Editorial: Court cases following #MeToo movement show victims’ bravery in describing abuse
Court cases following #MeToo movement show victims’ bravery in describing abuse
By By Chris Walker | Posted February 7th, 2018
Since the public discussion of sexual abuse in the mid-1990s, legal cases have emerged in which victims and their advocates have been awarded damages against male doctors who sexually assaulted them.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco has ruled that a male court clerk who sexually assaulted an elementary school student was not held liable for his actions, after a jury determined that the male clerk had “substantially assisted” the criminal acts.
In another case, a female teacher who was fired for reporting sexual abuse by a school janitor won a $110,000 award for sexual harassment, despite finding that the teacher had been retaliated against for reporting the abuse.
In one case, a California court has overturned a $2 million verdict against the accused rapist for the sexual assault of a teenager. The court said there wasn’t enough evidence for the jury to find that the man had committed the crime and that the plaintiff’s evidence was therefore insufficient.
And a Minnesota woman whose lawyer successfully sued a former school principal over allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation after he sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s has since become the first Minnesota woman to be named an honorary chancellor of the University of Minnesota.
The public response to many of these stories seems to be of incredulous disbelief that anyone could ever do anything so terrible to anyone. Even so, the stories go beyond disbelief to outrage. More public outrage is needed, however, because these stories reveal the truth that victims who report sexual assault are not believed and those who are believed are not held to account.
Victims who come forward and report rape or sexual assault, or provide information to police and prosecutors, are not only believed, but when other means of finding a culprit fail,