Martha Nussbaum is a renowned philosopher, professor, and author of Citadels of Pride: Sexual Abuse, Accountability, and Reconciliation. We discuss the objectification of women, progress in holding perpetrators and the system accountable, and a radical form of justice.
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Pride and greed are vices of domination that are at the root of sexual harassment and assault. Narcissistic gender pride casts women as objects to be used, instead of full human beings. This objectification has made it acceptable to subjugate women. Greed prevents holding the rich and powerful members of society accountable, often making it easier for them to offend repeatedly with impunity.
Sexual Assault and Harassment
Sexual assault and harassment are abuses of power, most often of men over women. Sexual harassment is a federal offense, defined as unwanted sexual discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which includes hostile work environments, and a pattern of unwelcome discrimination by gender. It can be purely verbal and discriminatory. By contrast, sexual assault means any non-consensual sexual act that includes a wide range from touching to rape, and depends on each state. This is a crime, and thus is prosecuted at the state level.
Radical Love and Justice
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for purifying anger and discarding retributive punishment. Retribution and outrage do not create healing or overcome grief. Instead, he proposed combining outrage with a forward-looking faith and a love of humans that recognizes the root of goodness in everyone. Seeking justice through reconciliation and love is a radical way to construct new structures and new relationships, free of revenge and retribution.
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Martha C. Nussbaum is currently the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in both the Department of Philosophy and the Law School. In addition, she is an Associate in the Classics Department, the Divinity School, and the Political Science Department and a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies. She received her BA from New York University and her MA and PhD from Harvard University. She has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities.
Professor Nussbaum is internationally renowned for her work in Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, feminist philosophy, political philosophy, and philosophy and the arts and is actively engaged in teaching and advising students in these subjects. She has received numerous awards and honorary degrees and is the author of many books and articles. She has received honorary degrees from sixty-three colleges and universities in the US, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.