Thursday, March 27, 2014

The presumptively innocent deserve protection regardless of their gender

The New York Daily News identified a female teacher by name after she was accused of repeated sexual liaisons with a 14-year-old boy. If she is innocent, the reputational harm of the disclosure likely will be enough to harm her for the rest of her life.

 Typically, the presumptively innocent subject of such stories are men or boys, but the same concerns should apply to women as well. Last year we made our case for anonymity for men and boys accused of rape. The same considerations apply to women.

The comments under the story about the teacher are disturbing and suggest that this country is in need of serious education about these issues. Let's start here:
Guaranteed this kid and his mom made the whole thing up hoping to collect the ghetto lottery. It's gonna be the teacher who get rich when it turns out that she was never alone with the kid.
Yes, because black people are prone to make up false statutory rape claims. And as we all know, the wrongly accused get rich after they are cleared.

The response to that last comment was this gem:
I doubt it. If he makes it up he doesn't say it happened 10 times. Kids, especially boys, don't think that way; they're not devious enough. A girl's imagination is light years ahead of a boy's. He's more than likely telling the truth.
Nothing like a little misogyny when we're dealing with a serious issue.

And here's the one we've all been waiting for -- the one where we hear it's "different" for boys:
I guess you and I were very different at 14. If she forced him or abused him, then it's horrible. But it's a totally different dynamic with teenage boys and teenage girls, stupid to pretend otherwise. If he was having fun, good for him. I'm always suspicious of adults who are so anxious to protect the innocence of teenage boys.
And we couldn't have a story like this without someone assuming guilt:
All sexual predators should have their face pictured in the paper so that everyone can see who they are. They can be publicly shamed and you, will know when they move next door to you and your family!!! Either way, she will get probation- If it were a man, he would get 10 yrs in jail!!
Finally, there's this:
I feel bad for the husband. The poor guy was not only in the dark about this, but his wife took up with a 14 year old. Wow, what a blow to the ego, if true.
That's right, the real victim isn't the boy (if he was repeatedly statutorily raped) or the woman (if she was wrongly accused of repeated statutory rape), it's the woman's partner -- because what a blow to his ego if his partner took up with a boy!

It would be laughable if the irrationality weren't so wide-spread.