On facebook a friend of mine posted something about sexual assault in the animal rights community and how accusations were not believed. Since I’m not exactly active in the animal rights community, I can’t speak to it other than just saying generally, yeah, victims of sexual assault are often not believed.
A troll popped up stating that “Presuming someone’s guilt without any evidence or clear sense of the facts is its own injustice.” He asked what was wrong with that statement, assuming that nothing was. No one answered because troll.
I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and write an answer. If someone genuinely believes that and is asking why their thought process is flawed, maybe he wants to learn. So I wrote an answer. But then I read some of his other comments, comments by my friend, and realized, yeah, troll. He didn’t want to learn. He wanted to trip people up.
But so my time isn’t completely wasted, here is my answer as to why his statement is utter bullshit:
First, no one’s talking about “without any evidence.” An accusation is evidence. Unless you believe that a victim’s testimony isn’t worth anything or worth half that of the accused or something.
Next, justice is the administration of law. If I think you’re guilty just for my own amusement and I’m not on a jury or denying your civil rights, there’s no injustice there. Sure, you might have choice words for me, but injustice is only one of them if you’re ignorant. There’s no injustice in boycotting Woody Allen, for example.
Finally, does the inverse of the statement also apply? Is it wrong to presume someone is lying “without any evidence or a clear sense of the facts”? By your very question, you imply no. Yet this can’t be right. It can’t only be wrong if we believe one person over the other. In both scenarios, someone is looking at the same evidence and making a decision. You just don’t like the decision the other person reached. Victim blaming assumes that the victim is lying and the accuser is telling the truth, even though there is evidence in the form of an accusation and a denial to support both theories and even though false accusations of sexual assault are statistically much more rare than false claims of innocence. Victim blaming relies on “innocent until proven guilty” and conflates that with how people make evaluations of others in real life. Innocent until prove guilty is something to be celebrated in American law, but this isn’t something that we have to live by. Especially considering that our justice system is set up to allow and to want those who committed crimes to go free (see Blackstone’s ratio). Accepting that as part of America’s justice system (which though still flawed has some great ideals), how can we then say oh, because he wasn’t found guilty in a court of law, the victim must be lying?
In short, everything is wrong with your statement. In these cases, there usually is evidence to support both sides but statistically usually the victim is telling the truth. Your opinion has little to do with justice, and disagreement over evidence is not the same as injustice.
Did I miss anything?