Due Process

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” the president wrote on Twitter, adding: “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?” - Trump Tweet 2/10/17

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Due process, huh?

The idea is great, but the practice is pathetic. 

Why is there a statute of limitations on sex crimes?

Why are black men 2x-3x more likely to be convicted of sex crimes?

Why is a woman’s entire sexual history, marital status, clothing choices, occupation, etc. considered evidence against her account of assault? 

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Why must she always display bruises and behave as we think a victim should? (A trick question we will criticize her behavior no matter what.)

So yes, women would LOVE some due process. We would love some justice for the centuries of subjugation. We would love to have our voices heard and be believed the FIRST time we report an assault. Reports, recently released reveal that Larry Nassar abused hundreds of girls while the criminal investigation was ongoing. He got his due process, but so many women and girls had to suffer at his hands while the others were waiting for justice. 

Calling for due process right now, for men, as a rebuttal to the perceived overreach of #metoo is a pretty transparent attempt to re-focus the conversation on the plights of accused men, so we don’t have to look their victims in the eye any longer. Sorry, Mr. President, you cannot look away and neither will we. You have your victims to face, and while they await justice, how many more women will suffer at your hands?

Why does the presumption of innocence for the perpetrator necessitate the presumption of guilt of the victim (in the form of lying to the police)? 

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My point is that none of the current justice structure for sex crimes feels like due process to me. So calling for it for these “falsely accused” men is a nice sound bite, but a harsh reality for women. 

The statistics are very bad. One in four women will be raped, but less than 50% of rapes are reported, and less than 50% of those will go to trial, and less than 50% of those will result in a guilty verdict, and even less of those will serve jail time. And yet the Brock Turners of the world are the “victims” we are supposed to care about?

When the President calls for due process: a legal term meaning the government cannot ignore the rights of a citizen in order to prosecute that citizen for a crime; He is calling for a status quo where women are only believed if the circumstances are convenient for the patriarchy AND where the affront reaches a criminal threshold, and a state prosecutor decides to press charges.

What does due process look like when the assault isn’t a crime? It’s not a crime to secretly take a condom off during sex for example, “stealthing” as it’s called. 

It’s not a crime to harass women online or make misogynistic statements that undermine a woman’s credibility or diminish her authority. 

Stalking wasn’t a crime until 1990 when California became the first state to outlaw it. It is still defined differently state to state and carries many different punishments. 

Marital rape wasn’t a crime until the 1970’s. 


Author: Mary Beth White

Mary Beth is a freelance audiobook producer. She travels a lot and likes to know that everything she owns fits in her car.