Today I found that one of the cruelest and sneakiest of crimes has hit my family right in the gut. I am talking about a combination of cyber-bullying and libel. A false accusation, launched by two diagnosed sociopaths, has temporarily tarnished the reputation of an extremely honorable person. This incident is particularly cruel as the behavior wrongly attributed to my family member has now been distorted through numerous twitters and tumblr posts beyond the original (wrongful) accusation (a less serious act – both emotionally and legally).
This greater crime is something that at least four of my family members have endured in our own lives, including the family member falsely accused, and myself. That this experience is severely “triggering” is an understatement.
The people making the libelous accusations are two diagnosed sociopaths who have burned bridges in every community they’ve ever inhabited. In certain circles and various communities, they have become well-known for all kinds of reprehensible actions and for dishing out all kinds of abuse. They routinely carry knives and use them on each other in their own cycle of domestic violence. They are abusive to others. They threaten bodily harm, and even death, to other humans – even cats! They have been known to trash apartments where they’ve been allowed to stay, and at least one person I know has the pictures to prove it. And they have played immensely vicious cyberbully pranks which are well documented, with links viewable on line. Other people are finally posting about these people, and sharing their stories, and this provides some relief… however… these people sticking up for my family member are now branded “apologists.”
Though actions speak louder than words, and form the most reliable way to gauge a person’s behavior, there is no defense against being wrongly accused of anything and everything. My young relative has a track record of good work, activism, and also admitting mistakes when they’ve been made. The law is no help at this point. Though libel laws do exist, they take time to implement. Meanwhile, people who wish to destroy another person’s reputation can do it quickly and easily, and the falsehoods can multiply, increase in venom, and circulate the globe with every twitter and post.
I feel helpless. I know the truth will out – but in the meantime, this is excruciating and there is no relief from the suffering.
The following is an excerpt from http://journalism.about.com/od/ethicsprofessionalism/a/libel.htm
<<What Is Libel?
Libel is published defamation of character, as opposed to spoken defamation of character, which is slander.
Exposes a person to hatred, shame, disgrace, contempt or ridicule.
Injures a person’s reputation or causes the person to be shunned or avoided.
Injures the person in his or her occupation.
Examples might include accusing someone of having committed a heinous crime, or of having a disease that might cause them to be shunned.
Two other important points:
Libel is by definition false. Anything that is provably true cannot be libelous.
“Published” in this context simply means that the libelous statement is communicated to someone other than the person being libeled. That can mean anything from an article that’s photocopied and distributed to just a few people to a story that appears in a newspaper with millions of subscribers.>>