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#439142 - 06/25/13 02:39 AM Legal Questions
Tarobuns108 Offline

Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 21
Loc: NJ, USA
Over the course of some months, I've come a long way in my recovery and I am confident that I will continue on this road to a better state of normal.

I recently graduated from a creative writing MFA program and I have been considering writing a memoir about my experiences with adult sexual assault. I feel a book can bring something positive for other people out of a negative experience I was forced to endure, by showing other men they are not alone in sexual victimization. However, I am curious about the legality of writing such a memoir. If there are any attorneys, memoirists, or people familiar with the law in America, then I'd appreciate your assistance.

The first major question is: can I be sued for naming my attacker in a publication? The assault was never reported. Should I write the memoir, what protections should I take to avoid legal problems from my attacker in the future? Is it as simple as giving my attacker a fictional name?

I appreciate any advice you can provide.
"Don't be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you've been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?" Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Book 7:7

#439156 - 06/25/13 11:44 AM Re: Legal Questions [Re: Tarobuns108]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1248
You should avoid identifying any person by name who has not been convicted of the crime in question. To do so would open yourself up to a libel/defamation suit. Any reputable publisher (print or digital) would require the use of pseudonyms---and other precautions as dictated by their legal department.

Writing is cathartic----good luck!

I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before


#439191 - 06/25/13 06:40 PM Re: Legal Questions [Re: Tarobuns108]
bodyguard8367 Offline

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""

Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 09:49 PM)

#439192 - 06/25/13 06:54 PM ! [Re: Tarobuns108]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline

Registered: 03/26/12
Posts: 2217

Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (03/01/14 12:58 AM)

#439214 - 06/26/13 01:46 AM Re: Legal Questions [Re: Tarobuns108]
Castle Offline

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 758
please go talk to a real lawyer... that way you are protected.

Anybody can sure anybody for anything... it usually comes down to who had more money money.

You're always protected by the truth but proving that truth in a court of law isn't always easy or possible in a he said he said situation as well as statues of limitations.

If your serious about publishing you must talk to a real lawyer... If your writing for you go for it.

As said above you can change the name and still get the feel.

good luck.


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