Denying Guilt Proves Guilt?

guilty-til-provenThe CBC has a new article titled How to spot a pattern of denials in the #MeToo movement. This article seems to make the astonishing claim that denying one’s guilt is actually evidence that one is guilty. Yes, the progressives have become the new inquisition.

When Brett Kavanaugh denied sexual assault allegations, attacked his accuser’s memory, and then described himself as being the victim of a conspiracy — several psychologists knew what they were seeing: DARVO, which stands for deny, attack, and reverse victim order. The term was coined by a research team at the University of Oregon and the University of California, Santa Cruz, who identified the pattern alleged abusers use to deflect attention away from themselves and back to the person making the accusation.

Which is exactly what someone who is falsely accused should do. Assuming the accuser is lying, the “victim order” is not being reversed. False accusers are not victims.

University of Oregon psychology professor and Stanford fellow Jennifer Freyd, said that the reason it gets used frequently is that it works. “I did not expect … that so many people actually found the DARVO convincing. But it makes sense. I mean that’s why people use it,” said Freyd.

What? If you doubt an accusation brought against someone–which you should, if you believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty–why wouldn’t you assume their denial is credible and their attack on their accusers justified, until you see evidence against them?

However, she said that the number of people who are inclined to believe a DARVO response, lessens significantly as soon as they understand its mechanics. For example, Freyd identified Kavanaugh as someone who used this aggressive retort to shift blame away from himself when accused of sexual harassment by Christine Blasey Ford and other women.

Of course he reacted aggressively. His accusers were attempting to ruin his life. I would expect him to act this way whether or not he was guilty.

“The drinking age was 18 in Maryland for most of my time in high school and was 18 in D.C. for all of my time in high school. I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out and I never sexually assaulted anyone.”

If someone makes the accusation that you drank a lot, then implies that this is evidence that you committed an assault, this seems like the correct way to defend yourself.

“Dr. Ford’s allegation is not merely uncorroborated, it is refuted by the very people she says were there, including by a longtime friend of hers. Refuted.”

If her accusation is false, again this seems to be the correct thing to say. If there is evidence that the allegation is not false, it should be brought.

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

If you are claiming that false witness is being born against you, providing a motive for the one doing so seems to a good idea. I find his argument weak, but I understand why Kavanaugh made it.

Freyd asserted that while not everyone accused of an accusation is guilty, DARVO is not a good way to defend your innocence. “You don’t have to respond defensively to an accusation, whether you’ve done it or have not done it. And a non-defensive response can really move people,” said Freyd.

Freyd asserts that if you are wrongfully accused, you should not defend yourself. While that might work in a fair judicial system, it seems a ridiculous defence in the kangaroo court of public opinion. I fail to see how she can argue with Kavanaugh’s results.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
This entry was posted in philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s