We're sorry it's been so long since we've posted an update! Over the winter all of us suffered intensely with our mental health and burnt out hard after more than a year of fighting this case and coping with the uncertainty of what might happen. It's been difficult to focus on the other aspects of our lives like our music, work or studies, and we are angry as well as exhausted b...Read More >>
WOMEN FACING DEFAMATION CASE
We are a group of women who are fighting a claim of defamation made against us by a well-known musician (hereon referred to as A). We refuse to be silenced and we need your solidarity to fight this case. Read on to find out more.
Who are we?
Our group includes one of A's ex-girlfriends, one of several of his former partners who are facing a libel claim, and feminist musicians who spoke out in support of these women. Legal papers have been served against all of us. By coming together as a group, we have managed to personally fund our legal defence through the various stages up until the claim was finally served against us in court on 2 August 2017. Not only has this lengthy process been very expensive, there has also been tremendous emotional and psychological impact. Most of us have suffered severely with our mental health as a result, but we refuse to give up.
This is why we are reaching out to you for support. We risk losing everything and potentially bankrupting ourselves in the process. If you help us, we can continue with proper legal representation which will give us a strong chance of winning this case.
In 2016 we each independently made a number of public statements about A's behaviour towards women. This was in protest against unacceptable behaviour in the music community, a cause we all speak about regularly, and to promote safety. Soon afterwards, we received letters from A's solicitor and came together as a group in order to support each other.
The nature of this legal battle means that we are already limited in what we can share with you, and we would encourage our supporters not to publish anything more than is in this statement for the time being.
What is defamation and why are we being accused of it?
A defamation claim is a claim brought in a civil court for compensation for publications which are said to cause serious harm to someone’s reputation. We will be defending our statements as we believe they were in the public interest. We are represented by Bindmans LLP - a well established legal firm with expertise in defamation claims.
What are A's demands?
A week before Christmas we received the first correspondence from his solicitor where we were advised to find legal representation and ordered to comply with a series of demands by 4 January 2017 (over the holiday period), including demands for compensation, legal costs, removal of our statements, apologies, and agreement not to repeat these allegations, or similar ones, even when they concerned our own experiences.
Why can't we get legal aid?
Sadly there is no legal aid for defamation cases.
Why do we need so much money?
Our initial target of £9,000 will contribute towards the cost of drafting our defences: the stretch target would cover our legal costs for the next stages of our defence.
Why don't we just give up?
We cannot agree to these terms and do not want our case to set a precedent for silencing marginalised voices in the music industry and beyond. We need to keep fighting even though we do not have the same power, fame or financial backing as A, as we do not believe that money should be a barrier to accessing justice. We refuse to be silenced and we believe we must pursue justice.
Please help us and support if you are able.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to set up a benefit for us or have any questions.
We're sorry it's been so long since we've posted an update! Over the winter all of us suffered intensely with our mental health and burnt out hard after more than a year of fighting this case and coping with the uncertainty of what might happen. It's been difficult to focus on the other aspects of our lives like our music, work or studies, and we are angry as well as exhausted by how much time and energy this case has taken from us.
But your incredible contributions towards our legal costs have given us so much hope! Thank you so much for all of your personal contributions, and for all of the benefit gigs in the UK and beyond! Thank you the people who've put a jar on the bar at their local venue or on their own merch table at gigs - it is so empowering to receive this practical support from a music community that is truly active about its values of fairness and solidarity. Thank you to the feminist societies and other groups from universities that have raised money for us. Thank you to the artists that have sent us proceeds from their creative work. Thank you to the people that sent us money even when they don't have very much themselves. We appreciate every single contribution made. This money has enabled our lawyers to put together strong defences for us, which are in the process of being finalised. And your support - your messages, comments, shares and tweets - have given us so much strength.
Unfortunately we are only at an early stage in the defamation proceedings. There is a long and terrifyingly expensive road ahead for us. None of us feel very comfortable about asking for money, but we need to keep raising funds in order to retain our legal representation, which is what gives us a strong chance of winning the case, and therefore a strong chance of not being silenced and financially ruined. We are working on coming up with new and creative ways to raise the money and we welcome any ideas, advice, help spreading the word and of course, further contributions. We will keep fighting! We will not be silenced.
The Solidarity Not Silence Girls
It dawned on us yesterday morning that it was exactly one year ago when we first received legal letters from A. In them, we were ordered to comply with his list of demands and seek legal representation - within 14 working days (by 4th January).
Just over a week before Christmas, whilst most legal firms were getting ready to close up for the year, we had to secure representation (which takes several stages before they even agree to take on the case) and have them draft a response back to him within this deadline. It was unbearably stressful. We don’t know how we did it, but we did.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year that we’ve been going through this, and in all honesty some of us have come very close to not making it this far. We are so grateful that after making the very risky decision to publicly crowdfund, we were able to raise enough funds to begin drafting our defences.
Equally though, we have felt such support since going public it reaffirmed our reasons for continuing this fight, for feeling we had no choice but to continue. This fight, this war, is far from over. There are potentially many, many more (costly) stages after defences have been drafted, but we are hopeful that with everyone’s continued support, after we have done absolutely everything within our power, we will get justice, once and for all.
Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity.
The Solidarity Not Silence Girls
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