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We're going to talk about sexual assault claims today.
Here's our scenario:
Bob is at work/bar/dark alley/in Buffy's home. Buffy is there too. They are working late/having a drink/passing through/chatting. By the time the night is over, Buffy has been sexual assaulted. She consented to spending time with Bob given the normal parameters of their work/bar/dark alley/home liaison. She did not consent to sexual contact.
It's the next day. Bob says Buffy was into it. She wanted to have sexual contact. Buffy says it's unwanted, and therefore a criminal act.
We can find scenarios like this all around us: in the news, or within our communities. It happens often. There is a disturbing phrase I hear quite often when Bob is not a stranger but instead a high-profile man:
"I don't have enough evidence to believe High Profile Man did those things."
I'd like to ask: what evidence would convince you?
What if two women said High Profile Man did these things? Three? Four? A dozen?
Is only a conviction good enough?
What if he admitted to being there, he had a substantial amount of power over her (physically, career-wise, etc.) and she said that he assaulted her. Is that enough?
What if there is no DNA? What if she cannot bring herself to face him again? What if she fears her life is not able to stand up to the intense scrutiny a sexual assault victim often endures? What if she is barely holding it together? What if he buys his way out of it?
When are we, the public at large, allowed to use sexual assault claims against High Profile Man when discerning his character? When are we allowed to let him know that his actions are despicable and we want none of it?
When will we tell High Profile Men that women are not there merely for their sexual domination?