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Social media users and false domestic violence allegations

Domestic violence is very real, and accusations are made, week in and week out, that are based on facts and events that really took place. However, it's dangerous to assume that people are guilty as soon as accusations are made.

This is something that happens too often in the social media age. People have posted pictures of injuries on social media sites, along with captions or hashtags alleging that the injuries depicted are due to domestic violence, and caused a firestorm.

Instantly, other people assume that the alleged perpetrators are guilty, even though there is not yet any proof and there has been no trial. This is the opposite of how the justice system is supposed to work, where people are to be assumed innocent unless it's proven otherwise.

Still thinking that false allegations aren't that common? Below are some rather startling facts:

1. Approximately 90 percent of the victims in these cases will eventually take back or recant their statements. It is worth noting that this doesn't necessarily mean the incident did not take place. Still, it shows that initial accounts are not usually the same as the final accounts.

2. Wrongful convictions are given out to 700,000 people very year. This is a truly incredible number. Nearly three-quarters of a million people are accused of domestic violence and then convicted in court, even though they're innocent. This data is from SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments), which is an organization that is trying to stop domestic violence, and even it admits these wrongful convictions are real.

3. Lying in court often goes ignored in these cases. However, it is illegal, and it could result in felony charges for perjury. As the statistic in No. 1 shows, though, many people change their stories as they go along, and not nearly this many then face perjury charges.

4. The ramifications of an accusation can last for years, or perhaps for life. This is especially true for celebrities. When people are accused in cases in which convictions aren't made - meaning these individuals have not been proven guilty of the charges - they still often face online criticism long into the future.

For instance, UFC fighter Travis Browne was accused on Instagram of assaulting his wife. He was never convicted, but his wife was a model with 100,000 people following her account, so word spread quickly. He's still attacked online by people who are convinced he's guilty.

This shows just how important it is to stick to the legal process. Allegations are not proof. The legal process must be trusted and allowed to play out. It's the only way for true justice to be served, the only way for everyone's rights to truly be protected.

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