Gagged and Bound??? or Named and Shamed??

I just want to say a few words about liberty and free speech. As I have explained in some of my posts and comments, my relationship with my ex boyfriend has finished. I was going to leave it at that. Even when he destroyed or stole most ofmy possessions, I didn’t call him names, or post vitriolic or vindictive comments about him to this blog or anywhere else.

However, he told the police that I had done. Whereas he, in fact, was committing literal identity theft by going into all my email accounts and changing the passwords so I couldn’t get in, and posting offensive and potentially libellous comments about me on any public profiles that I have. He had also destroyed my PC so that I didn’t have easy access to any email facilities, whcih are limited at work.

After I received the police visit on my birthday (now would that have been planned?), and a text requesting all references to him be removed, I went through my entire blog, where he is now known as ex-boyfriend, and nothing else. The police phoned again last night, and I confirmed that this had been done, and gave them the web address should they wish to read it and confirm this, and the police confirmed that this was sufficient.

I have not been vindictive (though I could well have been considering what has happened), I could have put name, date of birth and embarrassing personal details on the web for everyone to see. But I didn’t.

I am not removing the story of what has happened though. This is part of my life, this is my experience, this is what I am going through and have been through and even according to the police this is legitimate material for my blog, should I choose to post it. It’s known as free speech and opinion, there is nothing slanderous or libellous within it, it is merely a retelling of events and the feelings associated with them.

Free speech is allowed, I am not lying or hurting anyone else, merely explaining things as they have happened to me, and all of this, luckily for the person concerned, has no link or identifying feature. All names have been changed to protect the guilty.

The police have also been told about comments on friends websites/blogs. This is a free country. The police even told me that I have no control over what other people write about this third person, that is between them and him.

And after all of this, my profiles still say (obviously I didn’t write this, because I couldn’t get in there) that they will be deleted when I have removed all offensive material. I didn’t want them deleted. They are mine, my identity, my intellectual property, and not someone else’s to delete at will.

I have not named and shamed, but neither will I be gagged and bound. Maybe the truth hurts.

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14 Responses to “Gagged and Bound??? or Named and Shamed??”

  1. Here here!!!!!!

  2. Spot on. Though as a woman with no previous convictions, I am astonished that you acceded to his text message and the police request. Have the police ordered him to put right the things he has done, from thieving and destroying your goods, and – importantly where online things are concerned, removing the defamatory material from your site pages he has blocked you from accessing by changing passwords and removing/adding text? No. So I think you have a strong case for taking this further.

    If the man’s reading this, I tell him I’ve no intention of changing anything on my blog or any comments made to your own. I’d be happy to tell the police he drove his car after drinking several bottles of wine and over half a bottle of our Bombay Sapphire gin in our home. There are witnesses to that, including yourself; similarly, you have many witnesses to the verbal abuse he doled out to you with no regard for whoever was present on those occasions.

    It’s time you took this further. The police should keep the heck out of free speech, in which you have made clear the facts and nothing but the facts of the matter. That man should have been arrested, bailed at cost, then be up in court for what he’s done to your possessions and online accounts alone; he should get several hundred hours community service cleaning latrines.

    In being armed with a toilet brush and some Vim, he could do something singularly more productive than he did when armed with his vicious and bitter nature, his petty and misogynistic drive towards revenge. No matter what he does, he has lost a community, not all of whom put up with him on sufferance; many of us tried very hard to hold onto the good, for he could, on occasions, be generous and entertaining.

    This makes me so mad to read. You’ve still got everything in your favour and a real story to tell the press. So tell it. Get on the phone come Monday; in fact, don’t wait until Monday – news desks are open at weekends, too. x

  3. By the way, sugar, your blog and mine – I can’t speak with regard to anyone else’s, I don’t know – are not hosted in the UK but elsewhere. Anybody wishing to pursue someone for posting alleged defamatory information to a website would have to seek legal action in the country where the post(s) in question were made. This means a person can indeed take you to court for anything you write but in the UK only when you’ve posted to UK-based forums and blogs. If outside the UK, they need to take it outside and in the first instance a polite email needs to be sent outlining the exact phrases and words seen to be contentious and affording the person(s) concerned the opportunity for retraction, editing and even, where relevant, public apology (I’m not saying one is warranted here, no way).

    If your ex has the money to pursue you through US courts, it makes me wonder why he had you working part-time to support not only yourself and your daughter but him as well, because to take you to court in the US would take a stack of cash he just ain’t got. And remember, any legal offence means defence – meaning the worms would come out of the can and he could lose. I think he would lose, and not only have to put right what he’s done with hard cash but pay the court fees as well. x

  4. Remember, I’m an ex-technology journalist and have followed the laws on copyright, censorship, defamation in an online context for over eleven years now. I’ve told you what to do about those sites – under these circumstances your only recourse is to email their support desks and get them taken down. They will then investigate He Who Shall Not Be Named For Fear His Dark Shame Be Exposed To The Light of Conscience and likely close his own accounts because no service provider wants someone involved in an online community who is prepared to trash the pages of an ex or anyone else. His actions towards you in a specifically online context are the antithesis of online community.

    And remember I was Senior Editor of more than one online community site, too, so I do know what I’m talking about here and that is EXACTLY the procedure I followed in cases of similar nature to your own. In fact, it was enshrined in our business practice. So use your pen, or in this case, fingers on keys – they are mightier than the sword or, in the case of your ruined clothes and possessions, the stanley knife. x

  5. Hi Honey

    Only problem in all of the above is that I cannot access their support desks, since as my PC has been trashed and I have no home internet access……..and I can’t get onto any mail site from work…….. I am going to have to do this though. it is the antithesis of online trust that someone can access my accounts, literally steal my identity, pretend to be me…..and the police are seriously uninterested. However, when the same person objects to comments written on here, they come round to see me in person. The only reason I have taken the identifiers off of my blog is because I do not want to sink to this level myself. I refuse to be dragged down into the mud.

    The fact that the police are doing nothing is also in question here. It is obviously fine in their eyes that someone wades through my life with a stanley knife and stealss not only identity but objects (the question of a Clarice Cliff vase, Indian table, shoes, bags, hats). They have no conception evidently of the time, effort and work required for me to remake my life when I came back from France with literally nothing at the age of 36. They have no ideas of the hours worked at a paltry rate of pay to save up to purchase the things destroyed in this way.

    What they don’t know (as my ex has lied about this) is that they were purchased by my hard work. Even the corsets allegedly purchased by him were in fact paid for by my paypal account, the proceeds of me selling my clothes on ebay.

    It is obviously unimportant also that I earn a 1/4 of what he does, and that therefore it will take me four times as long to replace these items. It is also evidently unimportant that his possessions escaped scot-free.

    Life is unfair, but what goes around comes around. But I can sleep easily in my bed at night, knowing that at least I have done nothing vindictive and spiteful, despite what has been done to me. That’s what matters. Also, knowing that I at least have love and friendship, which are worth more than any possessions.

  6. The PayPal/eBay information you should tell the police. Definitely. it’s proof of ownership – he can hardly say your corsets were a gift to him, after all, unless he’s happy to be seen as a transvestite or transsexual rather than the real truth be out, namely that those things belong to you have been stolen.

    You’re spot on as to what you have that he does not. The man is in a very sorry place right now in emotional, psychological and physical term having ensured his status as a social pariah is lasting and unlikely to change. For my part, it is very clear he never cared a jot for M_______ and that is perhaps most painful as your friend to realise – that sweet girl spent so many months with a man around who wasn’t interested in her welfare and only cared about himself.

    You do need to make media enquiries. You’ve already made the transition from victim to victor and now you need to get those fighting boots on. x

  7. The corsets were knifed, but he did negate the value of all these things to the police, claimed everything ruined/knifed/stolen came to less than £1000.00, when the corsets boots and computer alone come to more than twice that…………

    As you say, more hurtful that M_______ and I put our faith in someone who did not care for me at all…..and even less for M________. She is a loving child, and this love was never returned. At least she is now surrounded by love, and she knows it……..

    I am considering my possibilities…..

  8. M________ is fabulous, though we all know none of us are indestructible or ever completely shielded and it’s this fact that burns when I think what It put you both through. You’re an adult and take things as an adult; Morgane wants only love and nice people around her, and anything else is going to be remembered and potentially damaging. That said, she is, as you say, surrounded by loving, decent people and has her mother’s intelligence to help her. The child has an ability to reason far beyond her peers; indeed, she’s cleverer at 7 than It ever was. x

  9. M________ is wonderful, and as you say, appears to have amazingly well-developed intuitive intelligence, but she’s not untouchable, nor is she immune to what goes on around her. In fact she probably suffers more by understanding it. All I can hope is that my love and the love of my friends and family will carry her through this relatively unscathed……

  10. Andy, what you have to say on the legalities of ‘naming and shaming’ is interesting. My ex has recently reported me to the police for ‘harassment’. He claims I have posted details on a website, back in 2005. The police threatened to arrest me, finally arranging interview under a ‘warning + section something or another’ Solicitor felt not a police matter but civil, we completed a prepared statement, but police still insisted on interviewing. They are still carrying out investigations!! Is this usual, and what is my position in proving/disproving I had anything to do with this? :em49: Your advice/knowledge most useful, regards. AJ

  11. AJ, I can’t link back to a site for you- Andy is to be found at http://www.spicycauldron.com, and he will be much more useful than me. The police thankfully laughed his complaints against me off, especially when I offered to print out what he had written and effectively sealed about me. It’s very hard to prove. the other thing I did was anonymise them, he became HWCBN, he who cannot be named…..

  12. You don’t have to prove you didn’t write it – the burden of proof is on the accuser and the police, to prove you DID write it.

    If someone posts a message as you they can include your email address and even highly personal information to yourself and your ex-partner but that is NOT proof you posted the comment.

    It is very hard to prove unless you owned the site in question and had sole access to its files/database. I would say if you didn’t write it, stick to your guns – there’s nothing anyone can do against you, and in fact you are able to counter-claim for harassment and vindictive behaviour, even potentially libel. But I’m not a solicitor and you need one to advise.

    Put simply, though, if someone accuses you of posting material online that is defamatory they had better be able to conclusively prove it. If they can’t then YOU are in the stronger position to claim defamation, not they.

    Don’t worry. Unless you did write something and you think it can be proved in some way. But as I say, that’s only possible under very limited circumstances.

    Bear in mind the police are often woefully ignorant of the Internet and how it works, so they arbitrarily choose to either chase or fail to act on such complaints. In your case, they seem willing to go on a wild goose chase if they don’t have proof and they can’t go to court, or caution, without it. They can interview you, but they can’t detain you unless you made threats of violence and, again, it can be proved they came from you.

    Were you to confess, irrespective of guilt or not, you’d make the process easier for them. But even then they’d need to confirm your confession to the court by providing proof, otherwise it could be said you confessed under pressure or because of mental illness, or some such.

    I hope that helps.

  13. Oh thank you so much for your responses. The solicitor, like yourselves, said they would have to prove it, but feels the accuser just wants to make life difficult for me – arranging childcare, going to police station in city, demanding police contact my work to ‘interrogate the PC network’ etc. So what you say about making a counter claim is very interesting. Thank you both, I’ll keep you updated.
    :em43:

  14. Please do….it poses interesting questions for everyone about what can and cannot be said, and freedom of speech…my ex did all sorts of vile things like locking me out of all emails, slashing me clothes, and spreading a lot of rumours….but I’m fine now, thanks to the support of friends, both ‘real’ ones and ‘cyber’ friends…

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