There's no easy way to weather Title IX accusations. However, when the accusations are patently false, when you did nothing whatsoever to deserve the scrutiny you're under, when you didn't even know that disciplinary measures were coming or why people were starting to look at you with scorn—that can be a lot to deal with.
So much so that even if your Title IX accusations don't go anywhere, you've still endured a lot of pain and suffering. Worse, even though you're completely innocent, you now find yourself having to manage a lot of harm done to your personal reputation.
You see, even though you're innocent, there are going to be people who won't dig deep enough to know that. Future prospective employers might simply search your name on the Internet; future academic opportunities might just stop when they see that you had allegations levied against you, even if they were baseless.
This is unfair. This is harsh. This is not what you'd ever planned to have to deal with.
Fortunately, you don't have to go through this alone. By working with a student defense attorney to manage the damage done to your reputation, you can take steps to salvage your good name and protect your future.
What to Do After a False Title IX Allegation
If you've just found out that your university suspects you of sexual misconduct—and there's no truth to those suspicions—you might experience a flood of unpleasant emotions.
You might be scared. You might be confused. You might even be angry; you might want to lash out at your university or with people connected to your alleged actions.
More than that, you might feel completely alone. Your day-to-day life will feel completely different: You won't be able to rely on your support systems in the same way, and your ongoing investigation will hang over everything you do. Even after the case resolves, you might have ongoing anxiety or trust issues that you'll need to work through.
Unfortunately, that's not all that will happen. The unfair truth of the matter is that you'll have to work hard to save your own reputation. This is a big deal, and will require a lot of thoughtful action on your part.
Reputation Management: Guidelines for Moving Forward
Here are some practical steps to take to help you protect your reputation:
- Be honest about what happened
- Be up-front about what happened when it comes to telling specific people about your false allegations
- Assume that future employers will search you online or review your disciplinary records, and be prepared to talk about it
- Divulge only a few strategic details to the public
- Be proactive about starting a few new good endeavors or projects to divert attention from your past
- Work with your student defense attorney to craft a go-to statement about what occurred
- Realize that you're working with a damaged reputation instead of ignoring the real-life ramifications of your false accusation
- Try to separate your negative emotions surrounding what happened from the work that you have to do
- Create a specific course of action regarding your social media habits in the aftermath of the event
- Realistically assess whether any large-scale academic or career initiatives need to shift slightly (e.g., waiting a semester to apply for a scholarship or internship, etc.)
- Take to social media to trash the complainant
- Get caught up in any negative social media (or real-life) commentary about your alleged involvement in the incident
- Confide in anyone from your school's administration
- Reach out to the complainant while your school's Title IX investigation is still underway
- Apologize for the incident
- Throw in the towel and assume that your name will be damaged for the rest of time
- Try to go through this confusing time alone
- Allow your emotions to dictate who you speak to and what you say
These may seem like long lists to manage—especially at a time where you likely feel fatigued and frustrated. That's understandable. You're confused, you're going through a complex situation, and there's likely a part of you that wonders whether all of this is worth it.
Let us assure you: It is. You're a young student with the world before you. You have dreams about being a productive member of your community. To a large extent, you'll only be able to achieve your goals to the best of your ability if you emerge from this experience with your reputation intact.
This can be easier said than done. That's why you shouldn't manage this yourself. Work with a qualified student defense attorney to navigate the aftermath of your false Title IX accusations with aplomb.
Rely on Joseph D. Lento to Help You Keep Your Reputation Secure
At the end of the day, your reputation is one of your most important assets. It can open doors for you - or close them; it can precede you to every job interview and lead you'll get for the rest of your professional life.
If you're the victim of a false accusation, you could find your reputation tumbling down around you. You didn't do anything wrong, and the accusations might not even go anywhere—but, to a certain extent, the damage is done.
Except—maybe it's not.
The steps that you take immediately after your false Title IX allegations will go a long way towards either ruining or rebuilding your damaged reputation. You're in a tough spot, but it's not impossible to enjoy the power of a good reputation once again. You just need to play a defensive, strategic game. To do that effectively, you're going to need the help of someone with years of Title IX defense experience.
Joseph D. Lento has aggressively fought for the rights and good names of hundreds of students nationwide facing Title IX sexual misconduct allegations. He can do the same for you. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn more about how we can help you move past your false Title IX allegations successfully.