The Burden of Proof in Sexual Assault

Wasn’t it vital to treat victims more decently, and didn’t that mean believing them? But how far was it right to extend that principle—and given the presumption of innocence, weren’t our laws designed not to? 

When I mentioned these concerns to Jennifer Long, the CEO of AEquitas, a national resource for prosecutors of gender-based violence, she agreed the quandary I was noticing shaped many cases that lacked corroborating evidence. But it was also the underlying dynamic of any case of sexual assault, she said. “All you’re doing is playing into what people believe already, to blame the victim. Challenging the veracity comes along with the court process.”