One of the reasons many sexual assault survivors don’t come forward is because doing so involves telling a traumatic story over and over again, so most of them figure they have a better chance of being able to move on with their lives if they just don’t say anything about it. However, sometimes the men are in fact falsely accused and this also has a traumatic and life-altering impact on them. These two factors are now causing more libel suits to be filed by male students who allege that they have falsely accused as a way to restore their reputations and good name.
The filing of such suits does have an impact on women coming forward to report sexual harassment and rape. Women who do come forward often have to endure threats, harassment, and people showing more compassion for their assailant than for them, since his life has allegedly been ruined by her accusations. Now men and women are finding that they have to face another layer in campus sexual assault claims — a libel suit.
Lately, experts and those working in education say they have seen a significant rise in the number of defamation lawsuits that have been filed over the past couple of years. Many of these lawsuits are filed by alleged assailants who claim they were the ones victimized by biased disciplinary panels that did not give them a fair hearing, and that their educations and careers were ruined as a result. While it used to be rare for students to sue their own school, experts say it is now becoming almost reflexive for those accused of sexual harassment or assault to sue their school as a result of those accusations.
This means that the survivors of sexual assault who do speak out (and manage to gain a favorable ruling) are now finding that they have to go over those traumatic events yet again after they had thought they were done with the whole ordeal.
It should come as no surprise that the increasing number of vocal survivors getting sued for libel is having the effect of silencing many other survivors. However, it also provides a means for a man falsely accused to defend himself and restore his reputation.
Regardless of whether accusers were telling the truth or the man was falsely accused, defending or prosecuting a libel suit comes at a high cost to both parties. In many cases, just the threat of a defamation lawsuit is enough to keep a survivor from going forward with their accusations. One lawyer said they’ve heard other lawyers talk about it as a strategy, even if they don’t end up following through on the threat.
Libel suits are also a way if properly handled to determine whether the allegations are in fact true and to do justice.
Filing a libel suit can come at a high cost to a man who was not truly falsely accused, sexual assault survivors facing defamation lawsuits can countersue for assault and battery. There are no guarantees for either side. Women students being sued for libel may be able to take advantage of their families’ homeowners insurance which may provide the cost of defending the suit.
Our Chicago Defamation Slander and Libel Lawyers prosecute and defend cases involving accusations of sexual misconduct or harassment. Our Chicago internet libel lawyers represent and prosecute claims on behalf of businesses throughout the Chicago area including in Evanston, Wheaton, Lake Forest and Elmhurst who have been unfairly and falsely criticized by consumers and competitors in defamatory publications in the online and offline media. We have successfully represented businesses who have been the victim of competitors setting up false rating sites and pretend consumer rating sites that are simply forums to falsely bash or business clients. We have also represented and defended consumers First Amendment and free speech rights to criticize businesses who are guilty of consumer fraud and false advertising.
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Lubin Austermuehle’s Lake County defamation and slander lawyers near Winnetka and Glenview have more than three decades of experience helping business clients unravel the complexities of Illinois and out-of-state business laws. Our Chicago business, commercial, class-action, and consumer litigation lawyers represent individuals, family businesses and enterprises of all sizes in a variety of legal disputes, including disputes among partners and shareholders as well as lawsuits between businesses and consumer rights, auto fraud, and wage claim individual and class action cases. In every case, our goal is to resolve disputes as quickly and successfully as possible, helping business clients protect their investments and get back to business as usual. From offices in Chicago, Elmhurst, and Wilmette, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest. You can contact us online here or call us on our locally at 630-333-0333.