Friday, November 6, 2009

Legal question?

If anyone has an answer to this, please leave a comment or email me-- I would be much obliged!

Are there liability issues surrounding telling your story? When I was told by an officer of my fraternity not to speak about my rape outside of the house, he later claimed he was doing so in the interest of the house not being sued. (Never mind that that's a load of crap, because after telling me to keep quiet, he continued on to say that if I talked to other people and word got out, our reputation would be ruined and people wouldn't want to come by the house any more and that would be my fault. Anyway.)

What are the legal issues surrounding this? I imagine that verbally telling your story to a friend is fairly safe, but what about writing it down? I am planning to work on spreading this blog, especially on campus*, and so I would like to know if any issues may arise. I will not name specific names, but I do make allusions to real people, places, and events. I chose not to pursue my case through criminal court, so I don't have anything to back up what I say as fact. I spoke to a friend on Wednesday, and he advised me to put a disclaimer on my blog that says that everything here is my opinion or an account of my experiences as I understand them, which clarifies that this is speech and nothing claiming to be fact, which therefore protects me from accusations of libel.

* I love my campus, but people really need to stop turning away and pretending that rape only happens somewhere else to other people. It does happen here, and I will publicly identify myself as a survivor to try to get people to stop denying the problems we have on campus.

Have I covered my bases?

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