MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some local experts say the lawsuit filed by Memphis native Britney Taylor against NFL player Antonio Brown can change the way the public perceives sexual assault.
They said that a victim who has the courage to attach her name and reputation to this kind of lawsuit can help inspire other victims to feel heard and supported.
In a statement from her legal team, Taylor said she feels strength, in part, from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.
"More and more women stand and say, 'Me too, this happened to me too,'" said Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women’s Council. "Others who then are hurt will know that they can stand up.”
Sandy Bromley, director of the Shelby County Crisis Center, agreed.
"When they see other victims stepping forward they feel like, 'I’m not alone, this has happened to other people.'" she said. "And it’s really up to each victim to decide for themselves if they want to come forward and decide if they want to be open about it.”
Brown’s legal team released a statement that denies all allegations, while admitting that Brown and Taylor did share a consensual relationship. It also discusses Brown’s deal up to $68 million that he signed in 2017, and an alleged request that Taylor made for money.
While experts could not comment directly on this specific lawsuit, they say the percent of accusers that are flat-out lying is extremely low.
"What we know is only about 4% of all reports are false reports," Bromley said. "That’s a really tiny number, four out of 100. Let’s go ahead and weigh on the side of believing everybody first and then letting the investigation play out.”
As the legal system plays out, victim advocates ask that the court of public opinion allows the real court system to do its job, and have the depth to understand both sides of the situation.
"We need to keep on making ourselves more able to believe people that stand up and seek help, at the same time that we work hard to make all the systems that should work be as strong and valid as they can be,” Clubb said.
Numbers to know:
Shelby County Crime Victim Rape Crisis Center 24 Hour Hotline: 901-222-4350
Family Safety Center Hotline: 901-222-4400