slander n. oral defamation; someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another and that untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed.”
I've just had an interesting exchange with a gentle soul who I've never had the pleasure of meeting or chatting to... ever.
There is no doubt I'm innocent of the claims made, about me falsely slandering this gentleman and his good family. We engaged in an hour of lively discussion. 98 people were tagged into his post, which included a picture of me and full blame attached for the misery that the accuser and his kin suffered. There were a couple of nasty comments aimed at me by his friends and acquaintances.
To be honest I felt his pain. Nobody should be subjected to the horrible claims made about his family. Then my mind diverted a little as I realised that this individual was subjecting me to the exact pain he accused me of causing him in the first place. It was a nonsensical Punch and Judy exchange. I couldn't really be angry and a close friend telephoned, gave me perspective and helped me remain calm.
A mainstream news outlet had been tipped off and I got a call to narrate my story as a wrongly accused victim. I pretended to lose connectivity and hung up. Despite the odds being in my favour no one wins when the press join the bandwagon.
An hour later the post was taken down. I still didn't feel nerves, anger or relief, which is a good thing but the incident raises important points:
- Don't go public without being airtight certain. At the least you'll have egg on your face. At the worst you'll destroy someone's life.
- Seek advice before you embark on a course of action you may regret later.
- Always back up anything you say with airtight evidence. This is not Snakes & Ladders.
- Be prepared to go the whole hog. Sometimes there's no turning back.
- You may have your loved ones, friends dragged into the tangle as each party vies for a foothold.
- The matter will divide the community. It's always a good option to allow genuine mediators to offer counsel.
- Be strong. Easier said than done but if you value integrity then you'll be alright in the end. Don't bother paying heed to the lone voice hater but embrace the chorus that love and value you.
I'll be thinking about what happens next. The benevolent thing is to let sleeping dogs lie but it may not be the best option for me. I haven't done anything wrong.
"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." Mark Twain