How to Defend Yourself against Fake Sexual Harassment Complaints?
With the rise of the #MeToo movement, many cases of sexual harassment have come in the light. While a small number of these cases are investigated, almost all of them are deemed true. The due process is hardly awaited before a person is proven guilty of the charges accused of. This leads to a series of reactions the accused are subjected to. Since many of these assaults are disclosed years after the incident happens, there is rarely any chance of the accusations to be proved true.
Many of us assume that no person will press such serious charges without any truth to it which is why there has certainly been a rise in false allegations of sexual assault. Research suggests that only 4-6% of the filed charges are false. This leads to the common notion of the public that untrue reporting is common and it happens indefinitely.
Sexual harassment is a serious crime and can permanently damage one’s public image and private lives instantly. So when it’s untrue, it can shatter one’s life completely. So how do you defend yourself when falsely accused of sexual assault? While your initial reactions will be to deny the accusations, the best way is to keep your cool and plan your actions in a calm manner. The more agitated you react, the more are people less inclined to believe you.
- Stay Calm: As a human, it’s normal to be angry. Frustration will be your first reaction. Control your emotions from spurting out. Stay cool and think of what the accuser has said. Think if there is any truth in their words. As per the Indian Penal Code, unwanted remarks, gestures or even taking pictures without a woman’s permission is deemed a criminal offence. Think hard if you have done any such thing. Restrain from reacting in a bad or unprofessional manner, as this will lower your chances of winning the case.
- Get A Lawyer: While your first idea will be to vehemently deny the charges because you didn’t do anything wrong and eventually it will be proved, we suggest you to not do that. Sexual harassment is a heinous crime, one that is taken very seriously. If you know there’s going to be police and investigators, it’s best to talk to a lawyer before saying anything at all to the police.
- Tell the Truth as It Is: Don’t try to play your own defense. Let the attorney handle that. Be honest and tell everything as it is. The best way to do that would be to sit down and remember every interaction you have had with the accused. Recall the conversations, actions and gestures you exchanged. Write all of them down on a paper. If there’s anything objectionable at all, discuss it with your lawyer so you can build yourself a solid case.
- Cooperate: By all means, cooperate with the ongoing investigation. Answer the questions (after consulting with your lawyer), help them as much as you can, prepare a list of witnesses/alibis that can account for your innocence when called for. Be normal. Your natural instinct will be hold your guard and be in the way of the investigation. Don’t! When your behavior changes, people notice. These may be used against you. Keep the same attitude with your coworkers so they can see you are confident and will support your alibi when required.
Understand that these investigations can take long. Don’t be relaxed because you did nothing wrong. It is a lot harder than that. No matter you are guilty or not, you will still need to build yourself a solid case to prove your innocence. Your best bet is to keep calm and wait for the investigation for the ordeal to end.