"I have zero tolerance for sexual assault, but there's got to be a ramification for destroying someone's life.Sometimes the only way to remedy the harm done in these cases is to sue the accuser." After she was sued, Jane turned to Washington University for help with her legal defense, reasoning that the lawsuit was the direct result of her using the school’s Title IX process.Outside of academia, Hollywood producer Brett Ratner, who has been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by more than a half a dozen women, is suing one for libel over a Facebook post she wrote accusing him of rape.
Eleven months earlier, in January 2016, the woman known as Jane Doe in court papers had told the school that her then-husband, identified as John Doe, had raped her on Dec.17, 2015, while they both were students at Washington University. Within a few months, the university found John, a law student at the time of the reported rape, in violation of campus sexual assault policies.Since he’d already completed classes, the university put his law degree on hold for two years.Jane thought this ugly chapter of her life was over, until that day in December 2016 when the stranger approached.Once she identified herself, the stranger quickly handed her an envelope before disappearing.
Inside, there was some unsettling news: her ex-husband was suing her for defamation.He said it has become almost reflexive for accused students found in violation of a college's sexual assault policy to sue their school, which used to be rare.It's difficult to track how many defamation lawsuits arising from campus sexual assault cases are filed nationwide, but lawyers and victim advocates provided numbers that point to a clear uptick.Now, John was blaming her for his loss of a job at a law firm and demanding that she pay damages for having hurt his reputation, his career prospects, and his physical and emotional well-being."I thought I was done suffering at the hand of this person," Jane, 27, told Buzz Feed News. All of a sudden I'm being sued."Victims of sexual harassment and assault are saying "Me Too" as the country goes through a culture shift following revelations about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other major celebrities accused of everything from crude comments to rape.On college campuses, that shift has been playing out for years, due in part to student activism and to increased attention to campus sexual violence from the Obama administration.Since last year, though, Dunn estimates five students have called asking for her help.