Publication Date

Fall 2020


The #MeToo movement encouraged a collective public sharing of abuse and harassment, with some survivors identifying the individuals that caused them harm. Where accusations increased, defamation lawsuits quickly followed, raising questions about how survivors can share their stories and remain protected legally from the person or institution that harmed them. In anticipation of these claims, this article offers a roadmap for survivors and their advocates to consider when assessing the risk of a lawsuit or in preparation of their defense. It examines past and present defamation claims against gender-based violence survivors to assess the viability of their legal strategies for future defendants faced with an impending defamation lawsuit after they have disclosed their experience of abuse. The conclusion of this article concentrates on the anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation defense as they protect the defendant’s right of free speech when it is connected to a public issue. Equipped with legal tools and strategies to defend against defamation claims, survivors can share their experiences of abuse with greater confidence and without the pervasive threat of frivolous litigation, which they so desperately deserve.

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