Why has the "rule of law" suddenly disappeared?
The Weinstein effect seems to accidentally show that the rule of law is now non existent.
"Innocent until proven guilty" is now passè.
Or is it?
Will contempt of the rule of law see good cases be thrown out of court?
Is it right to destroy a career based on "hearsay"?
Will this open the gates to cross litigation for damages by the occasional innocent accused?
“Innocent until proven guilty” refers to a court of law, whatever happens outside of that has no formal guidelines. Sexual assault cases are particularly complicated as often there is no evidence, and even if there is sometimes victims don’t feel comfortable coming forward until that evidence is long gone - especially if the person who assaulted them is perceived to have some power over them.
Weinstein has had over 30 women come forward to accuse him of sexual assault/harrassment. That’s nothing to sneeze at. At some point you have to think where there’s smoke there’s fire. Or do you feel it’s more likely that 30+ women are lying rather than one man?
Truth be told in the "court of opinion" there has never been such a thing as "innocent until proven guilty".
If we really believed in innocent until proven guilty we would never publish the name of the person being (accused) of a crime. Even the "person of interest" label is enough to cause most people to lose jobs, friends, and family support.
As soon as someone is arrested people say:
"They caught that guy who ..etc"
I still recall Richard Jewell being accused of setting off a bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta. It pretty much ruined his life even though it was proven he was innocent.
We live in a society which lacks patience when it comes to the wheels of justice. We want "instant results" and we see trials as a mere formality.
The Duke lacrosse case was a 2006 criminal case in which three members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team were falsely accused of rape. Students had their names published and they were expelled from the university before there was a trial. Accusations get a ton of press but vindication gets very little press. We move on to the next BIG Thing.
When it comes to rape and sexual harassment there's also the added pressure to instantly believe the accuser before there's a trail because it validates and encourages more victims to come forward. Whenever there are tons of accusers it's a pretty difficult to believe they're all lying.
Last but not least there are $$$$ at stake. No company is willing to risk millions or billions of dollars supporting anyone accused of a major crime or immoral act. Supposedly Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) told Warner Brothers she will not do the sequel if Brett Ratner's production company is a part of it. For Warner Brothers it's a no brainer to buy him out.
Clearly touching/grabbing/exposing oneself/ certain comments will rightfully be considered harassment unless the other person is "into that/them"
Over the next few years we as a society will be adjusting and defining sexual harassment. Right now using sexual innuendo or bad "pickup lines" can be seen as sexual harassment if the person is not interested in the one propositioning them.
However if that person (is interested in them) the same behavior isn't viewed negatively. It becomes one of those "in the eye of the beholder" type of things. Therein lies the difficulty.
It's subjective based upon (mutual interest) in each other.
When you create an accusation that by its mere use ruins a life, you guarantee it will be used by bullies and those with power to oppress and people trying to get back at oppressors.
For the West, accusations of sexist, racist and sexual harasser seem to do it. You likely lose your job and get publicly shamed just because someone else utters the word.
In the Muslim world, scream "blasphemy" and the person becomes the target of violent Muslim mobs. Pakistan has seen Christians killed on basis of that one word for daring to demand back wages, trying to get a kidnapped daughter back or defending their beliefs.
In short, when you empower a mob on the basis of an accusation, you get mob violence and many innocent victims.
This is why we should NEVER abandon assumption of innocence and due process, nor tolerate mob justice.
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