Why didn’t these women speak up sooner? This was asked time and time again during the recent public furore around sexual harassment, violence and abuse. Underlying the question is a persistent uncertainty about the credibility of victims – a concern with identifying what is true and what is false.
As women speak out, some have been met with explicit counter accusations that their descriptions are untrue. Others have been served with a defamation case which has resulted in the Solidarity Not Silence campaign to raise funds to fight the ensuing legal battle.
What’s clear is that the spectre of false allegation continues to dog the reporting of sexual violence. There remains a public impression that false allegations are common and that innocent people suffer as the result of being wrongfully accused.