Case study 1#
Case study 2#
Medical doctor and euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke is visiting to
Case study 3#
A young woman was raped by four English rugby players. Few seem to believe the 'sex' wasn't consensual and many simply don't care, blaming the woman regardless. The woman has the right to give her account, and no shortage of media willing to publish it; but she, and we, know that to do so would bring a new barrage of cruel attacks on her actions and her character. A law professor publicly questioned her choice to write an anonymous letter about her experiences: this is not the right way for a rape victim to communicate, apparently, and makes her look suspicious. Members of the public are speculating about the woman on blogs, in pubs and elsewhere. The woman has the right to free speech but is justifiably too afraid to use it.
Free speech is a philosophical and practical problem which we debate and negotiate every day. I'm not saying it's unimportant, but I don't rate it as highly as the other ethics I hold dear as a feminist – and we've all seen instances in which the right to free speech is used to hinder feminist or other socially progressive activities. I don't consider the right to free speech more important than, for example, the right of a queer person to feel safe and valued in their community; but then again, I don't have any ideas about how the right to free speech could fairly or realistically be curbed. Most people believe the individual's right to speak should at some point be outweighed by the communities' rights, but where should that point be set?
I look forward to your comments!