The Globe & Mail recently published this article about the long-term consequences of sexual violence, featuring Amanda Dale, Executive Director of Toronto’s Barbra Schlifer Clinic and a fellow Osgoode graduate student.
A couple noteworthy points from the article:
Social responses to women who disclose sexual violence make a difference.
Research suggests that the reception a woman gets the first time she discloses her attack can shape her experience of trauma. With supportive reception, survivors’ psychological distress can lessen, making them less susceptible to re-victimization. But women who are dismissed when they speak up for the first time often do not talk about it again, a silence that can be extremely detrimental.
The current rise in awareness and disclosure needs to be matched by an increase in front-line services.
It’s irresponsible to raise awareness without raising the capacity to receive these stories,” Dale says. “We got 30 calls last week. We don’t want to keep those women waiting for a response. They’re ready. They’re calling.
Also interesting is the continued use of the term “rape” in this and other recent articles, despite the fact that rape was replaced by sexual assault in the Canadian Criminal Code back in 1983. Wondering about the reasons for this (somewhat ineffective) change in wording? See here for a helpful overview.
The IFLS has hired a graduate student coordinator for 2015-16! Dana Phillips completed her J.D. at the University of Victoria, and articled at the National Judicial Institute in Ottawa. She is currently completing her master’s thesis in criminal law and feminist legal theory at Osgoode Hall Law School, under the supervision of Professor Benjamin Berger.
In her doctoral work beginning this fall, Dana will continue to explore the themes of her master’s research under Professor Berger’s supervision, with an added focus on evidence and epistemology.
Her work with the IFLS will focus on connections between the IFLS and students (both JD and graduate students), social media and a few other projects. Got ideas on what the IFLS could offer students? Let us know! More on these initiatives later – when the summer writing blitz slows down.
So happy to announce that Osgoode professor Ruth Buchanan will join me and we will be co-directing the IFLS over the coming year. You can read more about Ruth’s work here, and you can find her on twitter as @ruthinguelph. She is a scholar of law and development, law and inequality, critical legal theory, and law and film, and her publications cover a wide range of topics. Recently she has been the director of the Osgoode Graduate Programme, and running Osgoode’s Law.Arts.Culture speaker series.
Over the next year (my sabbatical year), Ruth will be dealing with more of the IFLS events and speakers, whereas I will be looking more at the (sadly neglected I know) web presence and the possibility of affiliations and institutional relations for the IFLS.
We’ve also hired a graduate student, more on that shortly, to support this work (in particular Ruth’s interest in finding ways that the IFLS can engage more with graduate students, and keeping up the blog).
Ruth and I are excited about the possibilities of co-directorship and deepening/widening the IFLS’s connections to the feminist legal community over the coming year(s). Stay in touch with us, let us know about your news. Emails here.
When I walked in to my workplace this morning, these posters (see slideshow above) were up all around the school, a new campaign courtesy of the Osgoode Feminist Collective (formerly known as the Osgoode Women’s Caucus, they changed their name a few years ago). You can find the group on Facebook, here, and read a little more about the campaign there.
Other student activities in other places:
The Fredricton (NB) Youth Feminists, speaking out about sexualization at school via dress codes. Find them at @YouthFeminists. Here is an article about this struggle (FYF were also engaged in the ongoing struggle for abortion access in NB):
Beirne explains why she believes the dress code is reflective of [slut shaming]: “The dress code says that we [the girls] can’t show our undergarments or our midriffs… Aside from that, the only other thing it says is that we have to dress modestly, and that is a problem, because ‘modesty’ can mean different things to different teachers.”
“Basically, this ambiguity allows the teachers to force their own ideas of ‘modesty’ on us even if our infraction isn’t in the dress code, and they can publicly humiliate you for it too.”