The misunderstanding of ‘believe all women’

I’m sure the slogan “believe all women” came to life with good intentions. For a long time, even today, women are being shamed for what they have no control over. For example, many blame raped women for the assault because of their choice of clothing. Or, many still harass women when they see them driving or working in an office.

I’m pretty sure “believe all women” was a slogan made to make people listen to women and have empathy for the pain they go through everyday. But should we really believe all women?

I don’t consider myself a feminist I don’t believe men and women are equal. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in equality of men and women but my understanding is that equality between men and women is them being treated with justice. When we treat both men and women with justice, we’re treating them equally.

I listen to women. If they say they’re assaulted or harassed, I’ll have empathy, but I won’t accept what they say unless there’s proof of that. I won’t ruin people’s lives because some woman accused them of rape, assault, or sexual harassment. Women are human beings after all and human beings are capable of many awful things, including lying.

I’ve seen social media ruining people’s lives because of a lie some person (man or woman) told and I’ve seen human beings suffer from those lies. Even if millions of people repeat something, unless there’s proof of that, I won’t believe it.

I respect the “believe all women” motto but for me it’s not really to believe, but to feel and have empathy for those who really are assaulted, raped, or harassed. I understand that many may experience a lot of things in their minds and the severity of harassment can be different for people based on their condition (in life or anything) but that’s not enough to accuse people of assault (or rape or harassment).

We should not cancel people or ruin people based on unproven stories. Even if the story is very much convincing, unless there’s enough evidence to prove that story, we shouldn’t accept that. In today’s world that there’s surveillance cameras everywhere (sadly) and we have a lot of tools to capture moments and we have enough technology to save the moments and incidents, there shouldn’t be a culture of cancelling based on myths, stories, and lies.

Let’s fight against this culture and while we’re fighting against them, let’s work to improve the life condition for women and those who suffered. Let’s listen to women, accept them, treat them with justice and manner, and help them to not be second class people. Don’t believe all women, but listen to them.

Instead of ruining people’s lives by believing all women, we can start empowering women to be able to defend themselves. We can develop technologies to help women (and even men) protect themselves.

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Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.