Category Archives: What we’re thinking/reading/doing (IFLS blog)

What’s interesting these days?

Random Girls rule

oh my.  Doctor claims in lawsuit that “out-of-wedlock conception deprived him of the choice of falling in love, marrying, and choosing when to have a child.” Toronto judge rightly chucks it out.  Here.   Such a small thing, but here it is, Saturday night and all the interesting bits of Pride and Prejudice are over, only the mush is left.  So, a few things….

1. the information including the age of the child and age of the woman does seem to open doors for possible identification.

2.    Now THIS is how it’s done:

“But then came the text message at 7:06 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2014, that would shock PP and change his life forever.

DD said she was 10 weeks pregnant with PP’s baby, according to the statement of claim.

PP wanted her to get an abortion.

DD said no.

PP said, “I don’t want to have a baby with some random girl.”

DD said, “This random girl is fine doing it on her own.””

3. the “emotional damage” here, might, with some escalation, approach what at least one Canadian legal scholar (ok, on twitter) seemed to suggest would meet the R. v. Hutchinson [2014] 1 SCR 346 (because there were a surprising number of people who only wanted to talk about Hutchinson in terms of “but what about when the women do it”).  This is in tort, though, obviously.

4. The lawyer who drafted the statement of claim is, mercifully for them perhaps, not named.  Am I being too dismissive of the strength of the claimant’s argument? #notatortexpertunderanydefinitionofexpert.

Source: Doctor sues mother of his child for emotional damages | Toronto Star

NIP: Why Some Men Are Above the Law by Martha C. Nussbaum

Famous men standardly get away with sexual harms, and for the most part will continue to do so. They know they are above the law, and they are therefore undeterrable. What can society do? Don’t give actors and athletes such glamor and reputational power. But that won’t happen in the real world. What can women do? Don’t be fooled by glamor. Do not date such men, unless you know them very, very well. Do not go to their homes. Never be alone in a room with them. And if you ignore my sage advice and encounter trouble, move on. Do not let your life get hijacked by an almost certainly futile effort at justice. Focus on your own welfare, and in this case that means: forget the law.

Source: Why Some Men Are Above the Law | Martha C. Nussbaum

An interesting intervention from the eminent scholar.  One question this leaves open for me is this – how are we defining famous?  I wonder whether in truth it is defined largely in relation to the standing of the woman in question and calibrated to the jurisdiction. Famous enough…

Good News: Accomplishments

Thanks to Manitoba’s Deb Parkes, a reminder that we should share and celebrate the achievements of women in the academy. Here are three pieces of good news Deb noted. Brighten up the greyish days of January with these.

1. Prof. Angelique EagleWoman has been named Dean of Law, Lakehead University.  She is an accomplished professor from the University of Idaho and a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation.

I’m adding this link to an article of Dean EagleWoman’s on SSRN called Balancing between Two Worlds: A Dakota Woman’s Reflections on Being a Law Professor (you will find the abstract at the link – the paper was written for a follow up conference after the publication of Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, discussed long ago on this blog)

2. Sherene Razack (OISE) appointed Distinguished Professor at the University of Toronto.

The idea of interlocking systems of oppression (how patriarchy, colonialism and white supremacy come into operation through each other) is one of her most important contributions to theory and practice.

3. Karen Busby (U of M) received the Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Saunderson Award, the University of Manitoba’s highest honour for teaching.

Prof. Karen Busby challenges her students to do more, be more,
dream more. She not only ignites within them a passion for learning law but inspires them to find their own voice. Prof. Busby develops citizen lawyers who defend human rights and democratic values. She is growing the next generation of advocates for social change—individuals who will fight back against oppression.

New in Print: “To Live Freely in This World: Sex Worker Activism in Africa” by Chi Adanna Mgbako

book cover
source: http://nyupress.org/books/9781479849062/

A new book for a new year. Here’s one to add to our 2016 feminist reading list, just released from NYU press.

To Live Freely in This World: Sex Worker Activism in Africa by Chi Adanna Mgbako

From the publisher’s website:

Sex worker activists throughout Africa are demanding an end to the criminalization of sex work and the recognition of their human rights to safe working conditions, health and justice services, and lives free from violence and discrimination. To Live Freely in This World is the first book to tell the story of the brave activists at the beating heart of the sex workers’ rights movement in Africa—the newest and most vibrant face of the global sex workers’ rights struggle. African sex worker activists are proving that communities facing human rights abuses are not bereft of agency. They’re challenging politicians, religious fundamentalists, and anti-prostitution advocates; confronting the multiple stigmas that affect the diverse members of their communities; engaging in intersectional movement building with similarly marginalized groups; and participating in the larger global sex workers’ rights struggle in order to determine their social and political fate.

By locating this counter-narrative in Africa, To Live Freely in This World challenges disempowering and one-dimensional depictions of “degraded Third World prostitutes” and helps fill what has been a gaping hole in feminist scholarship regarding sex work in the African context. Based on original fieldwork in seven African countries, including Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda, Chi Adanna Mgbako draws on extensive interviews with over 160 African female and male (cisgender and transgender) sex worker activists, and weaves their voices and experiences into a fascinating, richly-detailed, and powerful examination of the history and continuing activism of this young movement.
About the author:
picture of Chi Mgbako
Chi Mgbako. Source: https://www.fordham.edu/info/23164/chi_adanna_mgbako

Chi Adanna Mgbako is clinical professor of law and director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. In partnership with grassroots organizations, she and her students work on human rights projects focusing on sex workers’ rights, women’s rights, criminal justice reform, and access to justice. She has conducted human rights fieldwork in many countries, among them Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States.

Under Mgbako’s direction, the clinic has conducted human rights trainings on women and HIV/AIDS, female genital cutting, and LGBT refugee rights; published human rights reports on access to safe abortion and police abuse of marginalized communities; ran mobile legal aid clinics in rural communities; contributed legal research to lawsuits challenging the forced HIV testing of sex workers; submitted claims to the United Nations on behalf of arbitrarily detained prisoners; and consulted organizations on best practices of community-based paralegal programs, among many other projects.

Mgbako’s publications have appeared in the Harvard Human Rights Journal, Yale Journal of International Affairs, Georgetown Journal of International Law, and Human Rights Quarterly, and popular media, including The International New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. She is the author of To Live Freely in This World: Sex Worker Activism in Africa (New York University Press, 2016).

In recognition of Mgbako’s clinical teaching, writing, and human rights advocacy, she has been honored as one of the New York Law Journal’s Rising Stars, National Law Journal’s Top 40 Lawyers of Color Under 40, Fordham Law School’s Public Interest Faculty Member of the Year, and the Police Reform Organizing Project’s Citizen of the City Award recipient.

Before joining the Fordham law faculty in 2007, Mgbako served as the Harvard Henigson Human Rights Fellow in the West Africa Project of the International Crisis Group, where she focused on justice sector reform in Liberia and political reform in Nigeria, and as the Crowley Fellow in International Human Rights at Fordham Law School, where she co-produced a documentary on the feminization of HIV/AIDS in Malawi.

Mgbako earned her JD from Harvard Law School, where she received the Gary Bellow Public Service Award, and her BA, magna cum laude, from Columbia University.