La Trobe thought leaders take on big issues in law

La Trobe thought leaders take on big issues in law

La Trobe University’s academics are prominent contributors to The Conversation, and these authors have tackled important issues that get people talking.


Dr Nicola Henry

Everyday rape: let’s turn the spotlight on known perpetrators                     

Who is she?

Dr Nicola Henry is a senior lecturer in Legal Studies here at La Trobe. Her research focus has been on sexual violence and law, and she teaches in areas including social justice and human rights.

What did she say?

She co-authored Everyday rape: let’s turn the spotlight on known perpetrators with Anastasia Powell. The article tackles the issues surrounding acquaintance rape. The authors review Australian statistics relating to sexual assault and show that in Australia, one in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 and that 80-90 per cent of those victims will never report the crime to the police.

Why is it so important?

This article shows how violence against women is an issue of vital importance and highlights the new definition of rape that was introduced in Victoria in July 2015.

Find out more about Nicole Henry’s current research project.


Emeritus Dennis Altman

Opponents of same-sex marriage are losing touch with secular reality

Who is he?

Dennis Altman is a Professorial Fellow in Human Security and an influential figure in the movement towards equal civil rights for the GLGBTIQ community. His research has focused on exploring sexuality, and politics. He was involved in the gay liberation movement in New York in the 1970s and his book Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation is seen as a major contribution to the ideas that underpinned it. In 2006, he was listed as one of the 100 most influential Australians of all time.

What did he say?

His piece on The Conversation succinctly presents the same-sex movement in Australia. He signposts the introduction of the Marriage Amendment Bill in 2004 as the driving force behind the current movement for equal marriage rights, yet he concedes that he has always been a sceptic about its importance to gay liberation.

He believes there are broader issues for the GLGBTIQ community, but also that the spectrum of arguments against a change in law is by turns ridiculous and hypocritical, stating:

‘The current opponents of same-sex marriage have turned the debate into one that is about far more than just extending the term “marriage” to already existing long-term relationships.’

Why is the piece so important?

Citing a 2014 poll that showed 72 per cent of Australians believe in equal marriage rights, this article shows that governmental policy is lagging behind popular opinion on this issue and rejects the adherence to religious values in a secular culture.

Learn more about Dennis Altman.


Dr Suzanne Young

Rometty smashed IBM’s glass ceiling – now for equality across the board

Who is she?

Suzanne is Head of the Department of Management and Marketing at La Trobe. Her research focuses are corporate governance, corporate responsibility, leadership and management and employee relations. She is Director of the Graduate Certificate in Corporate Responsibility at La Trobe University and was influential in La Trobe becoming a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education.

What did she say?

This piece on The Conversation was inspired by the appointment of Virginia Rometty, the first female executive of IBM who was appointed as CEO. It tackles ideas surrounding women in high level executive positions, discussing the push and pull between merit and institutional sexism, looking at international case studies.

Why is it important?

Fifty per cent of university graduates are now female – so why aren’t they gaining more experience on boards? There are some important issues raised in this article surrounding what legal measures we could reasonably implement to ensure gender diversity in companies.


Would you like to connect with academics like these? Book a one-on-one appointment to discuss postgraduate research.