We don’t trust women?

The Irish Examiner headline screamed, “Why don’t we trust women?”,  and Louise O’Neill answered by suggesting we can’t trust men. Misogyny is taboo but misandry seems to be fair game.

The writer suggests that victims of alleged rape should be believed. Simple. At face value, that may appear to be straightforward, but it creates as many problems as it solves. Presuming the guilt of an accused person (even if well-intentioned to spare the alleged victim the added trauma of testifying) is no way to administer justice. Presumption of innocence is an absolute cornerstone of the legal system.

Victims of crime inevitably suffer to some degree in the aftermath There is often a lengthy period of investigation and then a lengthy legal process, and while rape is at the top end of appalling crimes, we can’t emotionally throw due process out the window if we want any semblance of justice.

It’s unfortunate that victims of crime must go through the trauma of giving evidence against those accused of harming them but there is no way around this (except with guilty pleas).

O’Neill suggests that “if your father or your husband or your son or your brother doesn’t rape someone, then they should be fine”. This old line has been used in dodgy criminal investigations for years and is probably one of the main reasons we need protection from the excesses of over-zealous interrogation and self-righteous law enforcement.

An accused person does not and should not have to prove their innocence. Unlikely as it may intuitively seem, eyewitness testimony on its own is one of the least reliable kinds of evidence.
The aim of the justice system should be to convict the guilty, not to get convictions. Tarring all men with the same brush doesn’t progress the cause.

Here’s Louise O’Neill’s piece in the Irish Examiner: