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Brett Kavanaugh and the Problem With #BelieveSurvivors - The Atlantic
Hamill also described to me the undermining effects of unreliable procedures. “There is not a feeling of fundamental fairness in college settings a lot of the time,” she said, “and so then the results often feel illegitimate or not credible.” She added that she welcomed the voices of women in society at large telling their stories, but urged that we should not repeat the mistakes made under Title IX. “You have to have integrity to a process that allows people to bring their claims forward but also allows for the accused to meaningfully defend themselves.”

This should have been the lesson that emerged from the resignation from the U.S. Senate of the Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota. Last year, Franken was publicly accused by several women of grabbing them while being photographed together. He welcomed the Senate Ethics Committee inquiry that was underway, saying he was confident it would clear him. But last December, after another woman came forward, Gillibrand became the first senator to announce that Franken should quit immediately, declaring that she believed the women. Other Democratic senators quickly joined the call, and Franken soon resigned. His departure, though, has continued to leave many Democrats uneasy about both its abruptness and the unresolved questions about the allegations.

We don’t even have to imagine the dangers of a system based on automatic belief—Britain recently experienced a national scandal over such policies. After widespread adoption of a rule that law enforcement must believe reports of sexual violation, police failed to properly investigate claims and ignored exculpatory evidence. Dozens of prosecutions collapsed as a result, and the head of an organization of people abused in childhood urged that the police return to a neutral stance. Biased investigations and prosecutions, he said, create miscarriages of justice that undermine the credibility of all accusers.

The legitimacy and credibility of our institutions are rapidly eroding. It is a difficult and brave thing for victims of sexual violence to step forward and exercise their rights to seek justice. When they do, we should make sure our system honors justice’s most basic principles.
politics  sexism  abuse 
6 weeks ago by ayjay
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