Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Rights

The walk from my dorm to the Law School is so pretty
Today I decided to wake up earlier than I usually do, which for me meant 7 AM, and had breakfast at the RPCC. It was too bad I didn’t know that many other people chose to do the same.  The line for swiping the Cornell card extended from the third floor of the community center to the outside of the main door on the first floor. It was jam packed, but I made it through eventually.

Most of my friends were asleep, I’m assuming, and I couldn’t find anyone to sit next to inside. I usually don’t mind sitting by myself, because I can appreciate good me time and don’t necessarily have to be surrounded by a huge group of people to feel validated. This morning, the last thing that I wanted was to be alone. Everyone was seated with his or her posse. I awkwardly wandered around the dining hall for a bit before deciding to sit next to someone new that might also be seeking company.

 As a result, I met Frances. She is from Shanghai, China and came to the U.S for the Debate and Rhetoric class because she wants to do a lot of public speaking in the future. We talked about the nature of assignments and in-class activities that are part of our courses. The Debate and Rhetoric course is obviously debated heavy. I thought that they would be having heated arguments in class about controversial societal and political issues, but it turns out that a lot of what is discussed isn’t really all that heavy. The most recent conversation that they have had according to Frances is whether or not sugary drinks should be sold and distributed in school cafeterias.            

Frances and I exchanged contact information and made plans to study together at the Uris library some day. Because debating skills go hand in hand with persuading International Organizations, we might be able to help one another in more ways than one.

Wall near the 5th floor of South Balch.
I love walking by it. 
I walked to class, alone again, but this time content with the nature surrounding me. My former AP world history teacher, Ms. Krieger practiced a form of meditation called mindfulness with us every single morning. I noticed that I was being mindful and practicing the techniques she spoke of today on the way to the Law school. It emphasized for me the importance of having mentors and educators that leave a mark on you.

Professor Brundige will definitely be one of the most impactful educators that I have had the opportunity to learn from, I’m sure of it. In class today, she spoke about women’s rights being human rights and what that meant for the international community. What made the professor’s words even more inspiring was the fact that she’s an actual activist and has worked to prevent violations of the rights of women for many years.

In particular, we examined the Castle Rock v. Gonzales case, which was about Jessica Lenahan-Gonzales; a resident of the town of Castle Rock in Oregon who had filed and obtained a restraining order against her abusive husband Simon during their divorce in 1999. Simon was known for using emotional blackmail and threats of suicide as a means to control and torment his family, so Jessica did what was best for her children (they had 3 daughters together) and the judges ordered that her ex-husband stays stay at least 100 yards away from her and her children. He was however given visitation hours. On June 22 that same year, Simon disregarded the orders and kidnapped all three of his daughters. Jessica noticed this and notified the police 9 times (twice in person). They chose not to take any action, and at 3:20 AM faced a shoot-out with Simon ending in his death. His three daughters were found dead in the trunk believed to have been murdered by him beforehand.

Reading the case, watching the video, and witnessing the pain and hurt that Jessica witnessed angered me very much. I felt even more disgusted that the Supreme Court didn’t consider her right to life and security. Instead, they dismissed the case because they didn’t think that the city should have been held responsible for the due process. I don’t understand or like that decision because I personally feel as though there’s no reason you should have restraining orders in the first place if they’re not going to be taken seriously. It’ll provide the victim with a false sense of security, that’s all. The only decision that made sense to me was the Inter-American Commission’s analysis of the case in which they ruled in Jessica’s favor, recognized the human rights violation, and made recommendations to the state.

Jessica is now a spokesperson for the thousands of other women facing issues of domestic violence and not being offered the assistance that they deserve and need.

 We also spoke about gender-based violence and the right to be free from domestic violence in general and were asked to find local remedies to these issues. My group came up with spreading awareness through education, teaching self-defense, and providing anonymous safe spaces for survivors of violence.

Robson, Noor, Deven, and I met at the Cornell store near Ho Plaza at 1 PM to pick out our sweatshirts. I had a hard time choosing what to get but eventually settled for a black simple jumper with “Cornell” stated boldly across it in red.

You will get a picture of us in the clothing we purchased on the blog soon!

From 2:00 to 3:30 PM was the class’s TA session. Diogo spoke about abortion rights and we tried to argue each and every argument. It was tough but important. As a human rights advocate, you have to know the many different perspectives on issues you are attempting to fix, if you want to bring about any real change.

I got back to the dorm, read the assigned pages for homework, blogged, and had dinner at the RPCC, which took, up most of my remaining time.

Professor Brundige will definitely be one of those educators, I’m sure of it. In class, she spoke very eloquently about the

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