SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments), a non-profit organization that focuses on promoting due process and fairness in legal proceedings for both the accusers and the accused, has issued an open letter denouncing the biased “victim-centered” approach taken in many sexual assault investigations. David Marshall is one of the letter’s signers.
The letter aims to stop the use of biased investigation methods that push law enforcement to “believe the victim” instead of to conduct an impartial investigation. To believe the complainant from the start contradicts the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.”
These practices have become commonplace particularly in Title IX investigations. To be found “responsible” can result in expulsion and can permanently stain a student’s record, making it difficult to transfer to a new school, to get post-graduate education, to find employment, and more.
The letter urges lawmakers, federal agencies, criminal justice officials, and college administrators to stop using these biased investigative methods.
The letter asserts:
By their very name, their ideology, and the methods they foster, “believe the victim” concepts presume the guilt of an accused. This is the antithesis of the most rudimentary notions of justice. In directing investigators to corroborate allegations, ignore reporting inconsistencies, and undermine defenses, the “believe the victim” movement threatens to subvert constitutionally-rooted due process protections.