Parental rights of rape survivors topic of Oct. 4 talk

October 2, 2012 | Events, UToday
By Brittany Asmus

Shauna Prewitt, a Chicago-based attorney and advocate for rape victims who bear children conceived in rape, will speak about her experiences and the limited legal protections afforded to mothers of rape-conceived children.


She will speak Thursday, Oct. 4, at noon in Law Center Room 1013.

Her free, public lecture is titled “The Absence of Laws Restricting the Parental Rights of Men Who Father Through Rape.”

Prewitt is an author, attorney, advocate and public speaker. She conceived a child as a result of rape while a student at the University of Chicago. Having made the difficult decision to raise her child, she was forced to battle her rapist for custody of the child.

After enduring these events, Prewitt committed to changing custody laws around the nation. In August 2006, she enrolled at the Georgetown University Law Center and began to examine the custody rights of men who father through rape. After learning only a small number of states protected survivor-mothers, she sought to answer the question “Why?”

Her efforts culminated in the article “Giving Birth to a Rapist’s Child: A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape” published in the Georgetown Law Journal.

Prewitt graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2009 and is a litigation attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates in Chicago.

“Ms. Prewitt’s advocacy reveals a large gap in our legal system’s protection of women who mother through rape,” said Kara Bruce, UT assistant professor of law. “Her experiences lead us to question how we as a nation think, speak and legislate on the topic of rape. I am glad that The University of Toledo College of Law is working to encourage awareness of this issue among UT students and the local legal community.”

The lecture is sponsored by the Women’s Law Student Association, Public Interest Law Association, Student Bar Association, UT College of Law and the Toledo Women’s Bar Association.

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