"I believe you" means not believing someone else

(26 Posts)
Binglebong Sat 01-May-21 13:19:11

There have been two cases in the news recently with high profile assaults on women, allegedly by Ryan Giggs and Noel Clarke, where the accused have lost work and been vilified as a result.

I have no idea if either person is guilty and this thread isn't about it.

My natural inclination if a woman says she is attacked is to believe her and support her in any way I can. But very often it is one person's word against the other and right now the accused is having trial by media. Women not being believed is clearly not right but this doesn't sit comfortably either. Without some serious cognitive dissonance you can't believe both. Does anyone have any ideas on how this can be made to work for everyone (at least until the bastard is convicted then vilify to your heart's content!)?

OP’s posts: |
ForgotAboutThis Sat 01-May-21 13:30:00

Well for a start the prospect of a conviction is slim to none, and most of the behaviour isn't criminal it's just vile.
If 20 people told my employer that I had harassed them, they wouldn't wait for a trial. They would conduct an investigation and if there was reasonable evidence that I had behaved inappropriately (and in this case there were witnesses) then I wod get sacked. That's what is happening here.
20 separate women have come forward. And we KNOW that a huge amount of men behave like this. Why would we assume he didn't do it? Pattern recognition would lead you to assume he did, if nothing else.

So, I always eron the side of believing women because historically that's always been the right call.

Dogfan Sat 01-May-21 13:44:39

I guess my thoughts are if it's true you can't afford to take risks as its a serious offence, so we should believe the accuser. If the court finds it isn't true then we believe the accused. I think for me it's the same as a child saying they've been abused by someone - it's too serious not to take seriously. I also think you have to trust in the justice system of the country you live in. If you are innocent, the system should be sufficiently robust to conclude that. If you don't believe the justice system is capable you should move in my opinion (one reason I wouldn't move to US). I get that if it was a lie the accused may be tainted but 1) statistics show false accusations are rare and 2) given the seriousness of the crime I think you should take this risk.

ZoeMaye Sat 01-May-21 13:45:35

IME sometimes one person can lie, and there are women who lie for whatever reason. I do try to always believe the woman, but there are situations where women have made malicious reports. There is always the possibility of one person lying for individual reasons. It took me a long time to accept that any women ever lie, but I have seen this IRL on a few occasions so it does happen. It's statistically unlikely though and much more likely the man has done what he was accused of.

Then there are situations where something has happened more than once, more than one victim. As soon as you can see a pattern (and two victims is a pattern, especially is the abuse is escalating) then I think thats incredibly unlikely to not be true. Again it could happen, but very unlikely that two women both report somebody.
When you get a pattern like this, with 2+ victims I don't think the person is "accuses of Being an abuser" anymore, they are abuser.

In general it is far more likely the accused has done it, whether the crime ever makes it to or is upheld in a court of law. We have seen again and again the social patterns of abuse like this. Our laws fail to convict these men all the time, so I am glad that while the law catches up (I hope!) that businesses can use their discretion to not employee these people. When they do this they say it is not acceptable to behave in that way, they protect other people that work for that business, they protect people who by association of that person working for the business might have trusted that abuser. They make abuse unacceptable, they turn abusers back into the social pariahs they should be and they cut off their access to many potential victims.

Innocent until proven guilty? We can norm go by that when our legal system is reliably convicting abuse, rape, and sexist abuse of all kinds. And we can't.

Tanith Sat 01-May-21 14:01:31

Absolutely right that the women reporting should be believed and the men reported should be suspended to prevent further cases.
What shouldn’t happen is the trial by media before they’re even convicted. I think Noel Clarke hasn’t even been charged yet.

I’m not sure why the recent reports of an MP accused of rape were kept out of the media (though speculated on in SM platforms), but NC’s name is bandied around prior to investigations being concluded.

I think the abysmally low prosecution and conviction rates are leading to this kind of vigilante justice.

blackwhiteandstripey Sat 01-May-21 14:10:53

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Daydrambeliever Sat 01-May-21 14:14:56

When it comes to "believing" individual women who report sexual assault etc, my opinion on the veracity of their claims is completely irrelevant. All and every report should be investigated fairly.

lazylinguist Sat 01-May-21 14:42:09

No, because hardly any cases get convicted. When multiple stories come out of the woodwork from different women, and when lots of people the accused has worked with seem unsurprised by the allegations and when the worst that will happen is some loss of income for an already wealthy man, I can't bring myself to get that worked up about a bit of trial by media tbh, when there will be no other kind of trial.

SmokedDuck Sat 01-May-21 15:29:48

It's not a very good slogan.

oceanswim Sat 01-May-21 16:05:25

I don't go with "believe all women because you simply can't. Even if it's less than 1% of times they are malicious allegations, that still means you can't believe all. Evidence, pattern, reason to lie, other victims all can help build a reasonable idea of it it's true based on balance of probabilities.

That being said, whether the person has been found not guilty in court means shit all. I just sat through an 8 day historic sexual abuse trial, two defendants, opposite accounts, both caught lying on stand and adding new details. One defendant said yes, the other defendant had sexual relationship with her (when she was 12). Claimants account didn't change, 5 witnesses who she had disclosed to over the last 35 years (none of whom knew each other, some of which disclosures were over 25 years old and hadn't seen claimant for over 20 years, two professionals, one who had lived in Australia for the last 15 years) all gave same account. Jury (all male) returned not guilty for all charges in 3 hours. I know it happened. Abusers know it happened. Based on the fact some of them were close to tears, jurors knew it happened. And yet abusers can now say they didn't do it. It's a fucking farce.

CuriousaboutSamphire Sat 01-May-21 16:10:14

That's why I don't like I Believe You as a movement.

I do believe all such allegations should be taken seriously.

I do believe that some women make false allegations

I do believe that the vast majority of sexual assault and rape cases are either not reported or never get to court.

I do believe there has to be a way to change the latter.

I don't know if this particular man is guilty.

I do know that his SM shows him to be less that pleasant or thoughtful about the dignity of women.

And so we have to wait...

Binglebong Sat 01-May-21 19:17:49

In this particular case there is certainly persuasive evidence to suggest that NC is not a very nice person to work with, whether criminal or not. Ans companies should respond to that (although I'd be pissed if I had been following the series that skipped the last part!). But in the wider scheme of things where there isn't evidence and there isn't a pattern what is the right action? I can easily understand people not believing x because they know Y and it would be so out of character.

OP’s posts: |
Shelddd Sat 01-May-21 19:30:58

Does anyone actually believe all women?... All the people in media initially saying that didn't believe Biden's accusers for example.
I don't think all is meant literally just more or a mind shift from thinking women always lie to understanding women very rarely lie about these things ( but still does occasionally happen especially when there is motive like in politics or in custody/divorce cases).
Also when someone is accused of murder they are usually held in jail pending trial and sometimes might be in jail for a couple years before they are convicted. No one really has a problem with that, what's the difference here?

NiceGerbil Sun 02-May-21 06:02:38

In the case of NC it's not one word against another.

It's 20 women that have come forward.

The fact he has said I've done nothing wrong but I'm sorry and I'm going to go into exile for a bit to learn how to be s better person is not exactly a great sign.

20 women (that have spoken up) 1 man.

How many women does it take before women are ok to think in their own heads that it sounds pretty iffy?

NoIdontwanttoseeyourknob Sun 02-May-21 06:41:39

I find this really problematic and I agree that we need to have a better process than trial by media.

A PP said “ If the court finds it isn't true then we believe the accused.” - but the mud sticks, just ask Alex Salmond.

Noel Clarke has been “cancelled” but John Barrowman, who openly admits to getting his cock out on set, hasn’t been.

John Leslie lost his career thanks to (untrue) rumours that he had raped Ulrika Jonnson.

Is it time for accused men to be given anonymity until charges are proven?

NecessaryScene1 Sun 02-May-21 07:18:26

but the mud sticks, just ask Alex Salmond.

Yeah, that was an extreme case. It was a small tight group of accusers with a very particular relationship to him and his opponents, relying on anonymity, co-ordinating. How often does that happen?

The asymmetric anonymity is clearly a real problem there - the accusers are still able to make press statements casting aspersions after the judgment, still anonymous! That can't be right.

But in general, it seems like you've got to assume that on the balance of probability a large group all accusing one person can't all be lying. There has to be something there.

But my concern is that the media latches onto the worst thing in the collection. In lots of survey/statistical stuff, you discard outliers as step one. I've not looked at the details of Clarke's case, but as a general principle, if it's 1 "he assaulted me" and 9 "he did something that made me uncomfortable", that's rather different than 10 "he assaulted me", but might well be treated the same. The number 10 is associated with the worst thing. But maybe that one's not true, and it's the just the other 9.

Here's an interesting interview between Meghan Murphy and Jon Kay about a case in Canada. It seems someone there is being seriously cancelled by an accusation from 1 person, but the Woke cult has decided guilt very firmly.

The Same Drugs: Jonathan Kay on rape, due process, and the Steven Galloway case

The problem is that in normal life, assaults are real, and common. So you don't want to dwell too much on miscarriages of justice or false accusations.

But the more you seem to not care about miscarriages, the more pushback and scepticism you're going to get.

VikingVolva Sun 02-May-21 07:46:06

Yes, what you say in the thread title is correct.

And it's important to remember that false or trumped up allegations are vastly more rare than assaults. So forming an initial view on the basis of probabilities seems reasonable.

Most people in the public eye are never accused of sexual offences, though there are some who have reputations for extremely poor sexual conduct. Others are have settled family lives, and never attract gossip.

And then there are a few where accusations are made, and vanishingly few where those allegations lead to arrest

Binglebong Sun 02-May-21 12:02:38


In the case of NC it's not one word against another.

It's 20 women that have come forward.

The fact he has said I've done nothing wrong but I'm sorry and I'm going to go into exile for a bit to learn how to be s better person is not exactly a great sign.

20 women (that have spoken up) 1 man.

How many women does it take before women are ok to think in their own heads that it sounds pretty iffy?

To be honest I'm not disputing it with NC (although im gutted - I liked Mickey) as that one seems pretty clear cut. It was more that his and RG's stories inspired the thread, rather than it being about them.

OP’s posts: |
lookylookyhooky Tue 04-May-21 16:49:51

I’m married to a man who had been accused of DV by his psychopath ex wife. She would send all manner of abuse, including a nasty text on our first Valentines Day as she was jealous. Fast forward a few years and fortunately a court appointed psychologist has identified she is a pathological liar and diagnosed various mental health issues. The Police have also denied her allegations over the years. The children live with us FT as they too see what a toxic person she is and wanted to be with us.

So I definitely don’t think women should just be believed automatically.... many are compulsive liars with MH.

NiceGerbil Tue 04-May-21 23:47:50

Many women who report sex offences are compulsive liars with mental health problems...

Are you sure you mean that?

Also interested to know if you mean women who report things to officials (police etc) are often compulsive liars, or if when you read threads on here where women talk about stuff that's happened whether you would think many of them are compulsive liars?

Also interested to know if you extend this to all crimes reported (formally? Or in conversation etc as well?) by women, or just certain types of crime?

Just occurred as well, do you extend this to girls and if so from what age would you think many of the things they report are lies?

NiceGerbil Tue 04-May-21 23:49:31

Oh sorry many women who report DV that should say (obviously can include sexual violence). Apologies for referring to sex offences at the beginning of my previous post. The questions still stand though.

WarwickHunt Wed 05-May-21 00:26:35

I think we have to distinguish between not believing someone and disbelieving them. If two people have mutually exclusive accounts of what happened then believing one of them means you disbelieve the other. That's unavoidable. I think that you must not believe either. In other words keep an open mind. That does not preclude treating either side with empathy and sensitivity.

user113424742258631134 Wed 05-May-21 00:44:27

Criminal trials and convictions are about establishing the state's right to impose punishment lawfully. That's it. That's all they exist for.

They are not about establishing truth. That is not the purpose of criminal trials. That's not even what a conviction means.

A criminal conviction is not necessary for anybody else to decide they don't want dealings with someone. Nor is a criminal conviction necessary for employers or professional bodies or businesses or any other institution to take action against individuals in accordance with their policies and contracts.

Whether or not somebody has been convicted is irrelevant. Nobody is required to pretend "both sides" of a reported incident are equally valid or reserve their personal judgement on a person's misconduct or expose themselves to the risk of interacting with an individual known to be dangerous.

Relying on the tiny number of incidents that go through a criminal trial in order to decide who you believe or what you consider the truth to be is exceptionally daft, especially when that leads to you protecting rapists and abusers.

NiceGerbil Wed 05-May-21 01:23:00

Warwick sorry but I have so many issues with that.

If my DD comes home from school and says a man flashed her then my starting point should be that she could be telling the truth or lying?

If a friend tells me she was raped 20 years ago then I treat her with empathy but bear in mind she might be fibbing?

Question for you.

A neighbour tells you they were burgled.
Your mum calls and is upset because she's been scammed over the phone.
Your brother gets in touch and mentions he was mugged a couple of weeks back but thankfully they didn't get much.
A female workmate gets in and tells you that a bloke felt her up in the crush of the train and she couldn't even tell who it was.

In all of those cases you are sympathetic but neither believe nor disbelieve them? That's right I think?

Jimmy saville was never prosecuted.
Many of the clergy accused of sexualn abuse by multiple victims have never seen a court.
Let's go a bit further. Many accused of war crimes never got to the Hague. Too old/ already died.

Neither believe nor disbelieve, right? In your own head.

I bet you have a line. Where is it?

NiceGerbil Wed 05-May-21 01:38:00

In fact the more I think about it the sillier it is.

You are walking home and come across an elderly man lying on the pavement covered in blood. He says 2 youths assaulted him.

Hmmmmm. Be nice and empathise. But, with no evidence or conviction. He could be lying. So, help him but form no opinion as to whether he was a genuine victim of crime. (Maybe he tripped and is embarrassed? Who knows).

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in