▲Letter - Do not call accusers victims
Re: [Name of story]
I write to express my concern about your use of the term "victim" to describe the accuser in the above-referenced story.
By labeling her the "victim" before a single scrap of evidence has been admitted at trial, much less an adjudication of guilt, you have impliedly rushed to judgment and declared her allegation to be factual.
Such a description does a grave disservice to (1) the presumed innocent who are accused of such crimes since, by necessity, they must be guilty if their accusers are, in fact, "victims"; (2) actual rape victims, because you trivialize rape when you include among its victims women who might only be false accusers; and (3) your readers, who are entitled to accurate reporting but receive something less than that when you transform an accuser into a "victim."
It is well to note that every objective study ever conducted on false rape claims shows that they are a significant problem. The only fair manner of reporting on these cases is to refer to accusers as exactly what they are: accusers.
I implore you to exercise greater care in reporting on such stories, and to show sensitivity to the presumed innocent and their families, by not suggesting that the trial is over even before it has begun.