Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Conference to explore whether gender violence is a hate crime

Last fall, school shootings in Bailey, Colo., and Nickel Mines, Pa., took the lives of six young women. Those crimes and the debate about whether they should be recognized as hate crimes sparked the idea for “Sex Politics & Gender Violence,” a conference at DU’s Sturm College of Law Feb. 23–March 3.

“It was completely different from other school violence,” says Sherri Catalano, noting that the perpetrators targeted girls. 

Catalano, a second year law student, helped organize the student-run conference and says the law currently doesn’t recognize gender crimes as hate crimes, a designation which typically results in harsher penalties.

Speakers will include professors, including several of DU’s own, as well as attorneys and policymakers from around the country. The midday and evening lectures are for anyone curious about the issue of gender violence, while the Saturday agenda focuses specifically on legal implications. Topics include pornography, culture and religion as they relate to the construction of gender.

“The idea of feminine and masculine roles in society and all the environmental conditions that create the dynamics between men and women go into construction of gender,” Catalano says.

One lecture is titled “Pornography is to Sex What McDonald’s is to Food: Organizing Against Pornography in a Junk-Sex Culture.” Catalano says opposing viewpoints are welcome and encouraged. Law school Dean Beto Juarez and Associate Professor Kristian Miccio, a longtime women’s rights advocate, will speak on Saturday. A complete list of events is available online.

Registration is required for Saturday’s event, which is free if not taken for credit. The event on Saturday is eligible for CLE credit for a $40 fee. All other events are free, but donations will be accepted and will help fund next year’s conference.

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