The media should wait to cover sexual assault allegations

Luke Elkins, Editorials Editor

Major political sexual assault cases have been all over the news recently. Justin Fairfax, lieutenant governor of Virginia, is currently facing sexual assault allegations dating to his college years in the early 2000s from two different women. In September, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faced allegations from Christine Blasey Ford about an alleged sexual assault that occurred during high school. The two cases have striking similarities, and both have been extensively covered in the news. However, both cases should never have received the attention they did.

First off, each case is one opinion against another. Each case occurred quite a while ago, there is a lack of evidence for either side. The case becomes a back and forth of accusations of who did what, leading to ad hominem arguments.

Secondly, when allegations are blown to the proportions that the Fairfax and Kavanaugh cases were, both the victims and defendant are tormented with abuse. Victims are harassed online and are accused of being liars and making up a story. Defendants are attacked by people calling them a rapist and receive tons of slander. The defendant also suffers from a permanently damaged reputation, whether or not the allegation is true.

Cases on sexual assault should ot be covered until there is sufficient evidence for a proper verdict. Accusations that are overblown by the media that create a scene are helpful to no one and solely create controversy.

When the media waits until there is a verdict, it takes away unnecessary attention and allows outrage to be directed fairly. In the cases of Fairfax and Kavanaugh, they would only receive criticism after the appropriate verdict was found, and the victims would receive support after the truth is appropriately found out.