Converse and convert

I stumbled upon an interesting website this week. In the wake of the failed plebiscite and planned postal vote on same-sex marriage, there’s so much noise around the issue that it really wasn’t hard to run into The Equality Campaign. Titled Having a conversation about marriage equality, this particular page struck me because it was so, well, familiar. “[R]eal life conversations are incredibly powerful. They’re what … Continue reading Converse and convert

My love-hate relationship with reality TV and the concept of marriage

Commercial TV is an evil genius. I don’t watch much of it these days, but somehow I got suckered into Married At First Sight. It’s just, y’know, I’m making dinner and my housemate likes to unwind in front of the box. So there I am, innocently frying my fish when she begins hooting with laughter. So I get drawn away from the stove (I am a walking fire hazard) and find it’s that show the boys were talking about the other day. The one I made fun of them about.

When they refer to the battle for the watercooler, this is exactly what they’re on about. Commercial TV has perfected the art of balancing the ridiculous and the relatable, the beautiful and the ugly, attraction and revulsion, to create programs like this. Shows you love to hate on and hate yourself for loving. Shows you can’t help but talk about.

Like I’m doing right now, on the night of Valentine’s Day, incidentally. Continue reading My love-hate relationship with reality TV and the concept of marriage

Re-entering the darkness

I wasn’t procrastinating – I actually wasn’t planning on ever reading the book. It was going to be one for the mantelpiece, to adorn the bookshelf. After all, I spent a year working for the organisation founded by the author, so I didn’t just know the content – I was living right amongst it.

It was a surprise, then, how much the opening chapters of The Locust Effect moved me. Two months back on board with International Justice Mission (IJM), now in Australia, and we’ve talked on a number of occasions about vicarious trauma. I’ve shared with my colleagues some of what I went through that year in Bolivia. They’ve shared about how advocating against cybersex trafficking has had a toxic personal effect on them. Continue reading Re-entering the darkness

Law, Music and other big nouns

Article 72 of the Third Geneva Convention (on the rights of Prisoners of War) specifies that POWs must be allowed musical instruments. The reason? So that they can “pursue their studies or their cultural activities.” Given that law – particularly international law – can be notoriously technical, simultaneously wordy and empty, this little detail reminds me that law can also be beautifully simple and human. Quite aside from its normative and … Continue reading Law, Music and other big nouns

External link to IJM Bolivia Cases Progress at ‘Rapid Pace’ Following New Law

IJM Bolivia Cases Progress at ‘Rapid Pace’ Following New Law

IJM Bolivia Cases Progress at ‘Rapid Pace’ Following New Law (my piece from the IJM Newsroom) LA PAZ, BOLIVIA, June 25, 2015 Thanks to a new law, IJM Bolivia has seen “miraculous” developments in the past eight months, according to Greg Tarrant, IJM Bolivia field office director. The Law to “Decongest and Effectivise” Criminal Procedures stole the media spotlight when passed at the end of October … Continue reading IJM Bolivia Cases Progress at ‘Rapid Pace’ Following New Law

Five fun facts about the Bolivia legal system

1. Since 2011, Supreme Court judges have been elected by popular vote. In January 2015, President Evo Morales admitted the justice system had gotten worse under this arrangement, and proposed a referendum to modify the constitution and reform the justice system. 2. Under Morales (that is, since 2006), there have been five female Ministers for Justice – no men have held this portfolio. 3. Until 30 October … Continue reading Five fun facts about the Bolivia legal system

More Than 140 Criminals Convicted for Violent Crimes So Far This Year

Reproduced from the IJM Newsroom: http://news.ijm.org/more-than-140-criminals-convicted-for-violent-crimes-so-far-this-year   Recent reports paint a dark picture of the violence facing millions of the world’s poor every day. Human trafficking generates $150 billion in annual profits, and nearly 36 million people are held in modern-day slavery. But few of the criminals perpetuating this violence are ever held accountable for their crimes.   IJM has been working to protect the poor … Continue reading More Than 140 Criminals Convicted for Violent Crimes So Far This Year

About my body

One of the differences I’ve noticed between Bolivia and Ecuador is that people don’t stare at me here. People don’t check me out head to toe and comment on my appearance, men don’t address me or try to get my attention in the street, I don’t get wolf-whistled by randoms or asked out by taxi drivers. I suppose it’s a good thing. Reflecting on that distinction … Continue reading About my body

Today I went to jail

The concrete walls soar straight up towards the sunny sky. It’s just like a fortress should be – a fortress founded smack bam in the middle of the city. San Pedro Penitentiary. IJM lawyer D says it’s a nasty place. “Horrible!” she affirms. Meanwhile, minibuses and motorbikes rumble past in the mid-morning traffic. The small side entrance opens and the unlit room we find ourselves in seems to … Continue reading Today I went to jail