You are absolutely correct Shae Alexandra about being cautious and sensitive regarding allegations, as they can ruin an innocent person’s life. I haven’t heard too many stories of people’s lives being ruined over allegations (usually only during bitter divorces…) but I have seen it. What I have seen are more adult women and men who have disclosed much later in life they were abused by close family friends, relatives, siblings, and parents and never disclosed. I would have to say there are far greater cases of non-disclosed abuses than there are wrongly/falsely accused.
In my professional career I have seen more people get away with abuse and rape because there was of a “lack of evidence” or a case is “unfounded,” which means it there was not enough of certain evidence for the investigators to feel comfortable bringing charges forward. You can’t prove a grope, a kiss, a bribe, or a touch.
An inappropriate phone message, or child porn is easy to see. People believe that.
When a woman or man is raped, unless it’s documented they are virgins or sexually inactive, the lines get blurred…and people tend to make excuses for why an alleged victim’s allegation is not true quicker than they will believe an allegation. If there is no blood, semen or tears in vaginal or anal areas which I like to say is easy evidence to gather…people just won’t believe victims of sexual assault.
Even when there is forensic evidence (i.e. blood, scratches, perp tissue, etc.), we grapple with whether an assault was consensual sex, an unwanted touch, or rape.
People don’t understand how the criminal justice and child welfare systems work, so they tend to believe because someone doesn’t get charged when allegations are made the accused must have been telling the truth. Anytime humans are involved in processes where such accusations are made and searches for truth must happen, it’s an issue.
Most people simply love to believe the best in humanity, a problem within itself. Men (and women) can be evil…down right barbaric. History tells us so. Yet we have fantasies created by television and fictional books that ingrain in us men are knights and shining armor, not sexual predators, child molesters, and makers of trauma. We also give passes to men for boys being just boys, as movies and books glamorize this problematic behavior. Real life catches us all off guard, and we simple aren’t able to cope with the true hearts and actions of men. The same goes for women. We think it’s okay for an older woman to groom young boys to take a young teen’s virginity, but when men do it they need to go to jail.
How we currently think about sex, rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and even how and when allegations are made is all wrong.
I don’t want anyone to be falsely accused, but I also don’t want anyone to get away with a sex crime because people refuse to believe people in their social circles or in the upper echelons of our societies are incapable of doing so. As for being called a survivor or victim, some people never get to heal…some people never get justice…I use the terms the government gives us to discuss sexual assault. I personally hate calling them anything except victims, because it rushes away from the fact that you were a victim of a crime.
We don’t say people are bank robbery survivors, or victims of a hold up. Even victims of mass shootings are called victims… Being called a survivor diminishes a victim’s right to justice. It diminishes the trauma and tragedy of the event. Someone took something from victims of rape and sexual assault very personal and intimate that violated trust and boundaries. What was taken is priceless. Calling someone a survivor completely waters down what happened to them. A survivor is much nicer and tidier than being called a victim, which is really what they are.