Shards of truth

  1.  From Bari Weiss, “The Limits to ‘Believe All Women’, The New York Times:

I believe that it’s condescending to think that women and their claims can’t stand up to interrogation and can’t handle skepticism. I believe that facts serve feminists far better than faith. That due process is better than mob rule.

Weiss puts her finger on an issue that has troubled feminist legal scholars for decades:   How to change the law so that it recognizes women’s lived experience, while also  avoiding the inadvertent reinforcement of noxious gender stereotypes — for example, that women are weak, overly dependent, irrational; unable to claim their autonomous space in the public sphere without crutches.  It’s a delicate balance, and a difficult but necessary debate.

2.   From Katie McDonough, “‘Believe All Women’ Isn’t a Thing”,

“Trust but verify” is just another way of saying “believe women”, which is another way of saying “don’t reflexively disbelieve women.”  Increasingly, in painful fits and starts, we’re seeing what it looks like to do that.”

McDonough gets this exactly right — women (and other victims of abuse) have the right not to be reflexively disbelieved, no matter how prominent or powerful their abuser. Victims have the right to be heard, and in the past that right has not been honored.  Victims have been reluctant to come forward because they knew they would not be heard, or heard impartially.   Amazingly, that now seems to be changing before our eyes.






Strengthening women’s right to be heard

From an interesting article by Staci Zaretsky in Above the Law:

“In 2006, the legal profession was plagued by sexism and gender bias, and today… it’s still plagued by those problems. In 2016, however, there are far more avenues and opportunities that allow those who have been discriminated against to rectify the wrongs they’ve faced simply by virtue of being women working as lawyers, including, but not limited to, the availability of a new professional conduct rule enacted by the American Bar Association to address discrimination and harassment.”