Stolen Election: Stacey Abrams and the Enduring Legacy of Reconstruction

Stacey Abrams lost the election for Georgia's Governorship - or so the record shows. But really, did she?

In Georgia, GOP voter suppression efforts were in full swing before and during the last election. Even a cursory review of the data raises serious questions about the integrity of the voting rolls. And this is not by accident.

Georgia is a prime example of what has been happening throughout the country and will continue to deprive significant portions of the American electorate of having a real say in their democracy. Since before 2013, when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act--courtesy of Justice Roberts--the GOP has successfully waged a war on minority voters and other voters more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. In her book "One Person, No Vote," Carol Anderson draws a near-perfect arch between post Civil War Reconstruction and Jim Crow laws to current GOP efforts. This arch does not bend towards justice. The reality is that until and unless w…

Face It, Victimizing Women in the US is Only "Technically" Illegal.

I sat across from my husband after another day at the office. During that day, my clients reported that they had tried to report rapes, domestic violence, and physical assaults to the police and district attorneys. Desperate, they told me the police had done nothing or told them they had waited "too long"--in that case, three days, during which said client had been hospitalized as a result of the assault. It happens every day in my office. It happens every day around the country. So as I tried to explain why this keeps happening the truth I carry inside me finally became a complete thought and statement, "Because raping and assaulting women is only technically illegal. But not actually illegal." I've been running through that assertion for the past few weeks and, unfortunately, the accuracy of it is inescapable.

I often tell my children that when someone puts "technically" in front of a statement, what follows is probably not true. I technically didn…

This Country Never Cared For Its Women - Nothing Changed This Weekend

The world is just the same as it was before the confirmation. We’re just angrier about it. And that’s okay. But nothing has changed. After days of ire and frustration and disappointment, I landed back on that, which calmed me.

I represent victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. A lot of my work is explaining to judges, to lawyers, to human services employees, to district attorneys, and law enforcement that domestic abuse and rape exist, in my case. That’s it. The biggest challenge, nowadays, is not convincing people that domestic abuse and rape exist in general or that they are bad. (And no, those were not a given even ten years ago). The challenge is to convince people that right now, right here, in the case before them, they are looking at it. That’s because victimization of women is widespread, is understood to be widespread, but there is a false notion that it happens “but not here.”
A lot of my work is also explaining to victims, my clients, that neither the police nor the j…

From Brett to Brock: The Prerogative of White Male Comfort

As the fallout from Prof. Christine Ford Blasey's accusation against Judicial Nominee Brett Kavanaugh unfolds, the arguments in his defense take on the usual tried-and-tested forms. The first reaction--the one that is so immediate it is basically contemporaneous--is that Prof. Blasey must be lying. She must be lying. She must be. Then comes the recognition that even if she is saying some of the truth, she must have been confused. Maybe it was just "rough horseplay." And then comes the cavalry: his youth at the time of the alleged offense must be taken into consideration, whoever he was back then is not who he is now, and look at this proverbial "good guy." He coaches volleyball, for heaven's sakes. If these arguments feel familiar, it's because they are. When Brock Turner, a University of Stanford swim team rapist, raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, the arguments that succeeded in only forcing him to serve three months of jail time were that…

Sexual Harassment as an Act of Aggression.

Sexual harassment is often misunderstood as separate and apart from sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence. But it is not separate. In fact, it shares fundamental attributes with those mechanisms of oppression: 1) an exertion of power & dominion over the victim; 2) gaslighting and 3) common progression to outright physical violence. Understanding that sexual harassment is not "flirting gone wrong" or the result of "misunderstandings" and "overly sensitive"  women is critical to understanding its roots and how to address it.
Sexual harassment is common across all professions although it occurs at higher rates in some professions rather than others. According to the EEOC 85% of women are sexually harassed at work. Still according to the EEOC, 45% of harassment claims are sex-based. And a whopping 75% of harassment victims experience retaliation after reporting. (And we wonder why women don't come forward quickly and vocally). While some have r…

The Sanctity of Abortion Access: Survival Is Not Optional.

Up to 31,000 women die every year from botched abortions and seven million are injured or made ill. Guttmacher Institute. Every sixteen minutes, therefore, a woman in the world dies because of an illegal abortion. That number is down from 2007, thanks to legalization of abortions and higher access to contraception worldwide. But it is worth remembering that in 2007, the Guttmacher Institure reported, "Every eight minutes a woman dies somewhere in a developing country due to complications from an unsafe abortion." Guttmacher Institute, Aug. 2007.

Today, one woman will have died from an illegal abortion by the time you are finished reading this article. Many more died in the time it took me to write this. Let that sink in; feel the ticking clock of women, making desperate decisions, balancing the need to take care of themselves, their future, and their other children, laying down on a table, or a mattress, or a floor, staring at the ceiling and praying they make it. Every hou…

Poisoned Partnership and the Price of My Silence

This is the tale of how the acrimonious and ongoing dissolution of my former legal partnership forced me to face the ways in which women get silenced for the privilege of demanding what is owed to them. One way to break that cycle is to make my silence worthless. So here is my story. In 2016 I started freelancing for an attorney in Aspen, CO. His name is David A. Bovino of Immediately, I was doing a lot of legal research and writing, drafting, and strategizing legal arguments. It was good work which supplemented my budding solo practice. Eventually, he asked me if I wanted to take a share of the recovery in two cases (let's call them Case A and Case B) in exchange for not getting paid hourly. He also said I had to pay him back for what I had already earned on those cases. I found it a little petty but said fine and did so. I now had a share in Case A and Case B. As the weeks went by it became clear that I was doing the heavy lifting in these cases and had an exce…