A Guide to Defamation for Survivors of Sexual Assault or Harassment

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September 5, 2023


The #MeToo movement that rose to prominence in 2017 encouraged many sexual harassment and sexual assault survivors to speak up and share their stories, many for the first time. This rise in survivors publicly voicing their experiences was met by a spike in defamation lawsuits filed both by abusers trying to further silence their victims and by survivors fighting back against harmful claims spread by their abusers in retaliation for sharing their stories.


All survivors deserve to decide whether and how they share their experiences and should not be further abused for doing so. We created this resource to provide survivors who are speaking out about—or contemplating whether to share—their experiences with a better understanding of defamation law. It includes a plain language breakdown of the main principles of defamation law and a guide to the defamation statutes in each state. It does not constitute, and is not a substitute for, legal advice by an attorney well-versed in defamation law and licensed to practice in your state.


  • Fairness in the Courts
  • Violence Against Women and Girls


•Jennifer Becker •Kyra Batté •Cassie Walter


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