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How False Accusations Against Men Sneak Into Our Courts

Arieanna Linton, Staff Writer

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After the recent allegations that Harvey Weinstein was involved in multiple counts of sexual assault, several men involved in entertainment and politics are also facing allegations of sexual misconduct. Many women have been working together to find the courage to speak out against sexual assault, but what happens to the men who are falsely accused?

We’ve seen it happen many times before: a man is accused of sexual assault or harassment, is forced to step down from his position, and loses all that he has worked for. But what actually happens when the case is dismissed for a lack of evidence? Or when it has been revealed that this was a case of a scorned woman? Does the man get all that he has worked for back? Or is all that he has worked for tarnished because of a single lie? This was the case with Roy Moore, who lost his bid for an Alabama Senate seat due to a woman falsely accusing him of sexual assault. The Washington Post had covered the progress of the case, and while the allegations flowed it became clear that Moore was being projected in a hostile light rather than an unbiased one before he was given the chance to defend himself.

Why do these falsely accused men fall under the radar so often? It’s simple: the typical response to a woman who has claimed that she has been harassed is to believe her, since she is the victim. However, since false allegations are considered extremely rare (only present in 4 percent of cases), investigators often skip over important steps in their search for evidence that proves the crime occurred.  

In the 1600’s, African American men were often lynched and prosecuted because women accused them of something as little as talking to them too friendly. Even after this trend died off, men still face guilt before being proven innocent. Before DNA testing existed, men were being falsely imprisoned because the general public would side with women in sexual harassment or assault accusations, even if they provided no evidence. New York Times writer Bari Weiss talks about the backlash of the “believe all women” mentality. She claims it terrorizes men who “now have to fear that false accusations of sexual misconduct will derail their careers or lives.” According to Weiss, men are also terrified about their credibility. “In a climate in which sexual mores are transforming so rapidly, many men are asking: If I were wrongly accused, who would believe me?” Weiss brings up a valuable point: is it reasonable to immediately conclude guilt, especially in a country where all people are innocent until proven guilty?

Before one is quick to victim shame and bash a man’s image, society and the press should wait until proper evidence has surfaced or a conviction has been made. The idea that false allegations are super rare and never happens needs to stop. As citizens in this society, it is important to sympathize with women; it is also our obligation to search for the truth before making verdicts.

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