Women Do Not Have a Reason to Lie About Sexual Harassment

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In this tense exchange between John Oliver and Dustin Hoffman, one thing leaps out at you:

When Oliver quoted from an account Hoffman’s accuser wrote, the actor asked Oliver, incredulous, “Do you believe this stuff you’re reading?” Oliver said he did “because she would have no reason to lie.”

I have to come down on Oliver's side here. 

How does a woman who is not in the public eye make money by accusing a famous person of sexual harassment or sexual assault? They can sue, obviously, but the burden of proof is very high and a settlement is likely only when there's a good chance the famous person will lose in a jury trial (which would be rare enough anyway).

So, why not believe someone when they tell a story like this and stop questioning their motive right off the bat? Why does it have to be about greed? Is there some mythical country where women are making millions by falsely accusing men of sexual harassment? The women who took millions from Fox News had proof that frightened a very expensive cabal of lawyers into shelling out huge settlements precisely because they couldn't get away with calling the women liars because they had evidence that would hold up in court.

If that doesn't exist, why do the women have to be left out in the cold? Why not investigate it and see if it makes sense? Why not use healthy skepticism to reach a conclusion? I think we can give men the benefit of the doubt while believing women at the same time. When you have a preponderance of women bringing in story after story of perverted behavior, does it mean they are piling on or releasing their fear of speaking out?

The default answer for many, many years has been to put the burden on the accuser and give the accused the benefit of the doubt. We are moving to a more equalized situation where yes, you can believe women. We can believe what they are saying. We can reach a conclusion that corrects the historical record.

Oliver does get at the problem. We still don't believe women unless they're holding incontrovertible proof which doesn't always exist, but we should. Period. End of story.