Rolling Stone: Alleged Rapists Are Suing Their Accusers. A New California Law Aims to Deter That

September 20. 2023

ERA Policy Director & Deputy Legal Director Jessica Ramey Stender is quoted in a Rolling Stone article about ERA-sponsored California bill AB 933, which would protect survivors of sexual misconduct from retaliator defamation lawsuits:

“Across the board, we’re seeing this really troubling trend of the person who harmed the survivor filing completely baseless and retaliatory defamation claims with the clear intent to silence them,” Jessica Stender, policy director at Equal Rights Advocates, a non-profit group that co-sponsored the bill, tells Rolling Stone.

Stender says regardless of how valid the defamation claim is, the suits can have a “chilling effect” among sexual assault survivors, especially in cases where the person they accuse has more money, power and resources to pursue litigation. “In a situation of sexual harassment or sexual assault, you’re often already dealing with a power imbalance between the harmer and the survivor,” Stender says. “The survivor often doesn’t have the resources to find a lawyer or engage in expensive litigation. Although the survivor might ultimately prevail, it often takes years of extended and possibly re-traumatizing legal proceedings to actually win.”

“We are hopeful that the strengthening of our defamation law will help to deter predators from even bringing these weaponized defamation claims in the first place,” Stender says, adding that she hopes to see similar legislation arise in other states across the country. “The bill makes it crystal clear that when a survivor is speaking about their experience of harassment or assault, that is protected speech.”

Read the article.

Stay Connected & Take Action

Legal Advice & Resources / Consejos y Recursos legales

Know Your Rights

Learn what your rights are so you can navigate your situation and make the best decision for you.

Your Rights at Work
Your Rights at School

Contact Us

We may be able to provide free legal help for the following issues at California schools: gender and LGBTQI+ discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

Apply for Legal Help

Learn More

We have trained legal advocates and lawyers on staff to guide you through your legal issue.

Conozca Sus Derechos

Aprende sus derechos para que puedas navegar su situación y tomar la mejor decisión para ti.

Sus Derechos en el Trabajo


Posible que podamos proveer ayuda legal por gratis por los siguientes problemas en el trabajo o la escuela: discriminación basado en el género o por LGBTQI+, acoso sexual, asalto sexual, y discriminación basado en el embarazo o por ser padre/madre.


Nuestro servicio de asesoramiento por teléfono está cerrado por ahora

En este momento, no estamos recibiendo solicitudes dejadas por un recado de teléfono. Sin embargo, usted puede someter una solicitud para una consulta por la manera de hacer clic en el links "Empleo" o "Educación."