What if we believe women the first time? Ever since Eve allegedly handed over the forbidden fruit to Adam, disbelieving women seems to have become a universal policy. Denial is at the root of today’s society, with many people thinking that men have a more believable innate nature. Although one of the basic goals of feminism is to believe women, it seems to be almost impossible. But why?
According to a blogpost on Huffington Post, the belief that women aren’t trustworthy doesn’t stem from the actions or reputation of women in general, it stems from feelings. Some people hold the belief that women tend to overreact and embellish stories in their day to day conversations, and so assume that women aren’t trustworthy. But that just doesn’t make sense. I mean, come on, how many times have you heard a guy exaggerate the size of a fish he caught or embellish an action he did?
With what’s going on now with sexual assault cases, street harassment and workplace harassments, this theory of over embellishing makes no sense. If that were the case, that would mean that there are thousands of women around the world exaggerating or making up stories, which is highly unlikely. It took droves of women to come out for us to finally believe that Bill Cosby was assaulting women, and the same happened when other male celebrities were accused.
Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th century English chief justice, said, “In a rape case, it is the victim, not the defendant, who is on trial.” But isn’t the point of the justice system to examine all of the evidence of the case on either side before making a decision and not just assuming that the accuser is lying? Situations like this tend to arise when the defendant or the accused is of a high standing in society. We see this figure every day in newspapers — they could be the boss of the company, a co-worker who’s friendly with everyone — and once you hold a candle to them, the idea you once had is ultimately destroyed.
People say things like, “They would never do that; you’re wrong; you’re just threatened by them and trying to make your way to the top.” Women who are coming forward about dark times in their life get torn down by those who they thought they could trust. People tend to forget that it’s not only the accused that gets a tarnished reputation, if anything the victim suffers too. Every single statement the victim makes gets analyzed. They are often faced with opposition before they are ever receive sympathy.
Society should not pick and chose which feminist values to align with. It’s either you want women to be respected and seen in the same light as men or you don’t. As such, all allegations of rape, sexual harassment and assault should be carefully weighed and investigated.