I've been an advocate for sexual assault victims for years. Especially for the victims of child molestation. And there are patterns that you notice whenever these cases become public.
First of all, there is doubt about the accuser. Is she telling the truth? Was this actually a CRIME? If the alleged perpetrator is famous there is question about her motive. And if the incident occurred in the past, the big question is always "So, why did she wait until NOW to speak up?"
And these are all valid questions.
Second, the accused always denies it. Seriously, when has a man ever said "She's right, I'm guilty. And I am resigning/turning myself over to the authorities for prosecution." Instead, we get "I did not have sex with that woman."
Then comes the attempts to discredit the accuser. "Did you see those pictures on her Facebook page? You know she used to work for the opposing party. She has a history of sexual promiscuity. She was drunk."
Sometimes the victim is able to offer up physical proof. The Clinton machine was in high gear to destroy Monica Lewinsky's credibility and would have succeeded if she hadn't forgotten to take her dress to the cleaners. Al Franken was kind enough to take pictures. But in most cases, there are no witnesses. There is no physical evidence. There is just the word of the victims. But the courage of one often leads to the admissions of others. Eventually, 50 women were willing to publicly claim they were assaulted by Bill Cosby.
This is what absolutely wrecked me about the Jerry Sandusky case. Mike McQueary walked in on Sandusky sodomizing a boy in the shower. And he did NOTHING. (No, telling Joe Paterno about it doesn't count.) Can you imagine what was going through the mind of that poor child? Because the most important weapon a sexual predator has, what you hear over and over from the victims is the assurance of the predators:
"NOBODY WILL EVER BELIEVE YOU."
One of Roy Moore's accusers tearfully shared her story the Moore molested her as a teenager. When she finally got away from him, she claims he told her "You’re just a child, I am the district attorney of Etowah County and if you tell anyone about this no one will ever believe you.’”
Now, don't misunderstand me. You are under absolutely no obligation to believe some stranger's account that you're reading on the internet. If you're on a jury and fate of a man's life is in your hands, you absolutely must evaluate the testimony of the victims. But, can we please agree on one thing: You need to believe the women in your life.
When a friend tells her story, believe her. Support her. When your wife complains about the guys at work telling dirty jokes don't tell her she's making to big of a deal out of it. If she expresses anger or fear about a boss, friend or family member, don't assume she's being ridiculous.
And for the love of God please believe your children. If they don't want to visit a friend's house, or go to youth group, or spend the night at Grandpa's, don't dismiss their feelings - especially if this is a change in behavior.
The silence of victims, the ignorance of others, these are the most powerful weapons a sexual predator has. THIS IS WHY THE ASSHOLES KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT. How many parents told their children "Father So-and-So wouldn't DO a thing like that." "Oh, don't be silly. Uncle Steve is just being friendly." Hell, Dennis Hastert kept a lounge chair in the locker room so that he could watch his wrestlers shower AND NOBODY THOUGHT THAT WAS WEIRD???"
For every case of a celebrity or politician accused of sexual misconduct, there are millions of anonymous scumbags out their preying on innocent victims. They continue to do it because too few people are willing to stop them.