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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.

ElektraLOL Wed 13-Mar-19 11:21:37

My point was that everyone lies sometimes. Does that mean that we keep on enabling abusers to get away with their crimes and to turn a blind eye?

BarbarianMum Wed 13-Mar-19 11:24:18

Generally the testimony of one witness alone is not sufficient to convict people of a crime. Do you think it should be (genuine question)?

Confusedbeetle Wed 13-Mar-19 11:26:17

For the most part, people don't want to believe the person has done it. Thats why victims get such a bad time in court. Sadly in very rare cases, people have made up false accusations and wrecked lives. A high profile case where a man who's name escapes me accuse Ted Heath and others at Westminster of outrageous crime including murder.
The police were under a lot of pressure to believe all accusers. On the other had charming groomers will always manage to have people who cannot believe they would do such things, that is their skill.
MJ was the ultimate manipulating groomer. Fans cannot face the fact they worship a rapist

TheHolySmirk Wed 13-Mar-19 11:28:07

Evidence might be physical injuries, DNA, video/photo evidence, testimony including descriptions of things which couldn't reasonably be explained (descriptions of a perpetrator's physical characteristics for example).

That would just be hard evidence.

Testimony of multiple disparate witnesses, who demonstrably have no connection to one another might count too, but is more difficult to convict on.

user1493413286 Wed 13-Mar-19 11:30:35

I think people just don’t like to accept that it takes place. I think it can be easier to just say they’re making it up than to imagine that this takes place and is so widespread. This is further cemented by people knowing someone who has been accused of this and always having previously liked that person and thought they were nice so rather than have to adjust to this person not being who they thought they were they’d rather think it was a lie

ShartGoblin Wed 13-Mar-19 11:31:10

I've seen someone's life almost destroyed due to a false accusation. I've also seen a victim's life almost destroyed for not being believed. I have been a victim myself and not been believed.

For those reasons, I won't trust either side based on witness accounts alone. However, I would never say to someone that I don't believe them, I could never be so cruel. If a friend came to me and told me this had happened then I would believe them because I know and trust my friends and I don't know enough about a stranger to trust them. If a friend came to me and accused another friend and that other friend came to me crying because they had been falsely accused then I honestly have no idea what I would do or what my default position would be. I can only hope that I'm never in that situation because I would feel sick at the thought of getting it wrong.

@AutumnCrow you raise a very valid point about domestic abuse, someone I know is going through this now and she won't accept help. It's heartbreaking to be able to do nothing and the law definitely needs to change there. I find it disgusting that someone suffering all kinds of physical and emotional manipulation is the one being relied on to ask for help.

Catscratchclub Wed 13-Mar-19 11:33:15

I was raped / sexually abused for several years by a family member. It was ingrained in me that no one would believe me, and they were right to a degree - my mum in particular never really believed me at the time. The very nature of abuse is that it’s one persons word against another’s. The man who abused me was likeable, charming, well thought of. I on the other hand fell apart. I skipped school, was drinking, had mood swings. Sometimes I was overly nice to my abuser (because I hoped it would stop him hurting me later on) other times I was so scared I would shake and be unable to talk. What I’m trying to say is that I looked like the trouble maker, where as the man who abused me was seen to be golden. When I told people, I didn’t have the repution to be believed whereas he did.

BarbarianMum Wed 13-Mar-19 11:36:59

I think thats a very common scenario Catscratch. Im so sorry it happened to you. flowers

MaverickSnoopy Wed 13-Mar-19 11:42:03

Hmmm well respectfully some people do lie about it.

I have a family member who has/is lying about it. There are many things that don't make sense and facts refute it. Aside from that she says she has been to the police (several years ago and ongoing apparently) about it and tells us detailed facts about the process. I have a family member (other side of family) who works for the police and has been able to clarify that the process she talks about wouldn't actually happen. She often contradicts herself and her lies are easy to see through. Aside from that she is a compulsive liar and has made up some very serious things over the years and it's taken us a long time to really see the situation for what it is. Always coinciding with positive family news.

Having been raped myself (although mostly kept it to myself) my default position is always to believe and support the victim. This was my position before I was raped too. In the scenario that I've described above though, I just can't believe it.

I absolutely see why people don't always believe it. However we've been exposed to a lot of the details and have been able to see over a long period of time what the truth is. Where this isn't the case I very strongly feel that people are too quick to assume. In the case of loved ones though people don't want to see the bad in people.

Oliversmumsarmy Wed 13-Mar-19 11:47:29

Friend knows someone who was accused of murder.

Police had evidence, apparently, he was arrested and thrown in prison to await trial.

No one who knew this guy believed for one second he could have done what he was being accused of. They didn’t believe any evidence that the police put forward.

Friends were right. Real murderer was caught but not before they had devastated this guys life.

ElektraLOL Wed 13-Mar-19 11:58:15

'Generally the testimony of one witness alone is not sufficient to convict people of a crime. Do you think it should be (genuine question)?'

No, of course not. I think I started the thread to ask what can be done to make things more equal for victims though. Because I think at the moment people trot out the aforementioned narratives in my OP. The same ones every time.

TheHolySmirk Wed 13-Mar-19 12:05:30

People 'trot out' the narratives in your OP, because there is some truth in them.

On the other hand, there are some cases where the hard evidence is irrefutable.

In the cases in between, it would be astonishingly dangerous to fall for the cult of 'we believe you'.

MarieIVanArkleStinks Wed 13-Mar-19 12:07:16

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.

This was my own recent position. I've been an assault victim and more recently a victim of sustained sexual harrassment and stalking. And I read some of the witness statements in the case, which as far as I was concerned amounted to a second major slap in the face. People didn't want to believe their longstanding colleague with a reputation for mild eccentricity was a mere facade; the real man in fact being a deeply unpleasant sexual predator who enjoyed intimidating women. Far more comfortable for them to believe it's the woman who's lying.

MarieIVanArkleStinks Wed 13-Mar-19 12:08:41

NB my complaint was unequivocally upheld. My employers believed me (and they were the ones privy to ALL the evidence) even if certain colleagues didn't.

GoldenWonderwall Wed 13-Mar-19 12:13:34

I think actually facing the sheer amount of abuse and violence that is carried out behind closed doors is so great that as a society we can’t do it.

80,000 viewing child abuse images, one for every street. 20% of women and girls have been severely sexually assaulted or raped. God knows how many domestic abusers but over 100 women murdered every year by their partner or ex partner. Etc etc. Millions of victims, 10s of 1000s of abusers or potential rapists, it’s not the few thousand that get to court is it? But if we pretend that it is - and there’s just lots of women and children making shit up for reasons then we as a society don’t have to face the truth. Which is that it’s a domestic war zone for many. I envy people who go through life blithely believing that these things are the products of people’s confused or malicious imagination instead of the articulation of the unending horror which is many people’s actual lives.

False allegations of abuse and sexual violence are no higher than other crimes, I hope the fencesitters bear that in mind next time they hear a friend has been mugged or burgled or had their car broken into or been phished or been scammed.

SpamChaudFroid Wed 13-Mar-19 12:26:59

there’s just lots of women and children making shit up for reasons then we as a society don’t have to face the truth.

Exactly, Golden. On hearing about the years of assaults from my ex my mother told me she didn't think it was true because I should have "just pushed him off", and "well you know you have a bit of a temper, Spam". hmm

LucyAutumn Wed 13-Mar-19 12:35:19

I was raped and groomed at 13. My friends didn't believe me because years before I had lied about being adopted and speaking fluent Spanish. One of them brought up the name of my rapist a few years ago at a party infront of my husband. It's absolutely destroyed me, more than the actual rape, that my friends still to this day think of him as just an ex 'boyfriend'.

SmarmyMrMime Wed 13-Mar-19 12:39:20

In the case of crimes where the evidence is basically one word against another, I don't know how you can make it a fair balance between believing victims and not over-zealously attributing guilt to people who may be innocent. I can't vouch for the USA, but in Britain the proof needs to be beyond reasonable doubt. There have been cases where it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that a "victim" has lied. Miscarriages of justice have occured for other crimes through more "evidence" than one testimony over another. As much as I loathe victims being disbelieved and crimes going unchallenged, I don't want culture to swing too far the other way to innocent lives being ruined on one claim over another in assuming guilt. I say this as someone who never reported a sexual assualt because there was no other evidence as record of his offence. I was shaken enough about my experience without having to confidence to have my claims put to scruitiny. Should perverts like my offender get away with it because I also believe in protecting innocents? It's an interesting moral question.

The only thing I can confidently say is that in the case of Michael Jackson money has corrupted justice and truth.

If the original 1993 case surfaced now in a post Saville culture where we are improving our understanding of grooming, public perception would be different to when the earlier claims were made. But this is a celebrity that people grew up with from being a cute child in the 1970s, with a very distinctive, influential talent that has inspired so many music/ dance artists. Guilt was not established beyond reasonable doubt in 1993 or 2005. It is credible that allegations could have been made, motivated by money and pay-offs. It is also likely that the grooming culture and money beyond a victim's wildest dreams eventually outweighed the battle of proving the guilt of a much-loved, highly influential, very affluent celebrity. Evading a guilty verdict twice does undermine confidence in current allegations.

Saville was different in that the sheer swathe of consistent testiomonies of victims and juniors that knew an open secret of his actions opened up more recently after his death. His actions were conducted more openly, not behind closed gates with his own staff. His sphere of influence was also significantly more reduced after death, both through family and legacy of "product". It is considerably easier to believe posthumously beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty of the allegations made in the case of Saville than Jackson.

NWQM Wed 13-Mar-19 12:41:02

But shouldn’t the reaction of ‘no, surely x isn’t capable of that’ be really fleeting when you remember that your friend is your friend because they are good, sensible people who don’t lie.

In terms of MJ it strikes me that people are very hung up on defining the abuse as if some level of exploitation is actually okay. The kids were taken to Neverland to entertain a wealthy stranger were abused by him and their parents. That’s not okay. We know it happened. He was not innocent.

GoldenWonderwall Wed 13-Mar-19 12:50:14

flowers spam and for all the posters who talk on mn and elsewhere about the violence and abuse they have endured, which has never ever come close to a police report, even amongst a sea of views regarding ‘where’s the evidence?’

Of course loads of crimes take place where there’s no witnesses or evidence. You’d have to be pretty stupid or incredibly arrogant to carry out a crime in plain sight that could be done behind closed doors. Obviously a lot of evidence is ignored or dismissed beyond witness testimony including cctv, other witnesses and physical evidence. Jackson being a case in point as he carried out his grooming under the gaze of millions.

mollycoddle77 Wed 13-Mar-19 14:26:09

where there is an accusation of abuse, it has to be a case of investigating the accused, searching their house and computer for example, criminal history, other allegations made in the past etc etc to make a complete picture and to establish whether "no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime" (quick google search on what constitutes proof beyond reasonable doubt). In the MJ case there are just so many facts beyond the men's testimonies that it is almost incomprehensible that someone would try to defend his innocence. In other cases, Cliff Richard's for example, there was one allegation at one point but absolutely no other evidence found at his house, from what around him were saying etc etc.

In fact all crimes are like that aren't they? It's all the known pieces and the picture they paint, only very very rarely do you have hard proof of a crime like that he perpetrator being caught on camera doing it.

AutumnCrow Wed 13-Mar-19 17:58:09

AutumnCrow you raise a very valid point about domestic abuse, someone I know is going through this now and she won't accept help. It's heartbreaking to be able to do nothing and the law definitely needs to change there. I find it disgusting that someone suffering all kinds of physical and emotional manipulation is the one being relied on to ask for help

@ShartGoblin I am so glad you get it. I've been wondering whether to pursue this via a police complaints procedure. If the police won't take statements and won't view cctv, they are being disingenuous surely in saying they've no evidence to go on?

I am pretty sure police forces can and should be gathering evidence and making their own cases to go to the CPS since rules around domestic abuse changed.

ElektraLOL Wed 13-Mar-19 18:09:41

@LucyAutumn that is just awful. I don't think they sound like your friends 😢😢

Gingerkittykat Wed 13-Mar-19 18:19:06

www.theguardian.com/law/2014/dec/01/109-women-prosecuted-false-rape-allegations

109 women prosecuted for false rape allegations in 5 years, a tiny fraction of the number of women and girls who are raped or sexually assaulted.

People seem to be far more concerned about the damage of false accusations than the damage of rape.

People don't want to believe somebody the know and like can be capable of a crime like that, much easier to believe it is the dodgy guy hiding in the bushes. It was very easy to believe an oddball like Saville was guilty, far harder when it is Mr normal.

ElektraLOL Wed 13-Mar-19 18:20:30

'People seem to be far more concerned about the damage of false accusations than the damage of rape'

Yes, quite 😢

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