Sexual Harassment: Why Guilty Until Proven Innocent Doesn't Work

*Note: This article is the opinion of one individual and does not reflect the sole opinion of Her Campus UCF

There is going to be no beating around the bush in this article because this is something that needs to be brought up even though it's an unpopular opinion. In the last two years alone, multiple high-profile men have been accused of some kind of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, abuse, and/or rape, including our current President Donald Trump. From Johnny Depp's apparent abuse of his wife to Matt Lauer's termination from The Today Show and all the men in between it is becoming a bit of an epidemic.

The problem is not women coming forward. Women, and men for that matter, who have been mistreated sexual or abused should have the courage to come forward. But the issue is that the truth and lies are being mixed together and every man accused has been made guilty until proven innocent which is not how the United States justice system works. And even when proven innocent, people still blackball whoever was accused.

When people make false allegations about anyone, especially high-profile celebrities, the accusation alone can ruin their life. This tendency to believe women without a doubt has surely helped those with true claims, but those who are spreading false stories are taking advantage of that loophole and innocent men are taking the fall for something they hadn't done, or something taken entirely out of context. These men are put on blast, their good names soiled by these women claiming sexual assault or rape. But whenever those accusations turn out to be false or don't hold up due to lack of facts, the woman isn’t condemned for lying like she should be and is seen as a "victim" of an "unfair system" and the accused man forever has this on his record.

And it especially doesn't help that anything can be taken as sexual misconduct as those boundaries are determined by only the women making the accusations. While I don't care if a man I'm not attached to calls me pet names like "sweetheart", "sexy", or "baby", another could have a man brought up on a conduct review for the same situation. That should not be how it works. There should be a set standard of what is and is not abused or sexual misconduct, and the latter has a far too broad definition. If the accusation is not under that standard, then the man and women involved need to sit down and talk it out like adults. We women are claiming to be strong and independent, but we can't seem to handle our own minor situations.

The whole of point of people being free to come forward with sexual misconduct allegations is to make sure that the person who did it does not get away with it. But the system is flawed as accusers are assumed to be telling the truth no matter what, while the accused is always condemn. And people taking advantage of this fact are only making it worse for real victims and the innocent accused people.

Something needs to change, before it gets to the point where no one is believed.

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