We want to believe the denials of men who are accused of doing bad things, particularly bad things against women. A glance at several high profile celebrity domestic violence cases illustrates the prevalence of this attitude.
To accept denial as a final word on any claim is, first and foremost, a bad way to assess its truthfulness. But to accept a denial as proof of an alleged perpetrator’s innocence also perpetuates the dynamics of domestic abuse, and discourages people from taking responsibility for their actions.
We can no longer allow denials to be the end of the story when it comes to domestic violence. We can start by taking the testimonies of survivors at least as seriously as the defenses of their alleged abusers.
GW Paper Series
Laurie S. Kohn, He Says it Didn’t Happen: Rob Porter, Donald Trump, and How We Treat Abuse Allegations, Ms. (Feb. 21, 2018), https://msmagazine.com/2018/02/21/says-didnt-happen-rob-porter-donald-trump-treat-abuse-allegations/.