If Oprah's Lying About Being Sexually Abused As A Child, Who Else Might Be?

I want to be clear at the outset, I have no idea whether Oprah is lying about being sexually abused as a child or not. I have no way of knowing.

It has been alleged by her cousin, however, that she made the story up, as well as the story about growing up amongst filth, in order to help advance her career. Indeed, one could argue that Oprah's life-narrative of abuse and deprivation was essential in catapulting her to stardom and beyond.

Her cousin claims that, when asked why she had lied, Oprah replied "because that's what people want to hear" and that the abuse story "helped make me what I am today.''

But of course, I really don't know if she was abused or not. And I cannot know, since we only have Oprah's words asserting that she was abused and her cousin's words saying that she's a liar.

And that's just my point: hundreds of thousands of individuals, the great majority of them men, have been tried and convicted in this country for sexual abuse of children on the basis of their accuser's testimony and nothing else.

And often, the child accusers have themselves been arm-twisted into giving incriminating testimony by others, usually the police and prosecution team or even, perhaps, by one of their own parents.

Few people realize just how little evidence is needed to successfully convict someone of child sexual abuse.

After the Michael Jackson trial ended in an acquittal, many journalists, who should have known better, attributed his success in beating the conviction to "a lack of evidence.''

Actually, no. They're wrong. The evidence presented at his trial would have been plenty to convict him had he not had a defense "dream-team" and an adoring fan base who would have been scandalized to discover that it is really very easy to be convicted of sexual abuse in America.

Virtually everyone else of less-than god-like fame and fortune would be languishing in prison today with little hope of getting out within their lifetimes had they faced identical charges supported by identical victim testimony.

All it takes are words, painstakingly extracted from a kid on the stand, to convict. Testimony resulting from days of coercive coaching, cajoling and arm-twisting send men to prison in this country, in this day and age, for the rest of their lives. And it forever brands and marginalizes them should they ever be so lucky as to get out.

Let that truth sink in.

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