LindaLouise Haines: Believe her
I know nothing of the recent accusations against the nominee for the Joint Chiefs position. However, I can speak about how such accusations are frequently handled and mishandled privately and publicly.
Do any of the naysayers really think that a woman making accusations of sexual harassment and/or assault enjoys the process of being accused of the worst sins (“she ‘asked’ for it”)? Or she might hear this: “She is just doing this for attention” or “She wanted it and only cried ‘rape’ later.” And, so many more abominations that I have heard over my 70-plus years.
It took me 36 years from the last time I was molested to when the memories resurfaced spontaneously, not suggested by anyone else. For me those 36 years saw a series of marriage failures, job failures, personal failures of all sorts. Plus, as an adult, a rape during that period. Thirty-six years! Do you think I really wanted to remember those early assaults and those times of not being believed? Really?
Do you really think it is fun being accused of being a liar and of having a hidden agenda against your accuser? It would be much easier to stay quiet.
Our patriarchal society and male-dominated governing bodies automatically slant any accusation of any kind of assault as something that the accuser made up. Even before she opens her mouth.
Being a “Survivor/Thriver,” I can tell you that the guts it takes to speak up about assaults ought to be applauded not condemned, especially if she is standing alone.
I say: Believe her before you jump to conclusions. Chances are much greater that she is telling the truth and that doing so is jeopardizing her career and her personal relationships of all kinds. She is putting everything on the line.
Try this as a default setting: Believe her, until and if there is proof to the contrary.
LindaLouise Haines lives in Colfax.
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