Sunday, January 7, 2018

Guilt Can't Always Be Proven

I went on Twitter to see what people are saying about Craig McLachlan.

I didn't see as many Tweets as I expected. In the few I've seen...Most people are just posting links to the article about him. There's a few Believe Women Tweets and a few I-had-a-bad-feeling-about-him Tweets. Then there was a Tweet about innocent until proven guilty.

I've seen the innocent-until-proven guilty message before in the context of sexual predators. I get it. We're supposed to hold judgement until detectives and the court do their job; then we let them tell us what judgement to hold.

This might work...sometimes...when it comes to murder and other things that leave evidence. But even with evidence, we can't usually know 100%. Evidence can be faked, planted, misread, etc.

How about when there's no physical evidence?

How the hell do you prove that someone was sexually or emotionally abused?  It can't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There's hope maybe if the crime is immediately reported and semen specks are still around. But sometimes sexual abuse doesn't involve semen. So what then?

As for emotional abuse, maybe there's hope if there are eyewitnesses. But could it maybe be possible that some abusers make sure to say their shit when witnesses aren't listening? Or maybe there are witnesses, but they support the abuser.  Maybe they don't see the abuse as abuse. They see the victim as being too sensitive... or as being troublemaker.  Sometimes people ignore the abuse, because...well, besides those mean things he sometimes says, he's an awesome, talented guy, and we're all lucky to get to work with him. Right?  

How the hell are we going to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Craig McLachlan abused women?  How are we going to prove that Roy Moore went after underage women? How do we prove that the President of the United States is a sexual predator?

Sometimes we just have to listen to people's experiences and either believe them or not. We have to read the accounts, listen to the accounts, weight it all up in our mind, and then decide where our judgement is going to stand.

If you want to believe that Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, Donald Trump, Craig McLachlan, Kevin Spacey, etc, etc, etc (too many fucking etc's) are innocent, fine. That is YOUR right. I don't have the means to absolutely prove that you're making the wrong judgement.

But using terms like innocent until proven guilty is just....

It's shit. It's weak. It's cowardly.

And the thing is. If you cling to the idea that an accused man is innocent, YOU are accusing the ones accusing of being liars. Those who side with Craig McLachlan are supporting his idea that women are lying about abuse in order to obtain fame and fortune. If we're going to say innocent until proven guilty when it comes to predatory asshole behavior, shouldn't the same go for accusations of lying?

When we hear stories about abuse, we have multiple valid options. We can believe the person making the accusations. We can believe the person being accused.  We can decide we simply don't know and decide to withhold judgement. But to say innocent until proven guilty? That's like waiting for hell to freeze over.