Hillary Clinton ✔ @HillaryClinton
Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported. http://hrc.io/SexualAssault
2:09 AM - 23 Nov 2015
This is evidence that human intelligence will be buried because it has created it's own grave digger -- Twitter. I will attempt a close reading of the tweet. I think it is generally miss-interpreted.
The widespread interpretation (sorry no links) is that everyone who claims to be a survivor or sexual assault deserves to be believed. This would be a crazy proposal. Without qualification that means deserves to be believed by police, prosecutors and jurors. This would give each of us the power to send each of us to prison for years whenever we pleased.
But that isn't what Clinton wrote. "survivor" is not the same as "person who claims to be a survivor". Taken literally, Clinton said that people who tell the truth deserve to be believed. This is a truism. It does not imply that it is humanly possible to provide every truth teller with the belief he or she deserves. We may honestly not know that a true claim is true.
Total literalism makes the statement a truism. The widespread intepretation which goes beyond the dictionay definitions of words makes it an insane proposal.
I think the literal interpretation is more plausible. It would make no sense to tweet "Everyone who accurately claims to be a survivor of sexual assault deserves to be believed" since that goes without saying. It would make sense to write "Everyone who accurately claims to be a survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported," because the support doesn't automatically and effortlessly follow from the belief.
I actually think that Clinton was presenting a goal knowing it can't be fully achieved. There is no way to believe every accurate claim of assault and disbelieve every inaccurate claim. We cant always know.