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Thread: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

  1. #76
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: The Land of Make Believe
    Quote Originally Posted by Renzatic View Post
    Damn, SD. I know you and Sub have your differences, but still. Think you could tone down the antagonism a bit?
    You're directing that at me despite the fact that the opening post in the thread refers to me as an idiot?

  2. #77
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: The Land of Make Believe
    Quote Originally Posted by SubJeff View Post
    It doesn't ruin his live though SD, and that's the fundamental thing you seem unable to grasp.
    "Unable to grasp" because it's complete horseshit. How is someone's life ruined because I think they are probably an abuser?

    Essentially you want to be able to use hearsay to form a judgment about a person when it suits you, while condemning other people for using hearsay to form a judgment about a person when it suits you. There are words for that, and none of them are good.

  3. #78
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by SD View Post
    You're directing that at me despite the fact that the opening post in the thread refers to me as an idiot?
    Good point. Not sure how I missed that.

    Subjeff. Don't insult people, goddamnit. When you insult people, they get bitchy. When they get bitchy, they start reporting posts. When they start reporting posts, I have to start giving warnings, and handing out time outs. Don't make me do this. We can have a heated political discussion without getting stupid.

    If you find yourself unable to handle a contrary opinion with any grace or poise, then don't even bother responding. All you're doing is kicking a shitball down the dung heap hill.

  4. #79
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Quote Originally Posted by SubJeff View Post
    You never were.
    That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me and so I immediately distrust it.

  5. #80
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    I thought both you guys quit this place. I should have known you were just a bunch of drama queens.

  6. #81
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by dethtoll View Post
    That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me and so I immediately distrust it.
    Lol.

    Trust, brother. I mean it.

  7. #82
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    The babysitter example is just to show that we don't live our lives by the principles that courts follow. You can make up your own mind about someone without relying on a court decision. I wasn't making the example as an analogy of the situation.
    I think the problem with the example is that it's implicitly leaning on other factors, like the perceived trustworthiness of the accuser and the gravity of the claim. We're considering the prior accusations to be credible (ie we trust those parents to tell the truth, because babysitter behavior is not an area generally subject to false accusations), and choosing not to hire a babysitter isn't ruining their career.

    The less trustworthy the allegations are, and the more impactful a false accusation could be, the more I'd expect a reasonable person to give benefit of the doubt. If a single ex-partner accuses someone of sexual assault, with the result that now they can't get hired in their profession, without the matter ever being determined by a court, is that really fair?

    I think the phrase 'trust, but verify' applies to both the accusers and the accused. Accusers should be taken seriously, but the accused shouldn't be treated like they're already guilty. As a society we place value on the idea of giving someone a chance to prove their honesty, so I don't think it's as different from normal as you seem to imply.
    Last edited by catbarf; 18th Dec 2017 at 14:13.

  8. #83
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Quote Originally Posted by Brethren View Post
    I thought both you guys quit this place. I should have known you were just a bunch of drama queens.
    Said the pot to the kettle.

  9. #84
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    I think the problem with the example is that it's implicitly leaning on other factors, like the perceived trustworthiness of the accuser and the gravity of the claim. We're considering the prior accusations to be credible (ie we trust those parents to tell the truth, because babysitter behavior is not an area generally subject to false accusations), and choosing not to hire a babysitter isn't ruining their career.
    Again, it was not meant to be an analogy for the situation. It was just to illustrate how we don't carry legal principles over to our private lives.

    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    The less trustworthy the allegations are, and the more impactful a false accusation could be, the more I'd expect a reasonable person to give benefit of the doubt. If a single ex-partner accuses someone of sexual assault, with the result that now they can't get hired in their profession, without the matter ever being determined by a court, is that really fair?
    So, if you can't prove it in court, you should shut up about it? And if people do speak up without being able to prove it in court, everyone has to behave as if nothing has happened? If someone is allowed to ruin people's lives with sexual assault because everyone kept quiet about it or ignored it, is that really fair?

    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    I think the phrase 'trust, but verify' applies to both the accusers and the accused. Accusers should be taken seriously, but the accused shouldn't be treated like they're already guilty. As a society we place value on the idea of giving someone a chance to prove their honesty, so I don't think it's as different from normal as you seem to imply.
    So why is there this double standard for sexual assault? Why aren't the victims of sexual assault given the same chance, but doubted and berated and discouraged every step of the way?


    And to put things in context a bit, the stories about Weinstein et al are far from just one disgruntled ex making an accusation. These are stories where multiple witnesses have come forward and in some cases the accused person has admitted to the wrongdoings. One accusation is far from making an impact in the life of someone like Harvey Weinstein, but if multiple people come forward and have witnesses and in some case even physical evidence, I don't think you need to wait for a court decision to form an opinion of the person and I don't think companies are in the wrong either when they don't want to hire them or cancel the contract with them after multiple credible stories. Not to mention the possibility that the companies themselves might have been aware of the person's behaviour or might have received complaints about them before.

    And it's not like the celebrities are without recourse. They can put out their own statement at the very least and sue for defamation. And let's face it, people like Kevin Spacey will still keep getting roles. That's the way it works in Hollywood. They'll go in sex addiction rehab or just lay low for a while and everything will be forgotten.


    Finally, it seems to me there's an assumption that it's always the accused who has their life ruined. That is not always the case. A lot of the times, it's the accuser who is branded as a malicious liar and the accused is seen as the innocent victim. People who make these accusations also put their reputation on the line.
    Last edited by Starker; 18th Dec 2017 at 21:20.

  10. #85
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    So why is there this double standard for sexual assault? Why aren't the victims of sexual assault given the same chance, but doubted and berated and discouraged every step of the way?
    They aren't.

    They are always taken seriously, as it should be. This is different to being believed though.

    Furthermore, victims are kept anonymous but the accused aren't. You want to talk double standards? That's it right there. I'm saying this should be rebalanced, not that any party should be disbelieved.

  11. #86
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    Newspapers have a thing where they always write about "the alleged attacker" until sometime is actually sentenced.
    If you're publishing your opinion on the internet the same standard should apply. Because that's not private talk. And no one's trying to shut you up. Merely to act responsibly.

  12. #87
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I'm not sure if this was aimed at me, but where was I talking about anyone wanting to shut me up? I was asking about victims of sexual abuse. What should they do if the justice system cannot help them? Shut up about it? Not warn people of a sexual predator?

    And now we're apparently applying strict journalistic standards to talking about things in the forums? Nah, I'm not going to talk about Weinstein as "the alleged attacker" here, even if I'm "publishing my opinion on the internet", because based on the presented evidence I'm convinced that he's a real attacker.

  13. #88
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    I'm not sure if this was aimed at me, but where was I talking about anyone wanting to shut me up? I was asking about victims of sexual abuse.
    catbarf was suggesting for "a reasonable person to give benefit of the doubt". You replied: "So, if you can't prove it in court, you should shut up about it?"
    If you were referring to victims you could have made that more clear.

    What you did make abundantly clear is that you are willing to ignore the role people like you play in this, when they value their right to publicly prejudge higher than the lives of the accused.

  14. #89
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    What's wrong with forming an opinion about a person based on evidence? And you are right, I don't value Weinstein's livelihood, but it's not like I prejudge him just based on rumors. I'm quite certain that he really did do the things he's accused of. Why should I give him the benefit of the doubt?

    And yes, I could have been clearer. I was asking whether people should not talk about sexual assault, if they can't prove it happened to them. Which, you know, is sometimes next to impossible to prove.
    Last edited by Starker; 19th Dec 2017 at 11:35.

  15. #90
    One thing to keep in mind, is that most of the people being have gone on to admit their behaviour.
    Louis CK, Mario Batali and several others. While no charges have been laid, they've apologized for their behaviour.

  16. #91
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    Newspapers have a thing where they always write about "the alleged attacker" until sometime is actually sentenced.
    Is this a thing with German newspapers? Because over here, newspapers print a name as soon as they get it. When a suspect's name is withheld from a story, it's nearly always because the police are withholding it from the press.

  17. #92
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    I don't know about Germany, but in the Netherlands only the first name and the first initial of the last name are released. If the press knows the full last name, they collectively agree to keep it to themselves.

  18. #93
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Not if it's a celebrity or a famous politician, surely?

  19. #94

  20. #95
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Well, nobody here has said that women should be blindly/automatically believed. And like the article says, those people who have said something like this have been widely criticised.

    The idea that you should either believe all accusers and throw the accused in jail without trial or treat all the accused as if they were completely innocent until proven guilty in a court is a false dilemma. There's a good deal of middle ground between those extremes. The world is nuanced, not black and white.


    One of the things that I think often gets overlooked in this kind of conversation is that the system right now is incredibly stacked against the victims. The gauntlet that awaits in hospitals, at the police and in court is itself a very hard road to go through (for example, having a rape kit done takes several hours and can be a pretty invasive and traumatic experience both physically and mentally), but then there are the wider attitudes that are pervasive in all kinds of situations, no matter whether it's just harassment or full on rape, ranging from "what's wrong with a little Mad Men sexism?" to "why are you trying to ruin this young man's life?"

    It's definitely not something that's in the distant past. It wasn't that long ago that sexual harassment at workplace or even marital rape started being taken seriously. And the Brock Turner trial was just last year.

  21. #96
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Well, nobody here has said that women should be blindly/automatically believed.
    You keep saying this. It's like you missed have the thread

    Here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dia View Post
    If the accusers are not believed, then the charges will not be investigated.
    And practically this what happens, which is why the accused is not anonymous.

  22. #97
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Not if it's a celebrity or a famous politician, surely?
    You're right, not in those cases (and we've had a few of those on the #metoo front lately), and that was what the discussion was about. I was in a hurry, saw something and replied to it, without considering what people were actually talking about. Sorry for the confusion.

  23. #98
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    I'm pretty sure Dia meant that accusations should be taken seriously. Also from the context of wanting to start investigations she must have been referring specifically to accusations made to the authorities.
    And I think we all agree on that.

    This thread is about the subversion of the IUPG principle and the NYT article I posted is relevant to that. Especially because it lays out how an ideological approach can hurt the victims credibility again.

    There's something else I wanted to say. We talked a lot about innocent men potentially getting caught up in such accusations. I talked a lot about it. Partly because I oppose any ideologies reflexively. But also because there's something to discuss here.
    I understand that the number of such cases is very small compared to the number of cases of rape, abuse, sexual assault. So talking so much about these few cases seems disproportionate. Like that's all we - or I care about.
    That is not so. I just don't have much to say about rape. It's atrocious and psychological murder. Discuss?
    It's when get to the fringe cases where the controversies and the discussions start. Poking at those is a lot more fruitful in terms of having an interesting debate. And there is no question that this what I'm here for.
    If you hope to stop a rapist by discussing on TTLG you may find this unethical. But that's how it is.

  24. #99
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I mean, I don't entirely disagree with the article. False accusations do hurt both the innocent and the real victims and and "trust but verify" is not very far from the idea that has been forwarded here -- that accusers should be taken seriously and accusations should be investigated. I think what the article misses is that a lot of the cases made public have been supported by evidence and sometimes by admission of guilt. It's by no means just "blindly believe all women".

    Also, the IUPG principle doesn't really work that way outside of the courtroom, does it? Someone accused of murder, especially if there is credible evidence, isn't treated the same as someone who's not accused of murder. At the very least there is the suspicion and maybe bail conditions that rob them of their freedom. And we don't treat the Sandy Hook shooter or the Columbine shooters as innocent, do we? Even if there never was a trial to establish their guilt. The problem with IUPG in real life is that it's not true -- someone is not necessarily innocent just because they haven't been proven guilty in a court yet.

    Finally, I don't think talking about it on TTLG will prevent rape, but I do think there's a lot of room for improvement to be had in how we handle and how we talk about sexual abuse. And that's worth discussing as well. Sorry if it doesn't seem very interesting.
    Last edited by Starker; 19th Dec 2017 at 23:11.

  25. #100
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    Presuming a person is innocent until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt is not a law of physics or one of the ten commandments. It's a legal standard we adopted for criminal prosecutions because it produces more just outcomes. Just outcomes are what we should be interested in here, not blind adherence to a principle.

    Obviously, when a person is falsely accused of sexual harassment or abuse, and they suffer as a result of the accusation, that's not a just outcome. But when an act of sexual harassment or abuse goes unreported, or reported and unpunished, or when reporting it leads to shaming or further hurting the victim, that is not a just outcome either.

    Up until now, the way we have been dealing with sexual harassment and abuse is more often than not skewed in favor of letting the perpetrator get away with it. And in some circles/workplaces/industries/etc. it seems like the decks have been pretty well stacked against the victim for a long time. These places need reform, and the reform process generally starts with a sort of truth and reconciliation phase where all the accusations come to light. The Catholic Church went through that, and over time we found out that pretty much all the allegations were true. Hollywood is now going through that phase, and judging by the admissions of guilt and the non-denials, it's looking like it's mostly all true. It's also rolling through politics now.

    That doesn't mean all victims' stories are true and some people aren't being hurt by false accusations. It just means that the balance of injustices is way over on the other side. If you guys insist on applying the standards of criminal prosecution and presume the allegations aren't true unless there's a conviction, you're working to keep it that way.

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