Burden of Proof
Aaron Brady writes the most powerful piece I've read today, on the accusations that Woody Allen molested his adopted daughter:
In a rape culture, there is no burden on us to presume that she is not a liar, no necessary imperative to treat her like a person whose account of herself can be taken seriously. It is important that we presume he is innocent. It is not important that we presume she is not making it all up out of female malice. In a rape culture, you can say things like “We can’t really know what really happened, so let’s all act as if Woody Allen is innocent (and she is lying).” In a rape culture, you can use your ignorance to cast doubt on her knowledge; you can admit that you have no basis for casting doubt on Dylan’s statement, and then you can ignore her account of herself. A famous man is not speaking, so her testimony is not admissible evidence. His name is Woody Allen, and in a rape culture, that good name must be shielded and protected. What is her name?
I honestly haven't kept up with this story, but I would certainly have said "we don't really know what happened". I would have thought that sticking to this 'fact' lent greater credence to my opinion and somehow made it better than most of the discourse out there. This essay just embarassed me so much.