This is sickening, and infuriating.
Until last week, Norfolk, Virginia police classified sexual assault claims to be “unfounded” — or not valid — by default. According to the Virginian-Pilot, a 22-year-old woman’s case prompted Norfolk police chief Mike Goldsmith to update the policy so that officers must now assume rape victims are telling the truth.
Well, gee! Welcome to the 21st century, Norfolk! It's only thirteen years in!
Seriously, how wrongheaded, and how harmful to victims, could this police department possibly be? It is possible to hold two separate concepts in mind at once regarding a rape accuation: both that the victim is telling the truth, and the crime must be investigated to narrow the focus down to one particular person, who will then have our law's presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
In other words: the rape did occur, but the identity of the attacker must be proven in a court of law.
That's not so hard, is it? It's only hard if, as do many men (and apparently many police departments), you automatically default to the knee-jerk, woman-blaming trope of "the slut is lying" or "the slut asked for it."
It's time, and past time, that this ridiculous idea be put to rest.
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