Over the past year or two, there has been an increased awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault, culminating in the “#metoo” movement. The conversation, unfortunately, has gotten a little off track, with simplified “I believe the victim,” and “She lied, he died” memes dominating the conversation.
But there is a liberal way to achieve justice that doesn’t require boiling things down to simplistic taglines: respect. Respect for both the accuser and the accused. No victim should be dragged through the mud, asked about their behavior, their clothes, etc when making a claim. It is respectful to treat them as genuinely aggrieved.
Likewise, The accused should be treated with respect as well. The accused should be given a fair trial and allowed to defend themselves. The aggrieved party has the requirement to supply evidence for their claims and the court has the duty to treat both with respect and honor.
No justice system can long function without this form of respect. Without respect for the victim, it becomes biased toward the accused. Without respect for the accused, it becomes biased toward the victim. The goal here is to prevent abuse of the system by anyone. And respect goes a long way toward achieving that goal.