I was listening to an interview with a men’s right activist. I admit that I was challenging my own bias just listen.
He kept insisting that in cases of abuse, society needs to maintain “innocent until proven guilty” attitudes. I wonder how does that work in a society where domestic violence is underreported, and more often never reported to law enforcement? So if a friend comes to me and says, “hey my significant other is abusive” but declines to press charges, am I supposed to say, “well I guess I’ll never know if he/she is guilty?” Really of the same friend came to me and said “my significant other never does the dishes,” I’m not going to ask for dates/times and surveillance videos. But with abuse, I guess this guy thinks should. And sure, my comparison isn’t really fair. But if the same friend comes to me and says this significant other stole from her, again in going to believe her. Why would she lie?
Yes, I know people lie. And yes, there are a ridiculously small number of false claims – but I am not talking about sending someone to jail. I’m taking about, at the most, cutting someone out of life. I’ve done that for all kinds of reasons – even ones that don’t always make sense to me.
I wonder how the world looks this MRA. How does he maintain this standard when it is a fact that the legal system is stacked against victims? My family and friends have doubted my accusations, what chance did I, a 13 year old girl, have in a legal proceeding? Now as a 38 year old woman, I have zero expectation that I could have brought successful charges against my ex. I, like many victims, only have my word – and the word of a woman is always doubted. 60+ woman accuse Bill Cosby, people still doubt.
The MRA speaker went on. his evidence for his view, an anecdote. He cited an anecdote, the fallacy of that should be evident, if it’s not Google fallacy of anecdote. The accused abuser used his text message to “prove” she lied. MRA did not say that she sent texts that said “I lied about you abusing me” – I don’t know what they said, and MRA didn’t say. The implied content was that she came to the man’s home willingly and that they were in a relationship. These are not “smoking gun” evidence. Afterall, my ex has thousands messages from me. Most of which would at least support his view that he did “nothing wrong.”but lest I fail into the trap of anecdotes, most abuse survivors are in relationships with their abusers. Survivors don’t start out hating their abusers. I read an article on Bustle, I think, from a woman who didn’t hate her abuser. She could still remember the man she fell in love with. I understand that too. Maybe the MRA doesn’t. Maybe he, like so many others, doesn’t understand the cycle of abuse – or how hard it is to admit it is happening.
So how does it work? Do I assume innocence when a friend of acquaintance claims someone was abusive? Do I conclude, well it never went to court, so I guess he/she is innocent?
I will always err on the side of the victim.