Being Accused of Abuse is More Dangerous Than Ever- if You’re a Man
The problem of gender bias and false accusations in abuse cases
Last night I had the opportunity to read the featured Medium article from the feminist writer Jessica Valenti. This piece presents an important step in further public discussion on the subject of abuse.
It’s More Dangerous Than Ever to Come Forward About Abuse
The internet changed everything for people who share their stories
I must admit, as hard as I tried to accept her ideas, the delivery was just off-putting. The main point I came across is that it’s harder than ever before to come out with horrendous abuse stories, especially if those stories include the men(it was focused solely on one gender) in power.
She discussed the finer points of the mob mentality against the victims that bravely decide to identify their monsters. And I tend to agree; the real victims should not be bluntly dragged through the mud after everything they went through.
I feel for the victims, and I believe we should do something to punish those responsible for the horrors.
Unfortunately, in the wake of #MeeToo movement, the public had the opportunity to witness numerous false accusations suffocating the platform and giving real monsters a way to discredit the victims.
The public life is full of conspiracies. Like it or not, there are money-hungry individuals who won’t refrain from accusing people in power of heinous crimes just to get their five minutes in the spotlight(because any attention is good attention, right).
I was on both end of this issue through my life. I was abused and I was also falsely accused. And in both instances, I went through hell. It was different flames, but it burned the same.
When it comes to sexual or domestic abuse, it can be damn hard to find substantial evidence to build a court case. Most times, you don’t have much more than your word. And this has created a world where the biggest monsters walk the streets freely.
On the other hand, when I secured an admirable position in my early career, I had the opportunity to see what others are capable of doing just to profit off of you. I was accused of numerous crimes I never committed by people I was close to. My reputation was at stake and I eventually lost my job over the claims. Nothing was ever proved. It was pure hearsay.
Unfortunately for me, the accusations proved to be an effective weapon. They got the best of me. I lost my income, my apartment and the connection to the business world in that city.
Everyone accused, deserve the benefit of the doubt. Especially, if there is not enough evidence to condemn the alleged abuser.
Abuse has no gender
For the past years, the whole movement labeled men as abusers in the same way as the media branded the Muslim world with the tag of terrorism. The same way as terrorism has no religion, abuse has no gender.
Nowadays, just because you’re a man, you stand less chance to defend against domestic or sexual abuse. Just in the United Kingdom, there are more than 450,000 men who suffer from domestic abuse. Nobody wants to talk about this issue. It’s usually laughed out to the point where men don’t feel like it’s safe to come out. Statistically, men are twice less likely than women to come out with their abuse stories.
The reality created by pushing only the stories where women are the victims of rape and violence is the potential downfall for every real abuse survivor.
If you try to type ‘abuse’ into any picture browser(Unsplash, Pexels or Google Images) the results will come up only with pictures of abused women and children. You’ll hardly(if ever) find men being the victims, they’re always pictured as abusers (just to dig out the two photos used in this article took me almost an hour. That is almost the same time it took me to write the whole piece).
If you try to paint just one side of the picture, people are eventually going to notice, and your whole point — no matter how valid — might fall on deaf ears.
Johhny Depp V. Amber Heard
Yesterday, the American actor Johnny Depp has officially submitted 87 videos of Amber Heard physically attacking him. Depp is suing Heard for defamation. His claims are horror stories. Allegedly, in one instance, she used the broken Vodka bottle to severe the middle finger on his right hand. He required surgery after the incident.
Heard is also accused of perpetrating a hoax. “Unaware that members of Mr. Depp’s security team were mere feet away, Ms. Heard falsely began yelling, ‘Stop hitting me, Johnny’.”
The turning point, in this case, is that Depp was accused of abuse against Heard when the #MeeToo platform took off. The actress filed for domestic violence restraining order against Depp in May 2016. Although Depp has denied the claims, he was forced to settle the case out of court for $7 million.
She gained money and fame by talking about being mistreated. Amber Heard became the darling of the #MeeToo movement and was praised for her bravery. She gained numerous roles and business deals riding the wave of her newly found fame.
At the same time, Johhny Depp lost connection to the acting world. He was perceived as a deranged lunatic. One of his most noteworthy roles in Pirates of the Carebian franchise was cut off as the studio decided to sever ties with the actor in the midst of accusations.
Now that the tables are turned, there is no social justice for Depp. We don’t see the same treatment — as he suffered — being inflicted on Amber. She hasn’t lost a single dime over the accusation so far(even though there is tangible evidence against her). There are no movie studios coming out with statements about how they condemn her behavior. She hasn’t lost a single role or had a movie being pulled from production and her character replaced with someone more appropriate.
This reality discourages men and other victims to come out against their accusers. And it also gives the benefit of the doubt to anyone who is accused. We can’t trust victims for their word alone, anymore.
I believe we #MeeToo should stay as a subject of the public debate.
But we have to reach a new understanding of the issue and level out the playing field for every victim. It’s important to remove the gender bias and create the platform fit for all.