Problem

Placement of the burden of proof on the disempowered

Other Names:
Placement of the burden of proof on victims of environment pollution
Placement of the burden of proof of abuse on vulnerable groups
Benefit of doubt given to vested interests
Nature:
A special form of this problem for shifting the onus of proof onto the victim is the practice called decoupling. Decoupling involves a set of propaganda techniques denying the crime while deploring the conditions or circumstances that caused the perpetrators to commit the crime. Thus, decoupling throws blame onto the victim while it denies guilt.
Incidence:
In many traditional societies, the burden of proof in the case of sexual assault is placed on the woman. In Pakistan, the law known as the Hadood Ordinance stipulates that a woman's charge of rape can only be substantiated if the testimony of four adult male Moslem witnesses is obtained. If the woman is unable to substantiate her claim successfully, she may be charged with adultery and subject to corporal punishment or imprisonment.
Claim:
Even if adequate proof is lacking on the causes of environmental and other dangers, doubt should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent them.
Broader Problems:
Blaming victims
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
13.03.1997 – 00:00 CET
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