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  • Writer's pictureMichigan Journal of Gender & Law Online

MJGL Volume 27 Issue 2 is Here!

Volume 27 Issue 2 of the Michigan Journal of Gender & Law can be found here, at the University of Michigan Law Library Repository.

Here's a look at the pieces inside the most current MJGL issue:


World Peace and Gender Equality: Addressing UN Security Council Resolution 1325’s Weaknesses by Elizabeth Griffiths, Sara Jarman, and Eric Talbot Jensen

Abstract: The year 2020 marks the twentieth anniversary of the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution (“UNSCR”) 1325, the most important moment in the United Nations’ efforts to achieve world peace through gender equality. Over the past several decades, the international community has strengthened its focus on gender, including the relationship between gender and international peace and security. National governments and the United Nations have taken historic steps to elevate the role of women in governance and peacebuilding. The passage of UNSCR 1325 in 2000 foreshadowed what many hoped would be a transformational shift in international law and politics. However, the promise of gender equality has gone largely unrealized, despite the uncontroverted connection between treatment of women and the peacefulness of a nation.

This Article argues for the first time that to achieve international peace and security through gender equality, the United Nations Security Council should transition its approach from making recommendations and suggestions to issuing mandatory requirements under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. If the Security Council and the international community believe gender equality is the best indicator of sustainable peace, then the Security Council could make a finding under Article 39 with respect to ‘a threat to the peace’—States who continue to mistreat women and girls pose a threat to international peace and security.

The Stability Paradox: The Two-Parent Paradigm and the Perpetuation of Violence Against Women in Termination of Parental Rights and Custody Cases by Judith Lewis

Abstract: Despite changing family compositions, entrenched in family law is the antiquated idea that a two-parent household, or its approximation vis-à-vis a shared custody arrangement, promotes stability and integrity and, thus, is in the best interest of the child. Yet, the concept that the two-parent household (or shared involvement of both parents in the child’s life if the parents separate) promotes stability for the family and is best for the child is a dangerous fallacy. When rape or intimate partner violence (IPV) is present, or the re-occurrence of violence remains a threat, the family unit is far from stable.

This Article explores the legal system’s glorification of the nuclear family, its resistance to shifting away from the two-parent paradigm, and how this resistance creates a stability paradox and perpetuates violence against women and children. The harmful impact that the nuclear family paradigm has on families is further explored by an examination of the statutory constructs and judicial interpretations of termination of parental rights (TPR) and custody statutes in cases where a child is conceived as a result of rape or exposed to ongoing IPV.

Cases are utilized to examine how courts have interpreted parental rights statutes where a child is conceived as a result of rape. Additionally, a hypothetical case is discussed to explore arguments that may be advanced in TPR cases where children are exposed to ongoing IPV. The Article finds that although there are inherent problems in enacting statutes to terminate parental rights in cases involving rape or IPV, legislation is also a necessary tool for survivors. Model legislation is proposed for termination of parental rights in cases where a child is conceived as a result of a sexual offense or when a child is exposed to ongoing IPV


The Intersection of Wrongful Convictions and Gender in Cases Where Women Were Sentenced to Death or Life in Prison Without Parole by Connor F. Lang

Abstract: This Note examines National Registry of Exonerations data and discusses the prevalence of false confessions and presence of a child victim in cases of women who were convicted of murder, received a serious sentence, and were later exonerated. After looking at the cases of women exonerated after receiving death sentences or life without parole sentences in light of the prevalence of these factors, this Note argues that examination of the cases reveals that the presence of a false confession or a child victim may have contributed to some of the wrongful convictions where these factors may have led to the women being viewed as having failed to conform to society’s expectations for women. This Note then discusses why evidence that portrayed the women as having violated society’s expectations could not have been excluded at trial and why exclusion in future cases through the rules of evidence or new legislation is challenging. This Note concludes by arguing that an awareness of how gender can contribute to wrongful convictions or the imposition of harsher sentences can help attorneys and judges guard against gender affecting the outcomes of criminal proceedings.

Resolutions Without Resolve: Turning Away from UN Security Council Resolutions to Address Conflict-Related Sexual Violence by Emma K. Macfarlane

Abstract: In 2008, the United Nations first recognized rape as a war crime with the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1820. Since then, the fight against conflict-related sexual violence has become a frequent subject of Security Council Resolutions. But what, if anything, has changed? Wartime sexual violence is still prevalent today and shows no signs of slowing down. This Note argues that Security Council Resolutions are not an effective method to prevent conflict-related sexual violence. The procedural weaknesses in passing Security Council Resolutions and the structure of the Security Council itself may do more harm than good to the efforts to end wartime sexual violence. Instead, this Note finds a solution in an unlikely realm: using voluntary pollution prevention programs as a template to address wartime sexual violence. In examining the parallels between the two issues, this Note suggests a new framework for addressing wartime sexual violence, relying on three factors in particular: adequate and consistent funding to key organizations, regular and credible monitoring of vulnerable communities, and the credible threat of enforcement.

Criminal Record Relief for Human Trafficking Survivors: Analysis of Current State Statutes and the Need for a Federal Model Statute by Ashleigh Pelto

Abstract: This Note defines criminal record relief and analyzes the effectiveness of three state criminal record relief statutes at protecting trafficking survivors. This analysis is based on State Report Cards: Grading Criminal Record Relief Laws for Survivors of Human Trafficking by Polaris, a leading human trafficking nonprofit. It next discusses the absence of federal criminal record relief and how a statute at the federal level could provide relief for survivors with federal convictions while simultaneously providing a model for states to ensure their statutes incorporate best practices for record relief moving forward. This Note then discusses how Polaris’s report stops short of providing a model statute for states to draw from. Finally, this Note provides a best practice statute based on Polaris’s evaluation criteria and recommends it be added as an amendment to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.


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