While a lack of evidence of guilt does not prove innocence, and a lack of evidence of innocence does not prove guilt, the benefit of the doubt in our system goes to the accused.If he is only referring to the legal requirement in a criminal case to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then he's correct. However, this concept often gets generalized far beyond criminal law and is then used as an excuse to attack alleged rape victims and demand that they must not be seen as credible until the case results in a conviction.
In other words, many people believe that until a conviction takes place, the rapist must be believed and the rape victim must be assumed to be a liar. That is a huge benefit to rapists, one they don't deserve or merit under our constitution.
To see how this idea is misapplied all you have to do is look at what people say when they assert that the alleged rape victim is the real criminal. The benefit of the doubt given to the alleged rapists flies away.
For both the victim and the accuser, the fact that subgroups of the population have lined up on both sides to condemn them without really knowing the facts has ruined their good name and irrevocably changed their lives for the worse. However, only the accused are at risk of spending much of the rest of their lives in jail.This implication that the consequences for innocent rape defendants are always worse than they are for real rape victims, is false. That people don't think about the risks rape victims face when they report is shameful.
Here are just a few examples:
City offers payment to woman falsely accused of lying about rape
Stormcloud: Raped violated suicide
Idaho grandmother and uncle plot alleged rape victim's murder
The myth that when it comes to rape cases that women have it too easy benefits rapists and helps them continue with very little concern that they will ever be convicted for the crimes they enjoy.
Technorati tags: rape crime politics sexual violence sexual assault feminism