December 7, 2014

MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: Why It Was Right To Scrutinize The UVA Rape Story.

Back in the 1990s, a dean at Vassar College told Time magazine that a false accusation is not only an acceptable price to pay, but might even benefit the falsely accused: “[The wrongly accused] have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. ‘How do I see women?’ ‘If I didn’t violate her, could I have?’ ‘Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?’ Those are good questions.”

There is, though, one point on which everyone can hopefully agree: if Jackie’s story proves to be false (or a dramatic overstatement of a still terrifying trauma), the damage done to those fighting the scourge of campus sexual violence will be incalculable. Because if accusations are never met with circumspection, prepare to see an increase in those who believe that all accusations are untrustworthy.

When you know that there’s an entire infrastructure of people willing to support a lie if it advances a narrative, it’s reasonable to be skeptical of any story they put forward.

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