Tag: rape

Bioethics Blogs

Mari Mikkola, The Wrongs of Injustice: Dehumanization and its Role in Feminist Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2016

Mari Mikkola identifies three primary forms of social injustice—oppression, domination, and discrimination—and asks what makes them wrong. She argues that feminist philosophy has thus far focused heavily on gender as a lens or anchor through which to understand and respond to injustice. In Mikkola’s view, this orientation around gender (and what she terms “the gender controversy”) is limiting feminist philosophers’ theoretical engagement with the roots of injustice. To remedy this problem, she builds a case for moving toward a more broadly humanist conception of injustice. The humanist feminism that she puts forth centers dehumanization as a way to theorize injustice; dehumanization, for Mikkola, is the very foundation of injustice.

Following an introductory chapter that frames Mikkola’s approach and argument, the book is divided into two parts. The first part of the book is dedicated to articulating Mikkola’s argument for moving beyond the “gender controversy” in feminist philosophy. She explains that the perspectives debated in the gender controversy produce two kinds of puzzles: one semantic, the other ontological. The semantic puzzle asks: “Given that ordinary language users tend not to distinguish sex and gender (treating ‘woman’ largely as a sex term, or a mixture of social and biological features), what precisely are feminists talking about when they talk about ‘women’? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions that the concept woman encodes, if any such conditions exist to begin with?” (28). The ontological puzzle, by contrast, is concerned with: “How should we understand the category of women that is meant to undergird feminist political solidarity, if there are no necessary and sufficient conceptual conditions underlying our gender talk?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Rape, disability, and gender: A response to McMahan and Singer’s op-ed on the Anna Stubblefield case

Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of sexual
harassment and sexual assault in academia and particularly in more
male-dominated fields, including my home field of philosophy. In these cases,
professors use their position of prestige and power to sexually harass and
abuse their students. UC Berkeley philosophy professor John
Searle
is just the most recent example. To my knowledge, all of these cases
have involved male professors victimizing female students. The lone exception
is Anna
Stubblefield
, a former professor of philosophy at Rutgers. Here is a
summary of her case from Current Affairs

At issue is the case of Anna
Stubblefield, a Rutgers University philosophy professor convicted of sexually
assaulting her mentally disabled pupil, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The case is, to say the least, extremely unusual. The student, D.J., was a
severely impaired 30 year old man with cerebal palsy, who had never spoken a
word in his life and communicated through “screams” and “chirps.” Stubblefield
acted as his personal tutor, using a discredited pseudoscientific technique to
elicit what she insisted were complex communications from D.J. Eventually,
based on what she believed D.J. wanted, Stubblefield began engaging in sex acts
with him, having become romantically attracted to him over the course of her
time assisting him.  

Stubblefield’s case is not only different because she is a
woman and her victim is a man, but also because she is one of the few
professors to go through the legal system and be convicted.

There are
many complexities to Stubblefield’s case and I don’t have the space to address
them all here.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Rape, disability, and gender: A response to McMahan and Singer’s op-ed on the Anna Stubblefield case

Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of sexual
harassment and sexual assault in academia and particularly in more
male-dominated fields, including my home field of philosophy. In these cases,
professors use their position of prestige and power to sexually harass and
abuse their students. UC Berkeley philosophy professor John
Searle
is just the most recent example. To my knowledge, all of these cases
have involved male professors victimizing female students. The lone exception
is Anna
Stubblefield
, a former professor of philosophy at Rutgers. Here is a
summary of her case from Current Affairs

At issue is the case of Anna
Stubblefield, a Rutgers University philosophy professor convicted of sexually
assaulting her mentally disabled pupil, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The case is, to say the least, extremely unusual. The student, D.J., was a
severely impaired 30 year old man with cerebal palsy, who had never spoken a
word in his life and communicated through “screams” and “chirps.” Stubblefield
acted as his personal tutor, using a discredited pseudoscientific technique to
elicit what she insisted were complex communications from D.J. Eventually,
based on what she believed D.J. wanted, Stubblefield began engaging in sex acts
with him, having become romantically attracted to him over the course of her
time assisting him.  

Stubblefield’s case is not only different because she is a
woman and her victim is a man, but also because she is one of the few
professors to go through the legal system and be convicted.

There are
many complexities to Stubblefield’s case and I don’t have the space to address
them all here.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

The ethnographic case: series conclusion by Emily Yates-Doerr

Editors note: This entry concludes the series “The Ethnographic Case” which ran every other Monday between June 2015 and July 2016. The bookCase, which holds 27 cases, can be accessed here.

One day, early on in the series, we received two submissions. Their similar anatomy was striking. Each featured a medical waiting room. Someone entered the space with a gift for the clinical personnel, the gift was accepted, and something shifted in the resulting care.

In Aaron Ansell’s case, set within gardens of an informal clinic in Piauí, Brazil, the gift was a small satchel of milk. Rima Praspaliauskiene’s was set in a Lithuanian public hospital and the gift was a rich chocolate cake. Aaron, who works and teaches on legal orders, analyzed the exchange as a challenge to hospital norms of equalitarianism. He helped us to see how the give-and-take of milk interrupts the requirements of a deracinated liberal democracy, offering instead the warm sociality of personal affinity. Rima, who focuses on medical care and valuing, used the object of the cake to query the social scientist’s impulse to explain why people do what they do. She shows us how this impulse may rest upon the linearity and equivalence of rational calculation, uncomfortably treating sociality as a commodity.

The juxtaposition of these submissions is emblematic – a case, if you will – of something we have seen throughout this series: the art of ethnographic writing resides in a relation between what is there and what is done with it.

Beginnings

We might trace the origin of the series to a business meeting at the AAAs, when we offered the idea of “the ethnographic case” for a Somatosphere series.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Victims of Sex Crime Race Strict Indian Abortion Deadline

February 27, 2017

(Reuters) – The woman, who was trafficked from West Bengal to Pune – a journey stretching across the breadth of India – delivered a son this month who she then gave up for adoption. Counselors who work with trafficking and rape victims say that an unwanted pregnancy followed by adoption was a traumatic double punch for women who have already endured a sex crime. “A 16-year-old told me she was offered no help when she wanted to terminate the pregnancy, but now she was being asked to give up the child for adoption,” said Leena Jadhav, a counselor.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

A New Psychological Trauma Institute Is Being Established at the University of Dohuk in Iraq, the First in the Entire Region

February 22, 2017

(Associated Press) – After their rape and torture by Islamic State extremists for months or years, Yazidi women face ongoing suffering from psychological trauma even if they do manage to escape. Until now, a lack of psychiatrists and other mental health specialists in northern Iraq meant that many Yazidi women – a minority singled out for especially harsh treatment by IS – got little or no help. That’s about to change with the establishment of a new psychological training center at the University of Dohuk in Iraq, the first in the entire region.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

“All You See Is Blood”: Life at a Death Camp Where Assad Has Slaughtered Thousands

February 7, 2017

(Vox) – Beatings. Starvation. Rape. And then death, administered quickly and with sickening efficiency. Those are the hallmarks of Saydnaya Prison, a facility just outside of Damascus that the Assad regime has turned into a death camp. Many of the inmates are civilian dissidents, and they are mostly killed not long after their arrival. As detailed in Amnesty International’s newest report from Syria, “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison,” between 5,000 and 13,000 people have been executed there since the civil war began in 2011.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Chile One Vote Away from Legalizing Abortion

January 18, 2017

(Fox News) – Chile, one of only six countries that still refuse abortions under any circumstances, is one step closer to allowing them. A law introduced two years ago by President Michelle Bachelet herself is ready for a full-Senate vote after a constitutional commission narrowly agreed to advance it. The Senate panel passed the measure Monday with a 3-2 vote. The new law would decriminalize abortion until up to 12 weeks if the mother’s health is at risk, if the fetus would not survive the pregnancy and if the pregnancy is the result of a rape.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals – December 2016, Part I by Livia Garofalo

Here is the first part of our December article roundup. Three journals have special issues this month (abstracts in the post below):

Enjoy reading (and what’s left of the holidays)!

American Anthropologist

The Contingency of Humanitarianism: Moral Authority in an African HIV Clinic

Betsey Behr Brada

One consequence of the recent expansion of anthropological interest in humanitarianism is the seeming obviousness and conceptual stability of “humanitarianism” itself. In this article, I argue that, rather than being a stable concept and easily recognizable phenomenon, humanitarianism only becomes apparent in relation to other categories. In short, humanitarianism is contingent: it depends on circumstance and varies from one context to another. Furthermore, its perceptibility rests on individuals’ capacity to mobilize categorical similarities and distinctions. One cannot call a thing or person “humanitarian” without denying the humanitarian character of someone or something else. Drawing on research conducted in clinical spaces where Botswana’s national HIV treatment program and private US institutions overlapped, I examine the processes by which individuals claimed people, spaces, and practices as humanitarian, the contrasts they drew to make these claims, and the moral positions they attempted to occupy in the process. More than questions of mere terminology, these processes of categorization and contradistinction serve as crucibles for the larger struggles over sovereignty, inequality, and the legacies of colonialism that haunt US-driven global health interventions.

Scripting Dissent: US Abortion Laws, State Power, and the Politics of Scripted Speech

Mara Buchbinder

Abortion laws offer a point of entry for “the state” to intervene in intimate clinical matters.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

With Sotomayor’s Elmore Dissent, Another Inroad for Neuroscience into Law

Roland Nadler

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s new term officially underway in October, the time has come for court-watchers to once again scrutinize the Justices’ every word for signs of impending developments in the law.  Myself, I’ve never had the confidence in my prognosticating ability to fill out a FantasyScotus bracket, fascinated though I am by the Court as an institution.  But to this autumnal flurry of tea-leaf reading I’ll just add one modest contribution: Justice Sotomayor’s dissent from the denial of certiorari in Elmore v. Holbrook tells us that some basic measure of neuroscientific literacy is going to become more of a necessity for criminal defense lawyers as time goes on.  Counsel who fail to inquire into their clients’ brains will increasingly run the risk that their legal assistance is later deemed ineffective.

In one sense, this is an easy prediction because it is already true.  Work by Nita Farahany and Ellen Koenig, among many others, tells us that neuroscience is — and should be — on the minds of attorneys who wish to avoid ending up on the wrong side of Strickland v. Washington.  All the same, seeing signs of this trend reaching the pages of the United States Reports feels like a significant step.

By way of summary: the petitioner in this case, Clark Elmore, spent much of his childhood and young adulthood being exposed to serious neurotoxins, including pesticides and Agent Orange.  By the time he was in his 20s, he was having clear difficulties functioning in society; a later series of tests would reveal that his capacity for “cognitive control,” that all-important function of the prefrontal cortex that exercises veto power over impulsive emotional behavior, was in the first (i.e.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.