Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Campus Rape Awareness Backlash

Ms., Sounding the Alarm on Campus Rape

Bloomberg News took the campus sexual assault backlash to a new low last week with a piece describing how “hook-up culture” is on the decline at elite colleges now that there’s a heightened awareness of sexual assault on campuses. The focus of the article is the “burden” male students carry as a result of new interest in the campus rape epidemic. So what is the burden that is so heavy it warrants an entire article?

 

  • Having to be more cautious about gauging the interest of a romantic pursuit
  • Having to avoid making romantic pursuits “feel uncomfortable”
  • Having to learn what constitutes consent
  • Having to be more cautious about making decisions while drunk
  • Having to be more cognizant of how social media comments may appear to others

In other words, the new campus anti-rape movement has made male students more thoughtful and less predatory, but journalist John Lauerman and former Bloomberg intern Jennifer Suraneframe this in negative terms.

September 2, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nail Polish Can Test for Date Rape Drug

Now here's an excellent example of scientific innovation.  

USA Today, Nail Polish May Prevent Date Rape

Undergraduates at North Carolina State University are being credited with creating a new kind of nail polish.

 

The polish doubles as a way to prevent sexual assault, according to the Triangle Business Journal, The nail polish changes color when the person wearing it is exposed to date rape drugs.

 

So, how does it work?

 

The person wearing the nail polish has to use their finger to stir their drink. If the drink has a date rape drug in it, the nail polish changes color.

 

The Washington Post reports that 55% of about 1,570 colleges and universities with more than 1,000 students received at least one report of forcible sex offense on campus in 2012. From 2010 to 2012 there were 14 forcible sex offenses reported on N.C. State's campus.

 

Undercover Colors, which was started by four males students, is raising money to refine the prototype and to pay executives.

 

The company won the Lulu eGames this spring, which is sponsored by N.C. State's Entrepreneurship initiative. The contest challenges students to design working solutions to real-world problems.

[h/t Stefan Padfield]

September 2, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

NFL Adopts Stricter Penalty for Players' Domestic Abuse

NFL Lays Out New Penalty for Domestic Violence: 6-Game Suspension

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced new guidelines for how the league will handle incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. The change in policy, explained an open letter to team owners, come a month after the NFL was criticized for how it handled player Ray Rice's arrest on domestic violence charges.

 

Goodell says that the new policies were developed after conversations with outside experts, team owners and the NFL Players Association. The open letter describes several ways in which the NFL plans to provide training, support and resources to personnel, players and their families. It also sets down guidelines for how sexual assault and domestic abuse will be punished in the future.

August 30, 2014 in Sports, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Victims of Domestic Abuse Now Eligible for Asylum

NY Times, In First for Court, Woman is Ruled Eligible for Asylum in US on Basis of Domestic Abuse

The nation’s highest immigration court has found for the first time that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries can be eligible for asylum in the United States.

 

The decision on Tuesday by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of a battered wife from Guatemala resolved nearly two decades of hard-fought legal battles over whether such women could be considered victims of persecution. The ruling could slow the pace of deportations from the Southwest border, because it creates new legal grounds for women from Central America caught entering the country illegally in the surge this summer in their fight to remain here.

August 30, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lifting the Statute of Limitations for Rape

Wendy Davis Proposes Lifting the Statute of Limitations for Rape

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor who rose to national fame last year by spearheading a fight against a draconian abortion bill,held a press conference Wednesday to highlight her ideas on how to fight sexual assault. Talking about her legislative efforts to process the estimated backlog of 16,000 untested rape kits in the state, Davis said she wanted to take the solution a step further. She proposed lifting the statute of limitations for sexual assault entirely, in no small part to make sure that rapists don't escape justice just because a rape kit lingered untested for so long that the window for prosecution closed. 

August 28, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You can't register for classes at Ohio University until....

.....you--a college student--complete an education program intended to prevent sexual assault.  The story: 

Bill Arnold, graduate assistant for bystander intervention and prevention education with the OU Survivor Advocacy Program (OUSAP), said Thursday the Not Anymore program is akin to the mandatory Alcohol EDU course all freshmen must take. The online course takes about two hours to complete, and features video lessons on topics including consent, alcohol, sexual assault, bystander intervention and rape culture.

And: 

Arnold said the mandatory program is a required part of the Violence Against Women Act's grant funding for the OU Women's Center, which supports OUSAP. He said the average cost per student to the university for the Not Anymore program, depending on final enrollment totals at OU, is around $3 to $4.

August 26, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why 911 Technology is Important for Domestic Violence Protection

Ms., When 9-1-1 Can't Find You: How Wireless Providers Can Save Women's Lives

Last month, Michelle Miers was shot and stabbed at her home by an attacker. Still breathing but in need of urgent medical care, she picked up her cellphone and dialed 9-1-1. Like most Americans, Miers probably presumed that calling 9-1-1 guaranteed help was on the way. For the 26-year-old mother of two, however, help would come too late—not because Miers was too far away, or because her wounds were already too severe, but because police and paramedics couldn’t figure out where she was.

 

Miers is one of more than an estimated 10,000 Americans who will die this year because wireless companies don’t transmit precise enough location data to 9-1-1 operators, leaving police unable to locate victims. In Miers’ case, responders were left scrambling door-to-door for 20 minutes before they spotted the apartment building with broken glass in the entryway where Miers lay covered in blood.

August 23, 2014 in Technology, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hook Up Culture Wanes at Harvard, Stanford

From Bloomberg

As former social chair of the Sigma Chi fraternity at Harvard University, Malik Gill wants to appear especially welcoming to girls who come to the house for parties.

Yet, Gill, who starts his junior year in a few weeks, says he won’t be offering a female classmate a beer.

Why not? 

“I don’t want to look like a predator,” the 20-year-old economics major said. “It’s a little bit of a blurred line.”

August 21, 2014 in Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Pedagogy of Rape Law

Jennifer Denbow (New England), has published The Pedagogy of Rape Law, 64 J. Legal Educ. 16 (Aug. 2014). Her research suggests that 

instructors of criminal law, perhaps  particularly male professors, have anxiety about teaching the law of rape.  Indeed, as I began to research the pedagogy of rape law, I discovered that this anxiety is relatively common and that, in response, some instructors either do not teach rape law in their courses or they teach it, as my own professor did, in a manner entirely different from the way they teach other criminal law subjects.  ***

In this article I consider some potential roots of the anxiety surrounding the
teaching of rape law and its actual or perceived explosiveness. In particular, I
argue that the crime of rape implicates issues of identity, gender and emotion.
I explore how the politics of identity figures in the emotional intensity of
rape and in the anxiety around teaching rape law. I argue that the identity
politics framework and its epistemology would stifle classroom discussion and
reinforce problematic understandings of female and male identity. Although I
am critical of the politics of identity, I also argue that it challenges in important
ways many deep-seated assumptions about law, reason and objectivity and
is thus especially threatening to those law professors who take these things
for granted. Emphasizing that rape is too difficult to teach because it is an
emotional topic may mask the deeper ways in which a discussion of rape—particularly an analysis that views it as oppressive of women thus giving them special standing to analyze it—challenges ideas law professors take for granted, such as their own authority, rationality and objectivity. Moreover, it is in part emotion itself that grounds this challenge.

Given the very public debate and confusion over what constitutes rape--from discussions of "legitimate rape," campus assaults, and consent, it seems that avoiding or minimizing the topic of rape in law school is now more problemmatic than ever. 

August 14, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CFP: Feminist Judgments: Rewriting SCOTUS Opinions

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of revised opinions and commentary for an edited collection entitled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court.  This edited volume is a collaborative project among feminist law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key Supreme Court decisions relevant to gender issues.  Editors Kathy Stanchi, Linda Berger and Bridget Crawford seek prospective authors for 20 to 25 rewritten Supreme Court opinions covering a range of topics including reproductive rights, equal protection, the state’s use of criminal power, privacy, the family, women’s political participation, Title IX, employment discrimination and substantive due process.  The editors also seek authors for commentaries of 1,500 to 2,500 words to put into context each of the rewritten cases. 

 

The U.S. Feminist Judgments project was inspired by the successful collection and publication in Britain of Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice, edited by Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn, and Erika Rackley. This volume, which included feminist versions of twenty-three key British decisions from the Court of Appeal and House of Lords, was published in 2010 and has been very well received. Like the sister project in Britain, the U.S. Feminist Judgments Project endeavors to pioneer “a new form of critical socio-legal scholarship” that illustrates how cases could have been decided differently had a feminist method been employed. We believe that U.S. Supreme Court law is ripe for this kind of scholarly treatment.

 

            Those who are interested in rewriting an opinion or providing the commentary on one of the rewritten opinions should fill out an application here:

            https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/feministjudgments

Applications are due by September 15, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. eastern.  Editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by October 7, 2014.  First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on February 1, 2015.  First drafts of comments on the rewritten opinions will be due on March 15, 2015.  The editors are in the process of identifying a publisher; publication of the final volume is anticipated for late 2015.

 

            A list of cases tentatively scheduled for rewriting is available here:             http://www.law.temple.edu/pdfs/faculty/FeministJudgmentsSurveyResults.pdf

Applicants may indicate their preferences among the list of cases.  Applicants also may suggest other cases for rewriting.  The tentative cases were chosen with the input and advice of an Advisory Panel of distinguished U.S. scholars including Kathryn Abrams, Katharine Bartlett, Devon Carbado, Mary Anne Case, Erwin Chemerinsky, April Cherry, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Martha Fineman, Margaret Johnson, Sonia Katyal, Nancy Leong, Catharine MacKinnon, Rachel Moran, Melissa Murray, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Nancy Polikoff, Dorothy Roberts, Dan Rodriguez, Susan Ross, Vicki Schultz, Dean Spade, Robin West, and Verna Williams.

 

August 12, 2014 in Call for Papers, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Misogyny online in Britain

From the Guardian UK

A pervading online misogyny is the most visible reason why the internet is failing to live up to its potential to improve people's lives, a report for a digital charity has concluded.

Charles Leadbeater, an author and former policy adviser to the Labour government, argues in the report A Better Web, that the problem is so serious one solution could be awards for women who succesfully contend with online abuse.

August 10, 2014 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gaza: It's a Man's War

An interesting piece from the Atlantic

From start to finish, the latest Gaza conflict has largely been a man’s war. The Israeli negotiating team in Egypt does not include a single woman–not even Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, whose condition for joining the current governing coalition was that she head Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instead appointed his own (male) representative, Yitzchak Molcho, to represent him in the delegation. Livni sits on Israel’s security cabinet, the small committee that has made most of the major decisions about this war, but, tellingly, she is the only woman at the table. The story is the same on Israeli television and in the country’s newspapers. According to a study by The Marker, fewer than 10 percent of all experts interviewed on news programs during the war have been women.

August 10, 2014 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ben McJunkin's "Deconstructing Rape by Fraud"

Ben McJunkin has uploaded "Deconstructingn Rape by Fraud," in the Columbia J. of Gender and Law.  The abstract reads: 

In this Article, I critically examine the role of normative masculinity in determining the shape and scope of the criminal law doctrine of rape by fraud, which purports to criminalize sexual intercourse procured through certain material deceptions. In application, the rape by fraud doctrine is exceedingly narrow — deceptively induced sexual intercourse is rarely criminalized as rape, despite deception’s profound impact on the voluntariness of sexual consent. As the Article explains, the rape by fraud doctrine is thus in tension with the prevailing view that rape law principally protects a thick norm of individual sexual autonomy. Despite this tension, the narrowness of the rape by fraud doctrine is frequently defended, often by those who are most committed to individual autonomy elsewhere in rape law.

Through an analysis of court decisions and academic commentary, I demonstrate that those defenses largely rest on appeals to a romanticized ideal of the practice of seduction. I illuminate the link between seduction and a prevailing ideology of normative masculinity that allocates social status for men on the basis of demonstrations of sexual conquest. That ideology perpetuates narratives in which women, through their capacity to grant or withhold consent, hold power over men when pursued as objects for sex. Indeed, within this account, the transgression of women’s power is what makes sexual conquest worthy of masculine status. Deceptions used to procure sex are criminalized only in exceptional cases where the narratives of interpersonal power break down. Thus, the rape by fraud doctrine can be seen as codifying existing limits on masculine status transfer. Ultimately, I argue that understanding the rape by fraud doctrine in terms of normative masculinity exposes an important continuity between contemporary rape law and rape law historically, in which rape was a crime against men’s property interest in women.

August 7, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Women in the Military

Cara Hoffman has a recent Op-Ed in Truth Out.  It follows her earlier piece in the NYT, where she observed:  

....as many as a third of all women serving in the military are raped by fellow soldiers during their tours of duty, compounding whatever traumas they may have experienced in combat.

July 31, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

30 million girls at risk of FGM.....

So posits a UNICEF study.  A recent Op-Ed in the Guardian UK elaborates: 

Statistics show 30 million girls are at risk of FGM in the next decade, and, each year, about 14 milliongirls are forced to marry before they are ready. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN convention on the rights of the child should prevent such injustices, yet girls' basic rights to health, education and security remain unmet. As young feminists, we know that patriarchy perpetuates the idea that girls are of less value, which leads to their systematic neglect in economic, political, social, legal and educational realms.

July 29, 2014 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

College Settles Campus Assault Lawsuit

NYT, UConn to Pay $1.3M to End Suit on Rape Cases.

The University of Connecticut will pay $1.28 million to settle a lawsuit filed by five students who charged that the university had treated their claims of sexual assault and harassment with indifference, the two sides announced on Friday in a joint statement.

 

In a news conference on Friday, Gloria Allred, the plaintiffs’ counsel, said the settlement was in the best interest of her clients and of the university. “We hope that other victims of sexual assault will hear about the positive results in our case involving UConn and be inspired and encouraged to report instances of sexual violence and assault,” Ms. Allred said, adding, “Title IX is there for their protection, and other universities should follow the law and UConn’s example.”

July 24, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Digging Deeper Into Fathers' Rights Rhetoric

At Jotwell, Ruthanann Robson's essay, Empiricism and Equality: Studying Fathers' Rights, reviews Kelly Behre's article Digging Beneath the Equality Language: The Influence of the Fathers' Rights Movement on Intimate Partner Violence Public Policy Debates and Family Law Reform, 21 W&M J. Women & L.  (forthcoming).  John previously noticed this article too.  Robson concludes:

Behre’s article is worth reading for its “deep dig” into the reality, rhetoric, and social science of “fathers’ rights.” Gender equality in family law remains worthy of our attention. But Behre’s article is also worth reading for its applicability to issues involving “reverse discrimination,” “color-blindness,” or formal equality, in which similar empirical underpinnings promote continued subordination. Digging beneath the equality rhetoric does not only unearth profound differences in the meanings of equality, it may also surface a dirty study.

July 24, 2014 in Family, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prosecutors Fail to Take Campus Assault Seriously Too

NYT, Support for a College Student Grows After Rape Complaint is Dismissed.  In this story about a failed college investigation of sexual assault, what struck me here was the response of the prosecutor.  

Anna, a freshman, said she was assaulted by three football players last September, after two weeks on campus. The school’s disciplinary panel quickly cleared the athletes. Six months later, after Anna belatedly pursued a criminal complaint, the district attorney declined to bring charges, saying he believed the sexual encounter had been consensual. ***

 

The Ontario County district attorney, R. Michael Tantillo, closed the case without testing whether that seminal fluid matched the DNA of any of the accused. ***

 

Anna’s lawyer, Inga L. Parsons, said she requested that the rape kit be tested by the police even though Anna was pursuing her case [initially] through the school, and offered to pay to have it expedited. Ms. Parsons eventually arranged to have the rape kit samples sent to a private lab, which identified the seminal fluid.

 

Then in February, Ms. Parsons asked the police about getting DNA from one of the football players Anna had accused of repeatedly assaulting her. She said that it was warranted “given that we have extensive seminal fluids from the rape kit” and because the football player had denied having sexual intercourse with Anna. Even so, Mr. Tantillo decided not to test it.

 

Here is the prior article on the details of the alleged crime.  One word: Steubenville. 

July 22, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prostitution Laws: 7 voices

From the CBC (Canada)..... Among the voices, one worker with victims of human trafficking said: 

"I can't walk into a group home in Canada where [there aren't] children, and these are 14-, 15-, 16-year-old children, whom are being recruited out of there by low-level, small organized gangs and things like this. And in fact these girls are now going in using friending tactics. To go in and get their friends to help them know, 'oh, you can just make a little bit of extra money, you can do this, do that, it's not so bad,'" she said.

"I'm seeing younger and younger persons entering the sex trade."

 

July 17, 2014 in Human trafficking, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Honor Killings in Pakistan

From Amnesty International, an appalling story of violence against women in Pakistan.

July 10, 2014 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)