"Jessica Lenahan and Her Long Fight for Justice"
TUESDAY, JANUARY 28
Harrison-Small Special Collections Library Auditorium
Presented by the School of Nursing; the Women's Center Sexual & Domestic Violence Services; Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies; the School of Law's Human Rights Program; the Cultural Programming Board; the American Indian Student Union; and the Gender Violence Working Group
In the first case brought by a survivor of domestic violence against the U.S. before an international human rights tribunal, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found that the United States violated the human rights of Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales) and her children. In June 1999, Jessica Gonzales' three young daughters, ages seven, nine and ten, were abducted by Simon Gonzales, their father and Jessica's estranged husband. Although Jessica Gonzales repeatedly called the police, telling them of her fears for her daughters' safety, they failed to respond. Hours later, Simon Gonzales drove his truck to the police department and opened fire. He was shot dead by the police. The bodies of the three girls—dead from gunshot wounds--were subsequently discovered in the back of his truck.
Lenahan's case not only exposed the failure of the United States to protect women and children from domestic violence, but also revealed how historic oppression has put marginalized women, particularly at even higher risk for victimization. Jessica Lenahan will discuss the impact of her case, her long fight to learn if her daughters were slain by their father or in the firefight with the police, and the struggle to achieve justice for survivors and victims of domestic violence. A reception will follow Ms. Lenahan's presentation.