Home Truth: A Film Screening and Discussion on Domestic Violence and Human Rights

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
390 (Cap:104)
Open To:
Patricia Hall

In 1999, Colorado mother Jessica Gonzales experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when her three young daughters were killed after being abducted by their father in violation of a domestic violence restraining order. Devastated, Jessica sued her local police department for failing to adequately enforce her restraining order despite her repeated calls for help that night. Determined to make sure her daughters did not die in vain, Jessica pursues her case to the US Supreme Court and an international human rights tribunal, seeking to strengthen legal rights for domestic violence victims. Meanwhile, her relationship with her one surviving child, her son Jessie, suffers, as he struggles with the tragedy in his own way. Filmed over the course of nine years, HOME TRUTH chronicles one family’s pursuit of justice, shedding light on how our society responds to domestic violence and how the trauma from domestic violence tragedies can linger throughout generations. Jessica’s case is now studied in textbooks around the country, and the domestic violence advocacy community refers to her work and her case as one of the most significant legal cases in the history of the movement. Here in Tompkins County, N.Y., county and local governments looked to Jessica’s case, several citing it directly, in adopting resolutions that declared that freedom from domestic violence is a fundamental human right. Through its efforts to implement these resolutions by strengthening local domestic violence prevention and response, our community has sought to help carry on Jessica’s important legacy. Panel discussions will follow both screenings with: Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales), Petitioner in Lenahan v. USA April Hayes, Director/Producer, Home Truth Katia Maguire, Director/Producer, Home Truth Caroline Bettinger-López, Professor at the University of Miami School of Law and former White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Lenora Lapidus, Director of the Women's Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union Heather Campbell, Executive Director, Advocacy Center of Tompkins County Elizabeth Brundige, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School (moderator) Co-sponsors: Berger International Legal Affairs Program at Cornell Law School, Dorothea S. Clarke Program in Feminist Jurisprudence at Cornell Law School; Advocacy Center of Tompkins County; Gender Justice Clinic at Cornell Law School; Finger Lakes Women’s Bar Association; Tompkins County Human Rights Commission; Tompkins County Office of Human Rights; and Women’s Resource Center at Cornell University For additional information about the film, see http://www.hometruthfilm.com/thefilm/. For an 8 minute video about the Lenahan case, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvPtMCrl4J4 For additional information about the Lenahan/Castle Rock case, see the websites of the University of Miami Human Rights Clinic, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.