Advanced search

To wonder where this narrative comes from that victims of abuse are making it up?

(74 Posts)
ElektraLOL Wed 13-Mar-19 10:13:08

I guess following on from the MJ Leaving Neverland documentary which was so eye opening for me. I have noticed that many people have been successfully brainwashed to believe that

1. People often make up stories about being abused

2. If they testify that they were abused by a celebrity, they were doing it for money

3. There is no evidence (no acceptance that several witnesses coming forward is evidence in itself)

Where does this awful regressive, ingrained culture come from and what can we do to stop it or refute those who perpetuate it? I used to want to give MJ the benefit of the doubt but there is only so long that you can keep defending someone without becoming an apologist for pedophilia and rape. This is of course not just about Michael Jackson but, for example the footballers who people make endless excuses for including that going to someone's hotel room is implied consent. Which, of course it is not.

TheHolySmirk Wed 13-Mar-19 10:23:19

Not sure about the celebrity aspect, but part of it is that abuse is such a dreadful thing to be accused of that people instinctively want a lot of proof.

A false accusation wrecks lives.

It's tricky, because in these cases physical proof, especially in historical cases, is often lacking. So people think the least harm is done (legally) by not just taking people's word.

In murder cases and things, the physical evidence is often easier to come by, and guilt easier to prove.

Shoxfordian Wed 13-Mar-19 10:25:05

It's basically because of rape culture

We have to keep believing victims and challenge other people's opinions. It is depressing though

heartshapedknob Wed 13-Mar-19 10:26:52

Its cognitive dissonance.

People simply do not want to confront the reality of someone they know being a rapist or sexual abuser. People care more about the perpetrators than their victims.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Wed 13-Mar-19 10:28:07

A good line in the MJ documentary came from the sister (sic) "people cant separate the man from the performer, no one denying his music was fantastic, but the man is evil '

MJ projected this image of a broken, abused little boy himself - and we know that the abused often go on to be abusers.

RKelly, the other morning stating that HE would nt have to do these things - did we not know who HE is ? Mate, you just thought you were untouchable and that sort of idolatry just creates the impression in your head you are all powerful and others are here to do your bidding.

Anyone in authority – teachers, policemen, doctors, judges, politicians, celebrities, sports people – all have the status over the masses; absolute power corrupts.

People who emotionally invest in celebrities and sports people don’t want to believe they so fundamentally wrong, that they have bought into the media image projected. Its so much easier to blame the abused for offering temptation, or being greedy than admit you made a bad judgement call by placing these people on pedestals.

GiveMeSteam Wed 13-Mar-19 10:29:24

2. If they testify that they were abused by a celebrity, they were doing it for money

This part always fascinates me because if people believe that, it presumably follows that celebrities never abuse anyone or else can’t/shouldn’t be brought to justice for it, because anyone testifying against them is only doing it for money!

ElektraLOL Wed 13-Mar-19 10:31:00

It's not even just celebrities though.

I remember hearing a programme on radio 4 about rape. One woman was describing how a man in her social circle raped her and her female friends immediately said 'oh no, he would never do that. There must be some misunderstanding'

Tomtontom Wed 13-Mar-19 10:32:58

I believe we can strike a balance, believing and supporting abuse survivors during an investigation, but also allowing the alleged offender the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. It's difficult, you very much have to separate the two parties in your head because one thought process contradicts the other.

The vast number of abuse reports are legitimate and the default position should be believing the victim. But we also need to be aware that there are a tiny minority of people that make these things up, and make it so much more difficult for the genuine victims.

GregoryPeckingDuck Wed 13-Mar-19 10:35:06

The only way people will stop thinking that is if people stop making false accusations. Sexual attacks or abuse can be very difficult to prove especially when it’s long in the past. Without any empirical evidence the accusations of a victim or victims are mere accusations just as the denial of the perpetrator is a mere denial. Some people assume there is no smoke without fire. Others assume there is no crime without impartial evidence. The only real assumption that one can reasonably make in the complete absence of evidence (an accusation isn’t really evidence is it?) is that the full truth will never be clear. I certainly think that the circumstances in the Micheal Jackson case are damning but I cannot say that I believe he is guilty. He looks very very guilty but there hasn’t been sufficient evidence to reasonably show guilt as a fact.

MeredithGrey1 Wed 13-Mar-19 10:45:37

One woman was describing how a man in her social circle raped her and her female friends immediately said 'oh no, he would never do that. There must be some misunderstanding'

I actually think that's quite an understandable reaction to someone who you know being accused of something like this. I imagine hearing that if you hear this about someone you know (and like), the urge to find an alternative explanation would be quite strong. I'm not saying its right, just that it must be hard to accept, when part of what you're hearing is "that person who you know and like is not what you thought he was."
And I actually don't think its limited to sexual offenses. I've never been in this position, but if I heard from a friend that a good friend of mine had assaulted them (not sexually)/stolen from them/committed any kind of crime against them, my first reaction probably would be "that can't be right, there must be a misunderstanding somewhere!" It wouldn't be that I'm saying the accuser is lying, just that I can't fit what they're saying with what I think I know about the accused.

ShartGoblin Wed 13-Mar-19 10:46:53

I tend to just keep my judgement to myself. I can't believe someone is guilty with evidence and I can't believe there is always evidence when someone is guilty

ShartGoblin Wed 13-Mar-19 10:47:17

*without evidence I meant

SpamChaudFroid Wed 13-Mar-19 10:48:41

I would say that it's because of the patriarchal society we live in. A man's word is believed and valued over a woman's or child's voices. Sexual abuse is nearly always carried out by a man. Women are socialised to be nice and not make a fuss, and society vilifies those who do speak up.

Being found not guilty does not mean the accusation was false.

Insecure123 Wed 13-Mar-19 10:57:41

WHat tomtontom said. unfortunately there are a minority of cases which have been made up for varying reasons - I have known/seen this - and it can be enough to cast a shadow of doubt over genuine cases which is just awful.

ElektraLOL Wed 13-Mar-19 10:59:16

'Being found not guilty does not mean the accusation was false.'

Exactly. I have had to correct people who say MJ was proven innocent. No he wasn't and even one of the jurors says he thought he was guilty.

To the poster who says you would need to see evidence. Why do you not consider a witness testimony to be evidence? And what evidence would you find to be compelling? Imagine (god forbid) that someone close to you said they were abused. What would you say to them and what evidence would you expect them to be able to show?

Insecure123 Wed 13-Mar-19 11:01:24

agree with shartgoblin. I try not to get too over invested when it is not a situation I am close to. Having worked in a criminal setting and seeing the evidence laid out in a court room in comparison to what is set out publicly /in the media I know not to be too led by it. So yes I form my own opinions over things as is normal but also try to balance that with the fact that actually I don't know all the facts as I wasn't there/haven't sat in the trial etc. I just think it is a very difficult balance to get. My heart goes out to genuine victims.

SpamChaudFroid Wed 13-Mar-19 11:09:26

I saw a post talking about rape on my local police's SM page this week. All the responses were from men and one woman saying how people's lives are ruined by false allegations, and how awful the women are who do these things. Not one mention of how awful the rapists are themselves. Very telling.

TheHolySmirk Wed 13-Mar-19 11:10:39


I was probably one of the posters who mentioned eveidence.

No, I would never be comfortable with a conviction gained solely through the testimony of a witness. Not just in abuse cases, but in all cases. People can and do lie.

Their motivation isn't always transparent.

If someone close to me alleged abuse, I'd consider what I knew of them. If I knew them to lie, overstate the case, and be malicious or manipulative, it would be ridiculouse to blindly believe them.

If my child made such an allegation, given their character at the moment, I'd believe them. But I wouldn't lose all common sense. If what they were alleging was patently imposible, I'd look further into their story and motivation.

Oliversmumsarmy Wed 13-Mar-19 11:11:11

There have been so many false allegations and lives wrecked that whilst 20 years ago the victim might have been immediately believed now there is a question mark.

TheHolySmirk Wed 13-Mar-19 11:11:34

Ridiculous I mean. I can generally spell. hmm

AutumnCrow Wed 13-Mar-19 11:11:48

3. There is no evidence (no acceptance that several witnesses coming forward is evidence in itself)

I'm very interested in this, owing to a situation I currently know personally (domestic abuse) where the police are being completely intransigent over this issue. There's also cctv, which the police won't view. But there's 'no evidence' apparently because the victim herself isn't making a complaint.

But there most certainly IS abuse and it has been reported repeatedly by more than one witness.

I think that the attitude of 'there's no evidence' is seriously misjudged in cases like this, and is part of a culture of dismissing victims as unimportant and disposable.

Missingstreetlife Wed 13-Mar-19 11:14:22

I would like us to get away from he was abused himself as if that's an excuse or reason. Millions of people are abused and it doesn't make them abusers. There may be som correlation but it's by no means a causal link. It's an abuse of power and an addictive behaviour, deal with it and take responsibility.

TheHolySmirk Wed 13-Mar-19 11:14:28

But you can't just rely on allegations and witness testimony.

The courts would be over run with witch hunts and rumours.

ElektraLOL Wed 13-Mar-19 11:20:14

Already people are saying things on this thread which are examples of what I mean ;

'I would consider what I know of them, if they had a history of lying'

Everyone in the world has at some point told a lie.

I still wait to hear what people feel constitutes evidence. I should imagine there are very few people who consider Savile to have been innocent?

heartshapedknob Wed 13-Mar-19 11:21:32

Twenty years ago, victims were not believed. It’s nothing to do with social media and everything to do with the fact that protecting a man’s reputation comes way above supporting a victim.

CPS data suggests that for every 161 prosecutions brought for rape - and the bar for prosecution is high - there is 1 false allegation.
(Source: )

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »