Feminist Professor Receives Health Law Grant

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Professeure Vanessa Gruben reçoit la bourse James-Kreppner!  

La bourse de recherche sur le système du sang James‑Kreppner a été octroyée à la professeure Vanessa Gruben pour son projet intitulé « Organ Donation in Canada: Engaging with Stakeholders and Proposing Solutions to Current Legal and Ethical Challenges » (Don d’organes au Canada : mobiliser les intervenants et proposer des solutions à des défis d’ordre juridique et éthique).

Les travaux de recherche de Prof Gruben portent sur la législation qui régit divers aspects de la procréation médicalement assistée, notamment les différends contractuels concernant les embryons congelés, la protection de la vie privée et l’accès à l’information, l’anonymat des donneurs de gamètes, la réglementation et le financement des technologies d’assistance médicale à la procréation, et le caractère constitutionnel de la Loi sur la procréation assistée.

La bourse James-Kreppner est l’un des nombreux programmes de subvention mis sur pied par la Société canadienne du sang en vue d’appuyer la recherche dans le domaine des sciences transfusionnelles, particulièrement en ce qui a trait aux questions d’ordre médical, juridique et éthique. Dans le cadre de cette occasion de financement, Mme Gruben recevra un montant de 75 000 $ par année étalé sur deux ans, soit en 2015 et en 2016.

Bravo Professeure Gruben 


Prof. Vanessa Gruben Awarded James Kreppner Fellowship

Professor Vanessa Gruben has been awarded the James Kreppner Fellowship in Blood System Studies for her project “Organ Donation in Canada: Engaging with Stakeholders and Proposing Solutions to Current Legal and Ethical Challenges.”

Professor Gruben’s research focuses on the legal regulation of various aspects of assisted human reproduction, including contractual disputes over frozen embryos, privacy and access to information, gamete donor anonymity, the regulation and funding of assisted reproductive technologies, and the constitutionality of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

The Kreppner Fellowship is one of a large number of funding programs established by Canadian Blood Services in support of blood-related medical, legal, and ethical research.  The fellowship provides Prof. Gruben with funding for two years (2015 and 2016) each in the amount of $75,000.

Congratulations Prof. Gruben!


Colleen,

LEAF Person's Day Breakfast


LEAF Ottawa proudly presents the Persons Day Breakfast Gala
on October 30, 2015

2015_LEAF_PDB_Ottawa

Out on Bay Street event at uOttawa Law

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Join Out In The Capital on Wednesday, November 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP’s Ottawa office for our first event for law students and professionals. All prospective, current and newly graduated law students are welcome and will benefit from networking with fellow LGBTQA peers. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided.
Stephen Nattrass, associate and member of Norton Rose Fulbright’s PRIDE Network committee as well as member of the Ottawa office Student Committee, will moderate the panel and engage in discussions around diversity and inclusion with public and private sector employers, dealing with CVs, interviewing at law firms, and coming out/ being out at work. The panel discussion will be in English only.
Panelists include:
  • Melanie Bejzyk, Legal Officer, Criminal, Security and Diplomatic Law Division of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
  • Angela Cameron, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law
  • Grant Jameson, Counsel, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
  • Paul Jonathan Saguil, Counsel, Legal Department of TD Bank Group and Chair, OBA’s SOGIC Section
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (registration at 5:30 p.m. and panel at 6:00 p.m.)
Location: Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, 45 O'Connor Street, 15th floor
Space is limited, please register online


Soyez des nôtres à On s’assume dans la capitale le mercredi 18 novembre de 17 h 30 à 20 h au bureau de Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l. pour notre premier évènement accueillant des étudiant(e)s et professionnel(le)s en droit. Tous les étudiants actuels et futurs ainsi que les diplômés récents sont les bienvenus et auront l’occasion de faire du réseautage avec des pairs de la communauté LGBTQA. Des hors d’œuvres et des boissons seront servis.

Stephen Nattrass, avocat et membre du comité du réseau FIERTÉ de Norton Rose Fulbright ainsi qu’un membre du comité étudiant du bureau d’Ottawa dirigeront un panel de discussion portant un ensemble d’enjeux, y compris la diversité et l’inclusion dans les secteurs privé et public, des questions sur les CV, les entrevues avec des cabinets d’avocats, et comment mener une vie ouverte au travail. La discussion se fera en anglais seulement.

Les panelistes seront :
  • Melanie Bejzyk, agente juridique - Direction du droit criminel, du droit de la sécurité et du droit diplomatique du Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Commerce et Développement Canada
  • Angela Cameron, professeure agrégée, Faculté de droit de l’Université d’Ottawa
  • Grant Jameson, avocat-conseil, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l.
  • Paul Jonathan Saguil, avocat-conseil, Service juridique de Groupe Banque TD et Président de la Section orientation et identité sexuelles de l’Association du Barreau de l’Ontario
Date : le mercredi 18 novembre 2015
Heure : 17 h 30 à 20 h 00 (l’inscription commence à 17 h 30, et le groupe de discussion commence à 18 h 00)
Place : Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, S.E.N.C.R.L., 45 rue O'Connor, 15 étage
Les places sont limitées. Veuillez-vous inscrire en ligne.

                               

Dr. Tracey Lindberg - Oct. 27th, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dr. Tracey Lindberg will deliver a lecture  entitled : Canadian Legal Fictions and Indigenous Legal Truths: Law, Literature and Legacies as part of the Greenberg Chair Lecture series.

“Aftermath”: The Heartbreak of Rape

TRIGGER WARNING This article contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.


Professors Daphne Gilbert and Elizabeth Sheehy

Andrea Dworkin had vowed that she would never be raped again. As a survivor of rape and battering, her life had already been shaped by this crime. As a scholar she had theorized rape. As an activist she had mobilized women and enabled social and legal change in opposition to the impunity rapists, pimps, johns and pornographers enjoy.

She swore she would never be raped again: she would kill her next rapist or die trying. But because her last rapist drugged her, she was denied even that dignity of fighting for her life, her body and soul.

Dworkin wrote about her last rape both publicly and in private papers, turned into a monologue after her death in 2005. Her agonized reflections on that rape are now reproduced as a play called "Aftermath", currently ending its showing in Montreal at the Centre culturel Georges-Vanier. The play is simply staged with a ladder in the centre of the space and piles of feminist books strewn over the floor. The Montreal theatre is small, holding 20-25 audience members, placed close to the stage. The effect is intimate and hushed. One cannot avoid eye contact with the actress (Helena Levitt) who plays Dworkin.

As scholars who have written about sexual assault and as professors who have assigned Andrea Dworkin’s work as required reading to law students in our Sexual Assault course, the play was powerful and raw. Her theoretical work has embodied a systemic response to rape, understanding that rape is not only or even most importantly about the act of forced sex. This crime is of course a deeply personal violation and a terrifying experience for the woman, but it is also perpetrated by men as a crime of power that reenacts dominance and manifests the denigration of women. Theorizing rape helps some women cope with trauma, empowering survivors and supporting them in a web of other women who have been raped. As a raped woman, Andrea Dworkin spoke out about institutions (religions, universities, the military) and our misogynistic culture that glorifies the entwining of violence and sex. Her pain was ever present, but it seemed to us a pain that was wrapped up in the bodies of the hundreds if not thousands of raped women whom she supported in her lifetime.

“Aftermath” was a brutal post-script to all that we know of Andrea Dworkin’s life and work, and yet her reflections continue her theoretical contributions. This rape in Paris in 1999, a drug-induced, bewildering, inexplicable rape, challenged even Dworkin’s sense of context and theory. The confusion of that night is grippingly revealed over the course of the narrative. She was reading a book in the garden of her hotel, drinking a kir royale. She enjoyed reflecting that this was the first time in her life when men left her alone to enjoy a book and a drink in a public space without intruding on her space and contemplation. Or so she thought.

When suddenly she felt unwell, she struggled to the elevator, praying she could just get back to her room. She passed out on her bed. She rose some time later to call for room service. She remembers a young man entering her room with a pass key— she never opened the door. He brought her food. Then nothing. She remembers nothing of what happened next until she awakes in the morning with deep bloody scratches between her legs and a bruise on her left breast. She feels an injury within. She has no memory of how it happened. She suspects the bartender and imagines he was aided by the young man who brought her food, who saw that she was drugged, who knew she would be unable to fight back or complain. 

It is this confusion that overlays the entire play. But her confusion over what happened that night in Paris is the most straight-forward uncertainty. What haunts Dworkin, and her audience, is the bewilderment of “how”. How could she be raped again when she swore she would die or kill first? How could a woman in her 50s, reading a book in a garden in her hotel, wake up with bruises and bloody scratches? And how could a man rape a corpse— a lifeless body with no ability to resist and no awareness to fight. If sex is about power, what is the power in raping a “dead” woman? And how can she recover, contextualize, theorize, a rape she cannot remember; hours lost to a rapist that she can only reconstruct imaginatively, in nightmares?

Worse, perhaps, “how could this have happened to me?”, is her painful refrain. In the trauma of the experience Dworkin loses herself and her own trenchant analysis of rape, obsessively questioning all the ways and reasons why she wasn’t “asking for it.” It’s as if all of her insight was also taken by the amnesic drug her perpetrator used against her. The audience weeps as this rape proves to be the downfall of this magnificent feminist. Dworkin hid from the public for a year, finally writing about this rape only once in 2000 in the New Statesman. She was confronted by fierce criticism, doubt, disbelief. The “how could this happen to me?” became “did this really happen to you?”


Andrea Dworkin wrote her final book, Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant, in 2002, then withdrew from public life for the remaining years of her life. She attributed her declining health to the rape in Paris. When she died of acute myocarditis in 2005, her partner understood that she had died of a broken heart. It is so bitterly ironic that rape killed Andrea Dworkin when she swore she would kill her rapist.

How the Niqab Overshadowed the Wilno Killings

Monday, October 19, 2015

Read this op-ed about feminism, violence against women and election politics.

Feminist Movie Today at Fauteux Hall: The Hunting Ground

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Shirley Greenberg Chair Presents "The Hunting Ground" , a documentary treating sexual violence on university campuses. The documentary will be followed by an expert panel of women's anti-violence activists.

When: 4 to 7 pm.
Where: FTX 147




Assisted Human Reproduction: Ontario's recent reforms

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Read this op-ed by uOttawa law professor Vanessa Gruben on recent changes to Ontario's policy on assisted human reproduction.

FAFIA's statment in support of Niqabi women

The Feminist Alliance for International Action ( FAFIA) today released a statement calling in the leaders of all federal parties not to target niqab-wearing women in the name of women's equality. The statement goes on to say that equality is a value of profound importance, and it should not be deployed as a tool to promote suspicion and discrimination against women who belong to a religious minority.

With Strings Attached? Cash Transfers and Women’s Empowerment in Argentina, Bolivia and South Africa

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The School of International Development and Global Studies presents:

With Strings Attached? Cash Transfers and Women’s Empowerment in Argentina, Bolivia and South Africa

Susan Spronk
Melisa Handl

Tuesday October 20, 2015
12:00pm-1:00pm
Social Sciences Building (FSS), Room FSS 6032

Registration required: RSVP at EDIM.SIDGS@uottawa.ca
(Conférence en anglais)

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Susan Spronk is Associate Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies and an associate researcher with the Municipal Services Project, which investigates alternatives to privatization in health, water and electricity in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Melisa Handl is an Argentine lawyer and a PhD student in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa (Canada). Her research interests include gender, development and international human rights. 

_______________________________________________________

L'École du développement international et mondialisation présente:

Trop de conditionnalités? Transferts monétaires et autonomisation des femmes en Argentine, Bolivie et en Afrique du Sud

Susan Spronk
Melisa Handl

Mardi, 20 octobre 2015
12:00 à 13h00
Faculté des sciences sociales (FSS) - Salle 6032

Inscription requise: RSVP à EDIM.SIDGS@uottawa.ca
(Conférence en anglais)

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Susan Spronk est professeure agrégée à l'École de développement international et mondialisation, et chercheure associée avec le Municipal Service Project, qui explore les alternatives à la privatisation dans les secteurs de la santé, de l'eau et l'énergie domestique en Amérique latine, en Afrique et en Asie.


Melisa Handl est une avocate argentine et étudiante au doctorat à la Faculté de droit de l’Université d’Ottawa (Canada). Ses intérêts de recherche portent sur l'égalité, le développement et les droits humains.

Prof. Jennifer Bond in the New York Times

Friday, October 9, 2015

uOttawa Law's Prof. Jennifer Bond has been doing amazing work on the global refugee crisis. She is quoted here on the latest initiatives to bring more refugees in crisis to Canada.

Don't Feed The Trolls

Read this opinion piece by Denise Reame on feminism, the niqab and electoral politics.

Niqab Policy Promotes Discrimination

by Shelagh Day

The more you learn about the federal policy on the niqab issue, the more absurd it becomes.  Press reports do not tell the details of the court case or reveal the real circumstances of the citizenship ceremony. It helps to look beyond the current cut lines.

Zunera Ishaq comes from Pakistan and is a devout Sunni Muslim. She says that her religious beliefs obligate her to wear a veil that covers most of her face. She will unveil herself to a stranger only if it is absolutely necessary to prove her identity, or for purposes of security, and even then only privately in front of other women.

In December 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) announced a new policy requiring all persons to take the citizenship oath with their faces uncovered. CIC told the Federal Court that the reason for this new policy was “concerns that citizenship candidates were not actually reciting the oath”.

You might wonder why reciting the oath, and being seen to recite the oath, is crucial. By the time candidates get to a citizenship ceremony they have already been granted citizenship. They have met all the requirements and are going through the final formalities. They have passed a citizenship exam and their identity has been confirmed for security purposes. Ms. Ishaq removed her face veil in order to be identified.

After reciting the oath each candidate signs a form certifying that she has taken the oath of citizenship. The Federal Court found that it is the candidate’s signature on this form, rather than a visual confirmation of the candidate saying the oath, that is the proof needed that a candidate has taken the oath of citizenship.

Nonetheless, at the ceremony, the candidates, as a group, recite the oath. Depending on where and when the ceremony is held, there may be 20 or 50 candidates reciting the oath together. The 2011 policy is ostensibly intended to ensure that the citizenship judge can see the faces of the candidates reciting the oath. But a citizenship judge cannot reasonably be expected to keep track of exactly what is being said by 20 or 50 moving mouths in front of her. If seeing the candidates recite the oath is crucial, surely it should be done one by one, not in chorus.

But the 2011 policy stipulated that if a candidate did not remove a face covering while saying the oath during the citizenship ceremony, the Certificate of Citizenship would not be given, and citizenship would not be granted. It also stipulated that despite the fact that CIC’s website advises that there can be private citizenship ceremonies in urgent or extenuating circumstances, “under this new directive there are no options for private oath taking, or oath taking with a female official”.

For CIC to simply assert that the value of women’s equality is in issue does not amount to a justification for the discriminatory effects of the policy on Ms. Ishaq. If the no face covering policy were challenged in a human rights complaint – and it could easily have been, since citizenship judges seem to be providing a public service similar to that provided by marriage commissioners – CIC would be required to demonstrate that the policy is reasonably necessary to the pursuit of equality for women, and that accommodating Ms. Ishaq would be an undue hardship.

Where is the evidence that permitting a veiled woman to recite the citizenship oath is a serious threat to the achievement of women’s equality? Also, is agreeing not to wear a face veil for the one-minute citizenship oath an adequate measure of adherence to this value? Surely, there could be more meaningful tests, ones that might apply to men as well.

However, if we do not want to test all candidates for citizenship about their commitment to women’s equality, then this policy simply targets niqab-wearing Muslim women, treats them as “un-Canadian” and suspicious, and promotes a discriminatory attitude towards them that has already caused violence.

 
This column was first published in the Canadian Human Rights Reporter’s View Point. Shelagh Day is the President and Senior Editor of the Canadian Human Rights Reporter. 



Niqabi Women's Rights Are Respected Here

Thursday, October 8, 2015




Niqabi Women’s Rights Are Respected Here

Red Dress or REDRESS day

Monday, October 5, 2015




















By: Prof. Elizabeth Sheehy

In honour of Red Dress or REDRESS day, calling attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women, I am sending this gentle reminder that the Walking With Our Sisters Collaborative Memorial installation at Carleton University’s art gallery continues only until October 16th, when it moves on to another city.

Wakefield feminist artist cj fleury  wrote to me last week, describing her experience of the work:

Hello from cj:

This is an amazing installation that will be on till the middle of October!

You have probably heard about the project already?   The entire effort is volunteer, meaning minimal poster/postering; so I humbly extend this news your way.  There is more info, w/links below....

I had the opportunity to experience the space, one of many folks helping set up. In my first walk through the partially-assembled installation, I could have spent an hour every 3 feet.  It was soooo incredibly moving, and beautiful, majestic, powerful, humble, deep..important, unique..timely!    The work, more than art, is amazing in so many ways.

Through ceremony, the installation becomes a sacred space and it will be...is... nothing like I have ever witnessed in any gallery before. 

I wish for you the chance, the time to experience this space...besides the stunning visuals, to see the amazing way the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls have been honoured; to see the pain of loss, abuse and disrespect transformed into a magnificent work of peace, beauty and hope.   

If you are unable to go, a facebook page shares the vision of Walking With Our Sisters.

My partner, my daughter and I visited Walking with Our Sisters, reviewed this week by Peter Hum, yesterday. The minute we walked into the space a wave of grief washed over us. The room is charged with energy, but the protocols in place help to manage the intensity. Drummers and singers were finishing a song as we entered.  Removing one’s shoes, as requested, and walking without them on a cold floor is both grounding and a physical link to the vamps—the upper portion of moccasins that the exhibit is composed of—left unfinished to represent women’s lives cut short, fragments of shoes unable to guard against the cold and rough terrain. An elder was there to smudge us before entering, and we were given small bags of tobacco to hold near our hearts—close enough to smell as you walked though the exhibit.

The vamps were arranged in rows around the perimeter of the room, on one strip of white cloth and a parallel strip of red cloth. Were the two lines meant to represent the Two Row Wampum—the oldest treaty relationship between Indigenous peoples and European settlers? Another display of vamps was in the centre of the room on cloth shaped like a canoe. In the far corner was another display of vamps of children’s shoes—the children who never came home from residential schools. Fresh cedar boughs and small bags of medicines as well as several ceremonial displays punctuated the vamps.

And the vamps: all made by volunteers, many memorialize individual women, with their names, photographs and date of disappearance. Others are designs—crosses, flowers, birds, animals, and abstract designs, embroidered, painted or fashioned of beads, felt, ribbons, pinecones, shells, fur and feathers. With the (incongruous) exception of two identical sets of Ottawa Police Service vamps (using their insignia) each set is individual and unique. Some are exquisitely beautiful, like the delicately beaded robins; some are political, like the set that used a nametag on each, one reading My Name Is and the other reading Who Cares?; and others are playful—one set has felted 3D frogs squatting on the vamps and another uses Superman’s symbol.


Together the 1763 pairs of vamps evoke a collective loss of Indigenous women’s lives and futures. At the same time, this installation captures the dignity of their differences and their individual lives—some very young, others old, from all the regions of this country, speaking many different languages and coming from different peoples, some confirmed dead, others still missing. By holding together both the collective wrong—what unites these women, their disappearances and our neglect—and the respect and care devoted to each woman’s life, the vamps that constitute Walking With Our Sisters remind us that mourning and working for change walk hand-in-hand.

Screening Prospective Jurors for Racial Prejudice

Thursday, October 1, 2015

uOttawa Law's own Prof. Rakhi Ruparelia penned this article in the CBA's National Magazine on screening prospective jurors for racial prejudice.
Designed by Rachel Gold.