What's the best approach to a he-said she-said situation? (TW: rape)

I’ve pondered this before but the recent controversy over Bill Cosby has made me really wonder what the best charitable moral response is in the case of rape allegations.

Usually, in celebrity cases, it seems people tend to lean either in the celebrity’s favor, presuming “that woman (women) are just money-grabbing liars trying to make a quick buck” or in the victim(s)’ favor, presuming “he’s a rich and famous celebrity, he must be a jerk who abused his position, because rich people are all evil”, but of course in such cases we really don’t have much evidence to really decide one way or another.

But what if it happened closer to home? Say you know two friends, Jack and Jill. Jill claims Jack raped her, while Jack claims the sex was consensual. It seems impossible to take one person’s side without making uncharitable assumptions about the others. If you support Jack, that means you’re accusing Jill of making false allegations of a crime, and if you’re wrong, then you’re doing terrible harm to a rape victim. But if you support Jill, that means you’re accusing Jack of being a rapist, and if you’re wrong, then you’re doing terrible harm to an innocent man accused of a crime that could put him in prison for years.

So what is the most “charitable” way to handle this? Just refuse to take sides at all? Seems that if you do that, you might lose both friendships. But would that be better than choosing to believe one over the other?

I think that, in most cases (certainly with regards to celebrity stories), taking no position is usually a good way to go. Unless I’m on a jury, I don’t need to know if Bill Cosby (or anyone else) is guilty or innocent.

Your main question, though, pertains to those closer to us. I would think that’s going to depend a lot on the situation as to what to do. It would seem to me somewhat unlikely that a person would have two friends they are equally close to and trust equally who find themselves in this sort of situation where it really is a complete mystery as to who could be telling the truth and who could be lying. :shrug:

So what is the most “charitable” way to handle this?

Let the law handle it. Really. This is why the Church got in so much trouble. People tried to handle things internally and “among friends” when the first thing one should do when there is evidence of a serious crime is call the cops and let people who have the experience, resources and authority to sort it out. The innocent should have nothing to fear and should want an opportunity to officially clear their name.

You need not accuse someone of rape. You simply report the facts as you received them. Let the friendships stand or fall where they may.

If I don’t like or am not interested in the celebrity I agree, I just shrug my shoulders and let it go. But celebrities spend a lot of time, money and agents purchasing our admiration or affection. So, when someone like Cosby is accused of heinous acts it becomes rather unrealistic to take the Switzerland side of things. "Should I purchase a jersey/box set/product that this person is selling me? "Should I watch a show that this person is on?"These things celebrities cherish as their “brand” And as consumers we should be mindful of what we endorse with our wallets, and mouths.

Ray Rice
Adrian Peterson
Shoeless Joe
Pete Rose
Mel Gibson
Michael Jackson
Michael Vick
Bill Clinton

There is no way you read that list and “take no position” In fact, I’ll bet at least one name on that list, provided you with an immediate emotional reaction one way or the other.

When you well known people and they may have raped, murdered, or abused children, hurt animals, or stolen money There will be a response.

I don’t know about other people, but this scenario you present reminds me of my experience with so many couples who divorce. They each say the other did (all sorts of awful things), and the information they each present differs so much one wonders if they were in the same marriage!

I admit it’s very tricky.

Fair enough. If I were previously in the habit of purchasing merchandise from any of the above, I would be more hesitant to do so in the future.

For celebrities, I believe in the law. They are innocent until proven guilty. No matter how many allegations there are, I will not make a judgment unless I have saw the accused breaking the law.

For people I know, I would take no sides as others said. I would advise both of them to go to the police and trust that God would guide the police in finding the truth. This, of course, could cause friendships with those people to end – both might see me as an enemy for not supporting them – but I could make it through any suffering from that knowing that I am doing the right thing.

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