She said #MeToo. Now she’s being sued.

by Good Law Project

She said #MeToo. Now she’s being sued.

by Good Law Project
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Twelve years ago Nina Cresswell was sexually assaulted whilst walking home after a night out. At 6am the next morning she reported the matter to the police who interviewed her at home and quickly closed the investigation. They recorded that no crime had been committed.

Ten years later, when the MeToo movement emboldened women to tell their stories, Nina told hers. She had felt guilty about not having warned other women about him in 2010 and wanted to warn them now. In 2020 she told the story of her sexual assault on (an anonymous blogging site) and sent it privately to a few friends. The man who had assaulted her had a job which meant he came into frequent contact with women and so she sent her blog post to the owner of the man’s workplace. When it became clear nothing would happen, she told the story on social media. 

Days later she received a letter from his lawyers threatening to sue her for libel and claiming: “Our client has met you once in his life. You danced and chatted in groups but that was all that happened between you. Your account of what supposedly happened on your way home is neither credible nor true”. And he sued. In his formal arguments he now admits being with Nina alone but continues to maintain she has made up the assault.

Nina’s story is a double tragedy. Being sued for telling her story scores wound upon wound. 

Good Law Project hears, not infrequently, from women like Nina who cannot defend themselves from physical assault by a man and, then, because they lack the money to pay for lawyers, cannot defend themselves from further legal assault. We touched on this problem in March 2021 and now we want to act, to try and redress the balance, to help Nina make her case. And to help other women like her. 

The criminal justice system fails to deter rape and sexual violence. It betrays victims and it betrays those who will become victims because men remain free to offend. Bringing civil claims against rapists is often difficult - for the same reason that defending defamation cases is difficult - because there is often a basic conflict of evidence. But women must be able to speak out to protect others from harm.

We believe Nina - we believe she has a good defence of truth. And there is some corroborating evidence. But, if she cannot prove that she was assaulted, we believe it is important to try and establish a public interest defence for women who speak out, responsibly and reasonably, about a rape or sexual assault. If she loses on truth, this case will help establish when victims can rely on a public interest defence.

So far we have spent £8,583 of our own funds getting legal advice for her.

Defending her in court will cost a further £50,000, instructing Bindmans LLP and Jonathan Price, both acting at heavily reduced rates. Her case will start on 10 November. The man who assaulted her will have legal representation. 

Ten percent of the sums raised will go to Good Law Project, so we can continue to use the law for a better world including by assisting women like Nina. Our independent law firm, Good Law Practice, has just employed a solicitor to do work like this. If we raise more than the case costs we will use the surplus to support our other efforts to end violence against women and girls. 

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