Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rape or Sexual Assault? Know the law...

While studying the criminal law this spring, my professor brought to our class's attention that the different states define rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse differently. Most of the definitions are based on the age of the victim, the amount and type of force used, consent, relationship to the victim, mental capacity of the victim and so on. Although the federal government has published a model penal code to encourage consistency across the nation, the states have continued to use their own statutes with varying terms, degrees, and punishment. Of course this has caused much confusion on what constitutes rape, sexual assault, abuse, molestation, sodomy, and even more terms than I can list here. With the ongoing confusion regarding the law, it's also burdens programs and organizations with educating the public and creating awareness. Sexual assault in one state can mean rape in another and vice versa. As I have become more involved in this work and in my legal studies, I have become more and more fascinated by the riddles. So! I've created another blog for your reading enjoyment. It's simply called SV Legal Resources. I've organized the blog by providing links to each state's criminal code for sexual offenses. I hope to continue to update the blog with commentary and also comparisons of the different states as time allows. So go on over and take a look and browse at your leisure.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Heroines in Advocacy - Gloria Allred

I recently read Gloria Allred's book Fight Back and Win! and fell in love with her big mouth, courageous spirit and devotion to fighting for victims of abuse, discrimination, and harassment. She's tireless in her efforts and is a phenomenal spokesperson and attorney. She has represented some very high profile clients such as Nicole Simpson's family and Scott Peterson's girlfriend, Amber Frey. She has pulled some pretty ballsy stunts to pave the way for women, of which she details in her book. She's quite something. I am posting her profile and her photo that I found on her website.

"Gloria Allred was born on July 3, 1941 – an only child in a working-class home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. with honors in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her M.A. from New York University and her J.D. cum laude from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles. She was also awarded an Honorary J.D. from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law.

In addition to being an attorney, Ms. Allred has held California life credentials in secondary school education and supervision. She taught in public schools for six and one half years, and was also a lecturer at the University of Southern California for several years.

Gloria Allred is a three-time Emmy nominee for her commentaries on KABC television in Los Angeles, and she was selected as one of the most important radio talk show hosts in America by USA Today. She has won the presidential award from the National Association of Woman Lawyers and the President’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, presented to her by President Ronald Reagan at the White House. She has been voted by her peers as one of the best lawyers in America.

Ms. Allred is a founding partner of the law firm of Allred, Maroko & Goldberg. Her law firm handles cases involving employment discrimination, including sex, race, age, physical handicap, sexual orientation discrimination, Aids discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. The firm is also well-known for their work on behalf of victims in civil rights, rape, child sexual abuse and murder cases.

An active feminist, Ms. Allred founded and is currently serving as President of the Women's Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund (WERLDEF).

Articles by her or about her have appeared in publications such as Time Magazine, The New York Times, Ms. Magazine, The American Lawyer, The Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Herald Examiner and The London Times. In July 1990, Los Angeles Magazine named her "One of the 30 Most Powerful People in Los Angeles" and in 1994, "One of the 50 Most Interesting People in Los Angeles." Time Magazine called her "one of the nation's most effective advocates of family rights and feminist causes."

Gloria lives in Los Angeles and has two grandchildren, Sarah and Sam. Her daughter, Lisa Bloom, is an attorney who appears as an anchor on Court TV."