Lissa Harris

The burden of proof is on the victim

When newspapers focus on the anonymity of the testimony of members of Black N Brown at DP, they dismiss the accusations of racism and abuse. Degrees of Freedom must engage in honest conversation with the Marlboro community about how they can assure a safe space for their students.

In our justice system, the accused stands trial. But outside our court system, the burden of proof is almost always laid upon the shoulders of the victim.

In their recent articles [“Anonymous allegations roil Marlboro College sale,” Reformer, July 14] and “Critics urge opposition to campus sale” [The Commons, July 15], both publications failed to hold Democracy Builders Fund accountable for the accusations of racism and abuse raised against its founder, Seth Andrew, during his time leading Democracy Prep charter schools.

According to a 2008 study in the British medical journal The Lancet, only 1 in 10 instances of child abuse is reported. Reasons for not reporting abuse include fear of retaliation from the abuser, thinking it was a private matter and fear of not being believed.

It's no wonder that victims who report their abuse often wish to remain anonymous.

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