Certain kinds of rape and sexual abuse, under certain conditions are tolerated. It’s the accusations that are not tolerated, because once you bring forward those accusations the consequences for the accused are pretty severe.

The best example I can give of this is children who complain about an adult relative abusing them. Often many people in the family know this is going on, but as long as no child complains, none of the other adults actually have to do anything. However, once a child does complain — that is a game changer. Basically, the child has accused the adult of committing a crime. So now the adult faces a loss of freedom and many other unpleasant circumstances. This is incredibly disruptive to all family members involved. People will take sides. In some cases, the child will be told he or she is lying. This is very damaging to the child. Others in the family may lash out at the accused to the point of violence. Then the child who brought forward the accusations has to live with the weight of all of this, and the saddest thing of all is that often, people who abuse children were abused as children — so it is a repetitive cycle.

The above describes a real situation, where there was enough evidence, evidently, to incarcerate the family member who was accused. It was a very sad situation, all around.

We have so much sexual abuse, because we tolerate so much of it in the dark. We don’t like bringing any of it to light because doing so is very disruptive socially, in a way that just letting the sexual abuse persist quietly, is not.

So let’s take the Birth of a Nation controversy. I am honestly, not all that familiar with it. What I understand though, is that a boycott of the film was called for, because allegations of sexual assault were brought forth against the director, albeit several years ago.

Even though I know very little about any of it, I know that the rehashing of the old allegations has been very controversial in the African-American community just based on what I see on social media. It’s clear to me that the allegations have probably damaged the director's career and the film’s profitability, even though this may have been a really good film.

Some people in the African-American community are really angry about this, and others feel as if this is a just outcome. But anyway, as you can see by both examples — the accusations are very divisive, and the reasons for that are that the consequences are very high for the accused.

I think we’re probably going about this wrong. Instead of criminalization of sexual assault, the focus needs to be on prevention and treatment and better communication regarding what healthy sex is and is not.

The heavy criminalization and stigmatization also allows the accusations to be used as a weapon, but rarely, is it the actual victims who engage in those kinds of antics. It is typically manipulative types, the liars, the con artists, the power players, that wield the accusations as a weapon.

This all gets incredibly messy, after a while; and this is what you see now in the presidential campaign.

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