survivor and activist. Burke created Just Be Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps victims of sexual harassment and assault.

The hashtag went viral when political comedian and activist Alyssa Milano promoted #MeToo on her personal Twitter page.

Before Burke and Milano knew it, the hashtag had been used by nearly 2 million people from 85 different countries. The movement has brought together women and men from every culture, color and political party. It brought attention to the elephant in the room we so often ignore.

The movement has given the voiceless a place to admit things they may have never admitted before.

It has allowed women, and the world, to bring awareness to the fact that this is not only an American issue, a racial issue, a behavioral issue, etc. – but a universal issue that needs to be addressed now.

It has encouraged people to not only share their own survival stories and testimonies, but to bring awareness through statistics, facts and informative tweets or posts as well.

Everyone is talking about sexual assault – and it's a good thing.

Here are a few of the #MeToo tweets that are worth noting:

















Take the time to search #MeToo when you're on Twitter today. Take a moment to see. To listen. To acknowledge. It's time survivors of sexual assault are heard and noticed.

Share your story. Share the facts. Take action in this movement. Change the world as we know it.

Wouldn't you love to walk to your car in a dark parking lot without the fear of being raped or assaulted?

Cover Image Credit: Surdumi Hail

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I Faced My Fear Of Dressing 'Provocatively' Because What I Really Feared Was Sexual Assault

Getting dressed in the morning shouldn't be something any girl is convinced will be a nightmare.


As a girl, I was always told to "cover up." Shirts should have sleeves, cleavage shouldn't peak out, dresses should reach the knees, and makeup shouldn't be "too much." If my clothes fit me a certain way, I would be inviting people to basically attack me and anything that happens would be my fault. Because "boys will be boys," and that means it's in their DNA to gawk at pretty girls.

And even with me being called "chubby," or "thick," or "closed off," and "unapproachable," that still applied to me. I was a "pretty girl" and therefore a target if my shoulders were out. When you're twelve or fifteen, it feels like a protocol. It's the way it is and covering up is for your own good.

And all through high school, I followed the rules. I didn't dress even remotely provocatively out of fear. I was comfortable with being more reserved. I had confidence without being prudish, and I felt secure. But in time, I realized that even though my loved ones may have been just trying to keep me safe, they were victim blaming. People were telling me that if something bad happened to me, it would be my fault for dressing a certain way. But they weren't preparing me for the real fear: sexual assault

I finally realized I would never be at fault for being assaulted, God forbid it'd ever happen. It's completely out of my hands. The fear of showing my shoulders of thighs wasn't something to fear at all. Predators don't walk around with a checklist with requirements we need to meet in order to be a target.

And no one was going to tell me "you can't wear that," or deceive me by telling me I was "asking for it." So I bought a dress that was more revealing than anything I'd ever worn. It wasn't like the cute sundresses I always wore before. It was lowcut and short and when I clicked the "submit order" button, I felt like I'd done something bad. I felt all the words of assistant principals and aunts and grandmothers and my dad. It hung in my closet for months and collected dust with all the shorts I decided I was too tall to wear and tops that showed too much skin.

Then I decided to wear it on my 19th birthday. I knew I'd be with people I was comfortable around and just their presence would make me feel safe. The way I dressed would never matter, but especially not on my night. And it felt so good. I was a new kind of confident and I loved my body in a way I hadn't before. Because in all honesty, I didn't love it much. And the last thing I needed was another reason not to love my body. I was convinced it wasn't good for much more than tempting pervy men. Not to mention, I wasn't really worried about making myself look good as much as I was staying on guard.

I regained so much confidence. The kind of confidence you have when you're five and dress yourself for the first time and you feel fabulous with the plethora of patterns and colors you've chosen. No one was holding me back. I just broke the fear that people would be watching. Because they're not, they're too worried about themselves.

If it's hot, I wear less. If I'm feeling good about the way I look, I'll wear less. If I'm in a mood where wearing too much is going to annoy me, I'll wear less. And if anyone thinks my clothes, or my lack thereof, have to do with anything other than that, that's their problem.

Getting dressed in the morning shouldn't be something any girl is convinced will be a nightmare. Or clothes aren't supposed to be the monsters in our closets we were afraid of.

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