A fundamental principle within criminal law is the presumption of innocence; that is, regardless of the accusation, one is considered innocent until proven guilty.
What this tells us is that the burden of proof falls not on the accused, but on the accuser. It is a vital component of fair law and a fair society. If accusations were equal to convictions in lieu of evidence, and the burden of proof fell the opposite way-- well, logic warns us against trying to prove a negative. So, we'd have a lot of innocent people behind bars.
The recent scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein seems to have started a firestorm that follows a disturbing trend. An accusation of sexual assault/harassment is made to the media. The media prints the story, regardless of evidence, and rarely seeks a counter statement from the accused, beforehand. Within 24 hours, the alleged sexual assault/harassment is deemed factual in the court of public opinion, and the social penal system deals out pseudo justice in the form of ruined careers and public shaming.
Now, I'm not defending sexual offenders; however, in many of the cases, the acts themselves are open to interpretation as to whether or not they qualify as sexual assault/harassment, and the evidence to support them is almost exclusively anecdotal. When we live in a culture that purports to say all victims of sexual crimes have an immediate right to be believed, we're doing away with the fundamental, established principle of presumption of innocence-- and the repercussions to society are harmful.
Human sensitivity is vital to living in a fair and compassionate society, and a right to be believed absolutely extends to an alleged victims family and loved ones-- who have no bearing on proceedings against the accused.
However, as a public, we have to weigh sensitivity against intellectualism. Otherwise, we sink to recklessness and chaos amongst the ranks. If you bring a case of sexual assault against a specific individual to the court of public opinion, then we, the people, as well as the employer, friends and family of the individual in question are entitled to proof-- and, in its absence, entitled to disbelief.