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***TRIGGER WARNING*** To not understand why people start victim blaming when a high profile defendant is found not guilty?

(73 Posts)
frustratedandsad Thu 06-Feb-14 17:11:16

(Name changing regular because I'm going to disclose something very personal.)

I was sexually abused for many years as a child by a 'beloved' family member. I've had lots of therapy and have often discussed reporting it but ultimately, felt I couldn't go through with it. Seeing how people respond to the highly publicised cases just confirms that I will never do it.

I've seen/heard vile comments such as;
"It seems unlikely that anyone could get raped more than once."
"The so-called victims should be sued."
"I wonder if Jimmy Saville would have been found innocent if he was alive."

And these weren't even the ones from the DM site!

DebrisSlide Thu 06-Feb-14 21:47:40

Waht happened with the verdict?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 06-Feb-14 21:51:30

Meep, in that case he was "proved innocent" - used to be expressed as "leaves the court without a stain on his character" I think.

But mostly it is guilt that is proven, so it is more likely that a guilty verdict is correct than incorrect. Not always, but more likely. That's the premise of the standard ax well - better ten guilty men go free than one innocent goes to jail etc.

So me and my identical twin are at a party in the same clothes. An eye witness sees one of us taking a purse from a bag with gloves on and running away. We each blame the other. One of us is most definitely guilty - a crime has definitely happened - but there is no way to reach a guilty verdict.

MeepMeepVrooooom Thu 06-Feb-14 21:52:04

I have never once said he was found innocent by a court. He was proven to be innocent by his legal team.

Therefore he was acquitted of any charges due to evidence proving he wasn't in the vicinity when the alleged attack took place. The accuser admitted lying eventually.

He was an innocent man that is my point. I know it as does everyone else who was involved. It is a fact that he didn't commit the crime.

Tuhlulah Thu 06-Feb-14 21:58:57

theDoctrine, no really, you can never be proven or found innocent because you are presumed innocent. You will be found guilty or not guilty. I'm not being pedantic, but this is the legal position.
Also your example about two people having potentially having committed a crime but you cannot say which one actually did it. I think that also got changed a bit under New Labour. I cant remember what its called. There was a case in which a person was attacked by several people and it couldn't be established whose action caused death. Under a change in the law they were all found guilty of murder.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 06-Feb-14 21:59:40

Sorry if I expressed it badly, I meant that it's probably rare for a defence team to price innocence, as happened with your friend - the legal standard is the other way round. And of course cases do not get to court unless the CPS thinks there is a reasonable chance of oroving guilt.

AskBasil Thu 06-Feb-14 21:59:53


Of course people victim blame when a high profile defendent is found not guilty of rape or sexual assault.

We live in a rape culture, where only 6% of reported rapes end in a guilty conviction, even though the rate of false allegation is only about 2-3%. Where only the most water-tight cases, where victims have also endured other violence as part of the rape, come to court so the evidence is pretty overwhelming.

This is largely due to rape myths and victim blaming, as well as the construction of the concept of consent, which deems the victim in a permanent state of consent unless she can prove she wasn't. It's hardly surprising that most men who are accused of rape, do not end up being found guilty, whether they were or not.

I'm always surprised that some are tbh. I was absolutely astounded by Stuart Hall.

Tuhlulah Thu 06-Feb-14 22:01:17

MeepMeep, if this is the case then he could apply to have the conviction overturned or quashed. Then his good name could be restored. There are things which can be done to restore justice when there has been a miscarriage of justice

HadABadDay2014 Thu 06-Feb-14 22:02:34

I am in 2 minds.

What if a man really didn't do it, I think he then is the victim. Because no matter what the courts and he say he will alway have that stigma attached to him ( and vise versa for a women)

However I do not want to think that the victim is lying and didn't get abused.

DebrisSlide Thu 06-Feb-14 22:02:40

I am a thief. I stole a large pink erasor from Woolworths in Beverley c. 1981. I also stole a Turkish Belight from Jacksons in Cottingham in the same year. (I didn't believe the ads, but wanted to see if they were true before I spent my pocket money). Until now, I only ever told my brother, and that was last year.

Am I innocent because I was never caught? Would I be innocent if I was brought to trial now and said I couldn't remember even being there?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 06-Feb-14 22:04:09

Tuh, in my example, one twin is innocent and the other guilty - I think the group of attackers can act and be accused in concert.

I realise there is no such thing as proving innocence in court but in the example of Meep's friend, it wasn't the the evidence wasn't strong enough or wasn't there, there was active evidence that he could not be guilty. All three scenarios result in the same "not guilty" verdict though.

MeepMeepVrooooom Thu 06-Feb-14 22:04:50

used to be expressed as "leaves the court without a stain on his character

If only the latter was the truth of life after. He will live with it for the rest of his life. Regardless of the proof there will always be people who question it. People who for no other reason than their own amusement stick the boot it. He will live the rest of his life being called the worst names by people who barely know him. He will not leave the village he lived in because he was family there who need him. It's heartbreaking but it's true. Innocent people do have a permanent stain on their character, their life has been tarnished and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I hate this innocent until proven guilty but if found not guilty many will accuse you of not being innocent attitude. It can affect someone so badly they don't see the point of living. And that is what I along with every member of my family see, it's not a mate, not with an ex colleague but a member of my family who I love with all my heart but who hates himself because of malicious lies and people who won't let the past go.

Tuhlulah Thu 06-Feb-14 22:06:19

Debris, I suspect you know this but to be guilty of a crime you have to have actually committed the act, and have had the intention to commit the act. So you must have intended to permanently deprive woolworths of the eraser.
What you remember now is not the issue, what matters is if at the time you knowingly took the rubber and intended to take the rubber.

MeepMeepVrooooom Thu 06-Feb-14 22:08:30


No because you were guilty. If you had PROOF you were in a different part of the country and didn't actually do it then yes you would be innocent even if found by a court to be guilty.

MeepMeepVrooooom Thu 06-Feb-14 22:09:24

But with you having admitted you did do it the latter wouldn't happen.

DebrisSlide Thu 06-Feb-14 22:13:51

As if I would admit it!

"M'lud, I don't remember being there on that day"

Meep, I know what you're saying. It doesn't really relate to anything much on this thread, though, does it? However hard your mate's situation has been.

Tuhlulah Thu 06-Feb-14 22:16:46

Meep, I have every sympathy with your friend. We have seen what can happen when innocent people are targeted by the press, never mind found guilty in court- I am thinking of the former school teacher in Brixton who was arrested for the murder of a young woman in his block of flats, and the peadophile who was murdered by the mob for an offence he didn't commit.
It must be dreadful. People kill themselves for less. Imagine being falsely accused of committing a child murder.
Do you remember Lindy Chamberlain, the Australian woman who served a prison sentence for the murder of her 7 day old baby Azaria? The press didn't like her because she was a 7th Day Adventist. She said the baby had been snatched from her tent by a dingo. The court found her guilty, but later the conviction was quashed and she was released when evidence emerged strong,y suggesting the baby had been snatched by dingos.

DebrisSlide Thu 06-Feb-14 22:18:54

Was your mate's comviction overturned, Meep? It should have been, from what you say. That's a very different scenario from what we are talking about.

MeepMeepVrooooom Thu 06-Feb-14 22:19:39

It does though. People can be found guilty and be innocent. People can be found not guilty and be innocent. People can be found not guilty and be guilty, people can be found not guilty and be guilty.

But to express your opinions of they could still be guilty publicly on someone who has been found not guilty is cruel. You don't know what happened so let the people who have been found not guilty and therefore in the eyes of the law are innocent men/women live their life.

The title says it all.... "Victim blaming". How about "alleged victim". If someone can't be innocent by being proven to be not guilty why is someone who potentially lied still being called a victim.

LizzieHexham Thu 06-Feb-14 22:28:35

Name change
There was a case in the 80s I think where a minor member of the aristocracy alleged she was raped by 4 men. All were acquitted and she was charged with perjury.

Her defence to the perjury charge was she was not lying, she had been raped. She was acquitted too as the Crown could not prove beyond reasonable doubt she was lying.

MeepMeepVrooooom Thu 06-Feb-14 22:35:15

It wasn't a mate it was a family member and no it wasn't immediately overturned because it had to be appealed. At the appeal I'm not exactly sure what happened because I wasn't there but he was released as a result of the appeal. I assume the original charge was quashed and I can't be certain but I am almost positive there was compensation involved. I was out of the country at this point.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 06-Feb-14 22:55:35

OP this thread is prob not helping now. This link may be good:

NinjaPenguin Fri 07-Feb-14 00:12:02

I think YABU. I struggle with it as I was sexually abused (by my father and a close family friend) as a child, although both were convicted and sentenced during my childhood. I take it a innocent until proven guilty for everyone. So that is for the alleged victim too- they shouldn't be considered to be liars/etc; until proven so iyswim, they could well have actually believed it.

Piscivorus Fri 07-Feb-14 00:27:41

I am in 2 minds too.

I hate the idea of a victim not being believed and supported but also hate the idea of someone being subjected to a false allegation and presumed to be guilty regardless of a jury deciding they are not guilty because we have decided we should always believe every accusation.

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