Lorelei has always loved writing and her topics are very diverse. She focuses on life's challenges and current or popular events.
Accusations of sexual impropriety and abuse are running rampant lately. Fingers are pointed at people from all walks of life. It has become especially prevalent where money and power are involved. New accusers speak out against others almost daily from both the U.S. and Europe. Some of the alleged perpetrators claim nothing ever happened and denounce their accusers. Others laugh it off saying what they did was much more innocent than what has been asserted. While a few others openly admit to their bad behavior.
You Are Fired!
In the court of public opinion, there are a lot of quick to judgment reactions toward the accused by the public and some employers are quick to condemn and punish those who may or may not have been involved. People are fired without any proof the accusations are even true. In this politically correct world, we live in companies will not wait to see if there will be fallout from any scandal. They cannot risk the loss of sales or reputation, so their knee-jerk reactions while possibly unfair, are nonetheless understandable. Not a great position for the accused, however. They are found guilty without trial. The court of public opinion winning a judgment before even opening their mouths.
Some people are even fired because they expose sexual misconduct in the workplace. There was recently even a Pentagon cover-up against whistleblowers. It's not only high business either. In a 2019 article by the Chicago Times Larry Nassar, the USA gymnastics national team doctor is sadly credited with being the first in a long line of resignations and firings.
Do Victims Always Tell the Truth?
We also find those who believe that victims never lie about such things. On the other side of the coin, some feel it is a witch hunt in which accusers come forward for the mere purpose of trying to smear someone’s name and/or ruin a person’s career. But according to a 2018 article by the Minnesota Law Review only .002 to .008% really ever lie about abuse.
Some people wonder out loud about the circumstances of the accusation. They ask things like, “It happened so long ago, why is it being brought up now?” and “What is to be gained by this accusation?” The news - when not condemning the accused - focus on if the truth is being told? But too often spotlight the personal characteristics of both parties involved rather than focusing on the facts.
No One Wins
Unfortunately, the lives of both the accusers and the accused are forever changed. The accusers because of what was done to them through sexual or abusive misbehavior suffer deeply. They are often berated by those who oppose them for their accusation, the media invades their life and digs into their personal affairs, which can cause great stress. The sheer embarrassment of rehashing traumatic events can be very disquieting. Even if an accuser is lying they had better understand what will happen to them. They will endure great scrutiny, harassment, and rebuttal. This can be very difficult to deal with while trying to maintain a lie and keep your story straight.
The accused are judged without going to court, they have their lives scrutinized and ruined over allegations and some have already been punished in some way or another for what has only been alleged. Once accused it seems others climb out of the woodwork and even the smallest forgotten infraction from their past becomes headline news. The accused are so often pre-judged as either sexual perpetrators, bullies, liars, perverts or worse.
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The accusers are also called liars, political attackers, tramps, money hungry, glory seekers, or worse. In like manner, they are judged by others. Their reputations become the focus of the news. They are also punished or praised without any true knowledge of the full story. The problem is that in most cases, there is no proof either way. Unless one of us were in the room with both parties as witnesses to the incident, how can we truly discern what really happened? There is no way to know for sure who is telling the truth. Do not misunderstand me. I am not standing up for the accused nor the accuser here. I am merely speaking to the unprecedented actions being taken without a legal case being presented.
It becomes very difficult if not impossible to determine the facts of some of the current cases we see in the news. But if multiple witnesses show up for cases that are current and timely, then it seems quite clear. Such as with the 2018 Olympic court case where there were many credible witnesses and victims who came forward. In many of the cases where guilt is clear the accused have freely admitted their guilt, stepped down from their positions, or apologized for their indiscretion. For them, the courts or their employers should rightfully decide their fate.
What Do We Accept?
Telling and knowing the truth is very important! It is so difficult to trust anyone these days. What do we do to get to the truth and how do we make sense of some of the statements made? The Bible speaks of needing two to three witnesses to convict someone of a crime, but in most of these cases no one else is around, so how do we handle that? What about when there are multiple victims who come forward? Do we believe it if someone says something happened decades ago? And do we consider how things were viewed in the past, acceptable and learned behavior? So many questions to ask and answer.
A big question for me was do we condemn someone for how they talk or only consider their actions? We have all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words.” Should this apply? I tend to lean against taking what someone has said in the past as a way to prove future or present guilt. I would not want to be judged for things I might have said long ago when I was uninformed or acting out. People do change and I know that I am not the person I was even five years ago, so how can I assume someone else is?
How then should such things be handled? It is concerning to me that we are starting to be judged and convicted according to public opinion. If that way of life takes over then we all could lose our individual rights by whatever is currently considered politically correct or popular at any given time. Do we really want to be punished when a larger group disagrees with us? I know I would not want to have my neighbors making decisions for me. But we see it happening more and more. How we raise our kids, what kind of schooling we give them, what our religious beliefs are, if we hunt, will not eat meat, or (fill in the blank).
Occasionally, we can learn the truth through the actions two opponents take.
We should ask ourselves, does the person have a credible story or do their stories not add up? Are there too many witnesses to negate what they deny? Also, just how long after an incident involving adults do we let accusations be heard and taken seriously? Finally, how should such things be handled, in court or by public opinion? Are we using a mob mentality against either the accused or accuser - guilty until proven innocent? Ultimately it is not for us to judge, the truth will come out one way or another. If not here and now, then come judgment day. If every man and woman only told the truth what a world it would be, but that is just not going to happen. We as individuals must decide if we really want to jump on the bandwagon of accusation and judgment or if we would rather see things played out as they should, in a court of law.
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National SexualAssault Hotline
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2018 Lorelei Nettles