Viewpoint: Guilty until proven innocent


Picture Credit: RAINN

Julia Balli, General Assignment Reporter

“It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of,” said President Donald Trump. 

It’s moments like this that remind America why the #MeToo movement has had so much momentum over the past year. Yet despite spreading sexual assault awareness nationwide, it’s still not enough. 

Our own president is once again crushing women’s credibility towards a nation who is watching and listening. In front of little children, he again blames victims for coming forward and sharing their story. This not only reverses what the #MeToo movement has been trying to establish all along, by making the next generation knowledgeable about sexual assault and show that this behavior is not acceptable, but it gives men who sexually assault people assurance that it’s them who are in trouble. That they are the victims here. 

Of course, this kind of thinking and behavior does not seem shocking from the president. While he has received massive backlash for bragging about “grabbing pussy” and continuously tried to roll back women’s rights, he has never truly been held accountable for his actions. Which gives him the mind-set that his behavior is completely acceptable. And now he uses his power and platform in the most repulsive way someone could use it, by spreading a message of hate and misinformation. 

Americans have watched as he stands behind a podium, defending his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, accused of sexual misconduct, while mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for coming forward to tell the world about one of the most traumatic times of her life. Even though many were disgusted with Trump’s comments, Kavanagh was still elected to Supreme Court, and many are once again shown that this repulsive behavior is something someone can get away with. 

“It’s a very scary situation when you’re guilty until proven innocent, my whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty,” said Trump. Yet he had no problem calling for the death penalty on the “Central Park Five,” a group of black and Latino teenagers who were wrongfully accused of assaulting and raping a white woman in the 1980s, in which they were truly guilty until proven innocent. 

It is a fact that reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. According to CONNSACS, only 2% of reported rapes are false. Yet women are still shamed for standing up against their assaulters. It’s time to end this belligerent treatment towards survivors, especially from people who are in power and have such a huge platform. These people need to be held accountable for their actions, but for now survivors will have to continue to fight for their story to be heard.