The most recent episode of the BBC’s Moral Maze debated the case of Ched Evans, a convicted rapist who seeks to return to playing professional football in England. Although the story has received modest attention in America (here is a link to a New York Times article story), it has created a national debate in England.
Here is a description of the Moral Maze debate from the BBC’s website:
The case of the footballer and convicted rapist Ched Evans is a morality tale for our times. Evans, who played for Wales and Sheffield United, was jailed for 5 and a half years after being found guilty of raping a woman who was so drunk she couldn’t give her consent. Clayton McDonald, then a Port Vale defender, who was also involved, was cleared of the same charge. Evans has always maintained his innocence and has not apologised to the victim. He’s now been released on licence and there are calls for him to return to his footballing career. An online petition with 150,000 signatures says Sheffield United should not take him back. The story may read like a tawdry tabloid expose, but it actually goes to the heart of the kind of society we want and the kind of people we want to be. Should a convicted rapist who’s served his time and maintains his innocence be entitled to get his job back? Does the need for forgiveness and rehabilitation trump the need for continuing disgrace and the need to make an example of someone who for many should be a role model? Does the fact of being a high profile figure put you in a different moral category that deserves extra punished? Or does that send out a message that even though you’ve served your time you still may not be allowed the chance to rebuild your life and reintegrate in to society.
Panellists: Michael Portillo, Melanie Phillips, Claire Fox, Giles Fraser
Witnesses: Charlotte Webster, David Walsh, Dr Clare Carlisle, Dr Nina Burrowes
Rape Survivor, Attorney, Advocate Shauna Prewitt to Speak at SUCOL
The Syracuse Law and Civic Engagement Forum (SLACE) and National Women’s Law Student Association (NWLSA) will co-host an event featuring Shauna Prewitt on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 4 p.m. in Room 175 of the law school.
Prewitt is a rape survivor, attorney and advocate for reform of the custody laws in most states, which allow rapists the same parental rights as other fathers, something often used to coerce rape victims into not testifying in criminal trials. She gained national attention following Rep. Todd Aiken’s infamous “legitimate rape” comments in August 2012. Prewitt wrote an open letter to Aiken explaining his biological inaccuracies.
Prewitt enrolled at Georgetown Law School in 2006. During her time there, she wrote the first scholarly piece examining the legal protections afforded to women who become mothers through rape. Since its publication, Prewitt’s piece has received much attention from legal scholars, legislators and advocacy groups.
Today, Prewitt is a practicing attorney and a national expert on the laws protective of pregnant rape victims. She frequently testifies in support of rape legislation and routinely contributes to the national commentary on the need for even greater protections. Interviews with and articles written by her have appeared on CNN, NBC and other national media outlets.
“Child custody rights for rapists? Most states have them”
I could not believe this story when I learned of it. In 31 states, rapists have child custody rights. Shauna Prewitt, attorney, author, and rape vicitm, is currently fighting to change these baffling laws. Prewitt gained notoriety for writing an open letter former Congressman Todd Akin, who infamous stated that in the case of “a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Recently, the New Yorker‘s “Political Scene,” hosted by Dorothy Wickenden, discussed the “culture of rape” from rape in the U.S. military to the Steubenville High School case.
Here is a description of the podcast:
“The easiest way to talk about” rape culture, Ariel Levy says on this week’s Political Scene podcast, “is in action as opposed to in abstract definition. Rape culture in action simply means taking a situation where a woman—by virtue of the progress that our society has made over the last hundred years—where a woman is in a situation where something has nothing to do with sex and where sex is forced upon her.” In the latest issue of the magazine, Levy writes about the presence and role of rape culture in the Steubenville High School case, but, as she and Ryan Lizza discuss with host Dorothy Wickenden, it’s not restricted to such places—in fact, sexual violence has retained a stubborn hold on the U.S. military that is only now finally being addressed as a political matter.
“What’s different now about what could happen in the wake of this Pentagon report about the huge increase in sexual assaults is you now have twenty women in the U.S. Senate, and you actually have five women on the Senate Armed Services Committee,” Lizza notes, saying that the increased presence of women has prompted “a pretty robust debate about what to do about this.” That debate, Levy says, ought to extend beyond the military: “Some of it has to start … with comprehensive sexual education for boys and girls.”