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?