Liar Lawsuits: Defamation Law and Sexual Violence in Canada
In 2019, two separate anti-violence groups intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada to argue that there was a noted rise in the use of defamation law by men accused of sexual violence. The groups urged the Court to consider ensuring that those who report sexual violence are better protected from such retaliatory lawsuits. Drawing together empirical research with interdisciplinary sources, I ask: Why is defamation law such a useful legal tool to silence sexual violence discourse? And what are the societal and individual implications of defamation lawsuits initiated following a disclosure or reporting of sexual violence? This talk provides an overview of a four-year research study examining these lawsuits.