In response to opinion commentary by professor Amos N. Guiora in The Salt Lake Tribune:
When someone is bleeding out on the street, you should call 911. Guiora, of the S.J. Quinney College of Law, believes that bystanders who are in a position to alert authorities to a crisis but opt not to do so should even be held accountable by law.
But with sexual assault, should we be required to act? In light of recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the flood of #MeToo posts on social media, Guiora says yes.
As someone who posted #MeToo, I disagree. When we bring cases like Weinstein’s into the conversation, we must put victim’s best interests first. While these atrocities are disgusting and should have been prevented, forcing bystanders to report sexual assault takes power away from victims and invites retribution.
We can and must do better. Alert authorities to sexual assault when the victim cannot protect and advocate for them. But by requiring people to do so, we take away a victim’s right to choose what happens to them and instead put a victim and a bystander in an impossible situation; the bystander may face charges if they do nothing, but the victim may face hell if they act.
Sabrina Dawson, Salt Lake City