Letter to the Editor: response to “Why we shouldn’t just ‘believe women’ in sexual assault cases”

I find it incredibly disheartening on behalf of women and victims of sexual assault to hear sentiment which would serve to discredit them. The flagrant disregard for victims and for the legal process is frankly quite damaging to victim advocacy, as well as the Whitworth community. In order to believe women, it doesn’t mean that you must disregard the accused. That is simply not how the criminal investigation process works. Acknowledging and investigating both sides is not being protested here. What is being criticized is the inherent disbelief many hold for assault outcry. The goal not being to give accusers favor over the accused, but to equalize the investigative approach. Victims, “good” or “bad”, need to be heard. Assault can happen to anyone.

Moreover, the court of public opinion will say and do what it likes with the information it has access to. Therefore, no woman or victim should feel censored due to this reaction. The investigative process, however, should not be poisoned in unequal favor of a particular “side”. A person’s reputation is not the reason any other crime is unfairly investigated, and the same ought to be said for sexual assault. Believing victims is a basic principle in criminal investigation that is often neglected.

To qualify “we can’t just believe women” with a statement of care and concern for victims, is belittling and fallacious. Yes, there needs to be equality. No, there is no advantage for women as it is. To truly care about victims is to #BelieveWomen.

Rachel Wilson, ’22