Innocent until proven guilty

Trigger warning: This story may be emotionally triggering to victims of sexual assault.

Sexual assault accusations are being made all of the time. Let's not sit here and think that this is not an issue in our society for one second.

Accusations are exactly what they are: just accusations. Before labeling someone a rapist, there needs to be evidence that backs up the claims made on that person.

Sexual assault is a terrible crime and those who commit these crimes should be dealt with accordingly. This crime should never be tolerated in any way.

That being said, if someone is accused of this type of crime and never committed it, that person is still called a rapist even when there is no evidence saying this person did what they were accused of. This is not the proper way to handle these situations.

An example of this happened in 2016 when a college student at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut accused two football players of raping her at a party. Both players were removed from the university due to possibly facing disciplinary action. One of the players also lost his football scholarship as well.

The two football players lives were in tatters. They were called rapists and outcasted from groups of friends and coaches. Then, the story took a turn.

The person who made the allegations came out and said they were not true. She had consensual sex with both players but wanted to pursue a relationship with another student. She decided to try and gain the sympathy of the student and others by making up the story of being raped.

Not only did this person's lie cost two innocent people their education, but it made them out to be rapists. These players lost friends and were falsely labeled. There was never any evidence pointing to this event ever being considered rape. It was just her word against the players. But everyone believed the woman without looking for any sort of evidence.

Not only was what she did downright wrong, but she actually was charged with tampering of evidence and sentenced to one year behind bars.

Another example of these false allegations affecting the life of a young man just happened recently.

Former Ohio State University student athlete Bri'onte Dunn was charged with two counts of rape. He was removed from the university and wasn't given the opportunity to transfer to another school due to his impending trial.

Dunn was found not guilty on all charges. The accuser called Dunn 27 times after the alleged attack and told Dunn that she would tell everyone that she lied about the incident. This confession of lying was recorded and used as evidence in Dunn's trial.

According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, false sexual assault allegations are found in 2 to 10 percent of claims that are made, which is obviously very low. However, it should be zero percent. No matter how low the number of false accusations are made, those small number of innocent lives are affected tremendously in the long run.

We live in a country that allows us to be innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. For most crimes, this is the case. However, when sexual assault is the crime, it is guilty until proven innocent.

In no way is this saying that the voices of actual sexual assault victims should be hushed outright. There needs to be evidence that states what you said happened actually happened.

Everyone has lied about something in their life. Don't make up a lie that will completely destroy an individual. People outside of a courtroom always believe the survivor. Go through an investigation and a trial that proves either the innocence or the guilt of the accused individual.

We live in a strange time when it comes to stories like this. We all need to remember that we as American citizens are given the right to a fair trial by a jury of our peers. Let the justice system do what it was made to do, which is to either prove guilt or innocence.

We cannot live in a country that blindly "believes the survivor" just because they call themselves survivors. If that remains the case there will be plenty more false accusations made against innocent people.