Silence Breakers Legal Defense Fund

Silence Breakers Legal Defense Fund

This fund was initiated to help three Canadian women who are currently being sued by former university/college faculty members who have been accused of sexual assault.

I created this fund to raise money for the defendants and to raise awareness of this growing problem. These lawsuits are devastating for the individuals being sued but also contribute to the chilling of public discourse about sexual violence. Such lawsuits may deter future individuals who experience sexual violence from seeking support and/or reporting.

The defendants must rely on their social networks to help pay the costs associated with defending themselves. 

This is not just about helping individual women, these cases have the potential to set precedent regarding reports of sexual assault, specifically to post-secondary administration and public dialogue on sexual violence.

Who Your Donation Will Help

80% of the donations will be split between two other women who are being sued for defamation for reporting sexual violence by faculty members at two separate universities in Canada. Both of their identities are protected by a publication ban.

A.B. made a report of sexual harassment and sexual assault to the university she attended. The tenured faculty member was ultimately terminated from his employment, although not on the basis of a finding of sexual assault against A.B..  Following a grievance arbitration in which the faculty member withdrew his challenge to the termination, but was awarded damages for breach of his privacy for the institution’s public airing of the investigation and his termination, the faculty member sued A.B. for defamation in reporting sexual assault to the university. A.B. has filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed under the PPPA.

 Learn more:

Steven Galloway Files Defamation Lawsuit 

2019 publication ban decision 
“C”, a student, made a complaint to the college she attended that a faculty member had sexually assaulted her. The faculty member filed a lawsuit against C. He alleged that a Facebook post C made after the faculty member’s termination, in which C mentioned “standing up against sexualized assault” without naming the faculty member was, defamatory. The faculty member is seeking general, special, punitive, and aggravated damages as well as legal costs and an injunction against C. 

Learn more:

Instructor sues student 

Student denies defamation allegations 

The money raised will assist the two women with legal fees, expert reports and disbursements.

The remaining 20% of donations will help me cover the costs of being a defendant in a lawsuit. I am currently being sued by Steven Galloway for a series of Tweets I wrote about the case. I am currently putting together an application under the Protection of Public Participation Act also known as anti-SLAPP legislation to have the lawsuit against me dismissed. The money raised will assist with obtaining an expert report and disbursements.

Who I Am

I became active in anti-violence work in 2015 after I reported a sexual assault to the Toronto Police. Experiencing the injustices of the way people who experience sexual violence are treated, their concerns minimized thrusted me into wanting systemic change. I was the primary subject in Slut or Nut The Diary of a Rape Trial , a documentary film that followed me through the criminal trial. I have been involved or organized a number of fundraisers over the years including raising money for survivors involved in four different legal matters. Finally, I have published a number of academic and non-academic articles about sexual violence and systemic injustice. You can learn more about me here

I am a doctoral candidate at York University in the Department of Sociology. My dissertation examines the experiences of silence breakers who are sued by men accused of sexual violence. My study included interviews with people who have been sued in relation to breaking the silence around sexual violence and lawyers with expertise in defamation law.

Key findings from my study include:

·      The threat of a lawsuit was enough to deter people from participating in the #MeToo Movement even in broad terms such as re-posting an article about sexual violence on social media.

·      The lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit had many consequences including: significant mental distress including suicidal ideation; the loss of professional opportunities and employment; loss and breakdown of interpersonal relationships; significant financial stresses.

·      Many of the research participants who were sued or threatened with a lawsuit also faced other forms of institutional retaliation (for example, workplace investigations into their conduct).

·      Participants reported that if they experienced sexual violence again in the future they would not report out of fear of litigation.

I will defend my dissertation in 2021.

The day I submitted my dissertation proposal to my program department was the day I found out I was being sued in the National Post. My research project became personal as I saw firsthand the impact a lawsuit can have.


Mandi Gray
Toronto, ON

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