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Activist toolkit

Dealing with false allegations

If you hear someone saying mean and biased things, a good way to deal with it is to call it out with some good questions on the spot.

But sometimes doing this leads to people saying untrue things about you.

So what do you do with this?

1. Don’t get sucked into negativity.
Telling yourself your life is ruined will only make you more stressed. Acknowledge natural guilty feelings. Even if you are innocent, you may will experience feelings of guilt. When someone points a finger at you, some parts of you may feel that you must have done something wrong to deserve such negative treatment. This is totally normal but also irrational.

2. Find support in others
Your friends and family know you better than anyone else and will trust in you. They will share their positive feelings about you with others. If you have a trusted grownup – like a parent, friend, teacher or employer – then talk to them about it. The best way to protect your mental health and self-esteem is to get support. (You can still Stand Up to your Grownup later, but supportive grownups are good when you have to Stand Up to Nasty People).

3. Don’t buy into the hate
Your friends will probably want to pile in to defend you. It’s not worth it.

Do not interact on social media. It is so easy to say mean things on social media.Vivienne Gstrein

4. If you can’t ignore it, remember your legal rights
Most countries have laws against defamation, which means publishing untrue things about someone to damage their reputation. Under Australian laws, defamation includes any form of public speech or publication, including social media. In some states and territories, maliciously defaming someone is a crime.

You could use this:

Publishing false material to harm someone’s reputation is illegal under the Defamation Act 2001. Malicious publication of defamatory information is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment. You have 14 days to remove this post and post the following apology: “I apologise unreservedly for posting fake screenshots attributing racist and anti-semitic comments to Zari. She has never made such comments. I will never fake defamatory statements about anyone again.” If you do not remove your post and post this apology by (two weeks from the date of the post), further legal action will be taken.

If it doesn’t work, then public schools recommend that you go to the police.

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