Wendy Murphy

Wendy Murphy, pictured above, is a nationally recognized prosecutor who also has been a commentator on numerous national news shows about crimes against women. She will be the keynote speaker on March 22 as part of University of the Pacific's Women's History Month celebration.

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Nationally Recognized Sexual Violence Expert to Speak at Pacific

Wendy Murphy’s discussion about rape and the messages that surround sex crimes
by Lily PenfoldFeb 23, 2012

Rape is a violent sex crime, and most laws address it as just that. But according to Wendy Murphy, that entirely misses the point. At its core, rape isn't just about forced sex, rather it is a violation of a person's human rights.

Murphy, a national expert on the legal and cultural responses to sexual violence, will give the keynote address at University of the Pacific's Women's History Month celebration.  Her speech starts at 7 p.m. March 22 in the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center Ballroom.

Murphy has spent most of her life trying to change misconceptions about interpersonal violence and sex crimes. She began her career as a prosecutor in Middlesex County, handling child abuse and sex crimes. Murphy also ran her own private law firm where she focused on violent crimes that affect children and women.

Murphy wrote the ground-breaking book for victim-advocates, "And Justice for Some," and has been featured as a legal analyst for CBS, CNN, ABC, Fox News, and MSNBC.  Currently, Murphy is an adjunct professor at New England School of Law, Boston where she helped establish the law school's Judicial Language Project, the first of its kind in the country. She also teaches courses in sexual violence.

Recently, Murphy has embarked on analysis of the messaging that is disseminated about sexual violence. While rape is a sex crime, it is also a violation of citizenship and the basic civil liberties citizens are granted, she said, and she is an advocate to change the messaging in the mainstream media.

"Rape effects a wide demographic of society, and changing the way people view rape is progress in the right direction," said Corrie Martin, director of the Women's Resource Center. "Pacific needs a speaker like Murphy to empower college students to think differently about how we see and talk about sexual violence."

Murphy's presentation is one of many that comprise Women's History Month in March. The kick-off event to the month long celebration is a viewing of the documentary film "MissRepresentation" at 5:30 p.m. on March 13 in the Janet Leigh Theatre, followed by a lecture presented by filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Other events include an indigenous women's fashion show on March 20th and the 11th Annual Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon on April 11.

For more information on Women's History Month visit go.pacific.edu/womenshistory.

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about the author

Lily Penfold   Lily Penfold is the Media Relations Assistant at Pacific and also a graduate student in the Communication Department of the College of the Pacific.

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