The presumption of innocence used to be taken very seriously in this country. Recently, however, it has been taken so lightly that a mere accusation has turned the courts into a system of a presumption of guilt. The media has not helped in this situation and in the movement of #metoo any woman who has made an accusation is too often immediately labelled by the media as a ‘Survivor’ or a ‘victim‘.
When a paper is writing about any other criminal act the word ‘alleged’ must be used, the presumption of innocence is taken seriously or else the accused could sue for damages if they’re found innocent in the end.
It is a different story with today’s sexual accusations, as soon as a person makes their accusation the media labels the person either a ‘Survivor’ or ‘victim’ but does not place the word ‘allegedly’ before these words anymore. Is this right? It is apparent that we now instinctively label an accuser as a ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’, but does this word break the boundaries of presumption of innocence? Many times the process of discovery is just as dirty as the accusation itself, could these how we paint someone cast a shadow on the outcome of their lives? Placing doubt in the minds of enough people IS a political influence itself.
One can only be a survivor if one is FIRST a victim, one can ONLY be a victim if the person they’ve accused has been convicted, calling an accuser a ‘survivor’ without the accused being convicted is a violation of the accuser’s right to due process. So technically you should be able to sue for damages for anyone who used that word or the word ‘victim’ in connection to the accuser’s name for a violation of his or her due-process. If you can sue because a paper does not use the words “allegedly” in violation of due process (which people have) then you should be able to sue for referring to a woman as a survivor/victim BEFORE her alleged perpetrator has been tried and convicted. Anything before this should be considered defamation. She doesn’t become a victim UNTIL he is found guilty.
I petition that any news media channel that uses the word victim or survivor in connection with an alleged perpetrator before they are convicted should be found guilty of Defamation of Character or liable for any damages caused. Apologies not accepted- it’s too easy to be sorry.