Lisa Avalos is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law. She also holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology Northwestern University, and a B.A. in psychology from Northwestern University.
Professor Avalos's research focuses on international human rights with an emphasis on women's human rights, gender-based violence, and sexual violence. She works with international nongovernmental organizations to develop policy solutions that address persistent human rights violations such as rape, child marriage, forced marriage, and honor-based violence. Her teaching interests include criminal law, international human rights, and gender-based violence.
Prior to joining the University of Arkansas faculty, Professor Avalos spent two years at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching in the legal research and writing program and developing a practicum course on Gender-based Violence and Human Rights. Prior to that, she worked as an associate in the corporate departments of McDermott, Will & Emery (New York) and Neal, Gerber, & Eisenberg (Chicago).
Her publications include Prosecuting Victims While Rapists Run Free: the Consequences of Police Failure to Investigate Sex Crimes in Britain and the United States (forthcoming in the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, Spring 2016); Female Genital Mutilation and Designer Vaginas in Britain: Crafting an Effective Legal and Policy Framework, 48 Vand. J. Transnat'l Law 621 (2015), and Ending Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage in Tanzania, co-authored with Naima Farrell, Rebecca Stellato, & Marc Werner, 38 Fordham Internat'l L. J. 639 (2015).
Gender-based Violence and Human Rights
Sex Crimes: Emerging Law and Policy Issues
White Collar Crime
Professor Lisa Avalos earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law. She also holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from Northwestern University, and a B.A. in psychology from Northwestern University.
Helping Rapists Win: the Politics of Charging Rape Complainants With False Reporting, 83 Brooklyn L. Rev. (forthcoming Mar. 2018).
Uses critical legal theory to argue that false reporting prosecutions of disbelieved rape complainants are the result of an overlooked but deeply embedded gender bias among those tasked with investigating and prosecuting rape in Britain and the United States.
Policing Rape Complainants: When Reporting Rape Becomes a Crime, 20 Iowa J. of Gender, Race and Justice 459 (2017) (invited symposium article). Available here:
Examines several British and American cases where actual or likely rape victims were prosecuted for falsely reporting rape; argues that most or all of these cases were wrongful prosecutions that occurred when police or prosecutors failed to follow appropriate rape investigation policies. Uses international rape investigation best practice guidelines to demonstrate how the investigations failed. Offers proposals for change, including changes to federal law.
Prosecuting Victims While Rapists Run Free: the Consequences of Police Failure to Investigate Sex Crimes in Britain and the United States, 23 Mich. J. Gender & L. 1 (2016) (lead article). Available here.
A comparative analysis of the human rights violations that occur when disbelieved rape complainants are prosecuted for allegedly false reports of rape. Examines the systemic flaws in rape investigation that give rise to such violations, and offers proposals for change.
Female Genital Mutilation and Designer Vaginas in Britain: Crafting an Effective Legal and Policy Framework, 48 Vand. J. Transnat’l Law 621 (2015) (lead article). Available here.
An analysis of Britain’s legal and policy approach to FGM, examining key gaps in British law that leave potential victims unprotected while simultaneously sanctioning “designer vagina” surgeries. Proposes a normative framework to strengthen and harmonize the approach to both issues.
Ending Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage in Tanzania, co-authored with Naima Farrell, Rebecca Stellato, & Marc Werner, 38 Fordham Internat’l L. J. 639 (2015) (lead article). Available here.
An analysis of the processes by which law can create social change in situations where a strong disjuncture exists between nominally accepted legal principles and entrenched social norms.
"Abortion in the Web of Relationship: Negotiating the Abortion Decision Through a Lens of Care." International Journal for Human Caring. Vol. 7, No. 2 (2003).
“Hindsight and the Abortion Experience: What Abortion Means to Women Years Later.” Gender Issues, 17(2): 35-57 (1999).
I am currently working on a book on rape investigation best practices and the problem of prosecuting rape complainants for allegedly false allegations of rape.
“Honor Killings and Forced Marriage: North American and European Responses."
In the News
Professor Avalos has been quoted in publications such as the Guardian, the Huffington Post, Time Magazine, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, and others.
Hannah Summers, Rape Victims to Be Spared Ordeal of Cross-examination in Court, Guardian (Mar. 19, 2017) (debunking various myths about false allegations of rape and explaining that overstated concerns about such allegations mask the problem of genuine rape victims being wrongly prosecuted for false reporting).
Katie J.M. Baker, The Police Told Her to Report Her Rape, Then Arrested Her For Lying, BuzzFeed (Sept. 27, 2015) and Prachi Gupta, Police Told a Woman to Report Her Rape, Then Arrested Her Cosmopolitan (Sept. 28, 2015) (explaining that police disbelief of sexual assault victims is a serious problem).
Megan Gibson, The Problem With Prosecuting Women for False Rape Allegations, Time Magazine (December 3, 2014) (explaining why it is poor public policy for rape complainants to be prosecuted for falsely reporting rape).
Jack Sommers, , The Big Risk In Britain's Hardline On Prosecuting Women for False Rape Claims, Huffington Post (December 3, 2014) (discussing comparative US-UK research on rape complainants who are prosecuted for falsely reporting rape).
Sandra Laville, 109 Women Prosecuted for False Rape Claims in Five Years, Say Campaigners, Guardian, (December 1, 2014) (discussing comparative US-UK research on rape complainants who are prosecuted for falsely reporting rape).
Sally Hayden, Campaigners Say British Authorities Must End “Aggressive Pursuit” of Women for False Rape Claims, Vice News (December 3, 2014) (explaining why it is poor public policy for rape complainants to be prosecuted for falsely reporting rape).
Kate Russell, Women Who Cry Rape: There Aren’t That Many of Them, Cosmopolitan, UK (December 2, 2014) (quoted as stating that the British practice of charging rape complainants with false reporting violates human rights).
BBC Today Show (BBC Radio Four, December 2, 2014) (discussing the fact that some women prosecuted for false allegations of rape are genuine rape victims).
Africa Wrap (Arise News Television, December 8, 2014) (discussing efforts to end female genital mutilation and child marriage in Tanzania).
Commentary and Opinion
Female Genital Mutilation and Designer Vaginas in Britain: Crafting an Effective Legal and Policy Framework, Vand. J. Transnat’l L. Blog (June 21, 2015).
This FGM Trial Should Never Have Happened, Guardian (U.K.), February 5, 2015.
Britain is Violating Rape Victims’ Human Rights, Guardian (U.K.), December 2, 2014.
With Lisa Longstaff, Michael Le Vell's Acquittal Is No Reason To Give Rape Defendants Anonymity, Guardian (U.K.), September 26, 2013.
“Reviewing the United Kingdom Policy Framework on Female Genital Mutilation: Opportunities for Change,” Executive Summary, prepared for the Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development (FORWARD UK) (London, UK), July 2014.
“Reviewing the United Kingdom Policy Framework on Female Genital Mutilation: Opportunities for Change,” Written evidence submitted to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on Female Genital Mutilation, February, 2014, available at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/home-affairs/FGM-written-evidence.pdf. [This submission was quoted several times by the Home Affairs Committee in their final report “Female Genital Mutilation: the Case for a National Action Plan,” June 2014, available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmhaff/201/201.pdf.]
“False Reports of Sexual Assault: Findings on Police Practices, Laws, and Advocacy Options,” July 2013, an Advocacy Report co-authored with Alexandra Filappova, Cynthia Reed, & Matthew Siegel and prepared for Women Against Rape (London, UK), available at http://www.womenagainstrape.net/content/false-reports-sexual-assault-findings-police-pract.
“Honor Killings in North America: Findings and Advocacy Options,” July 2013, an Advocacy Report co-authored with Jonathan Gottlieb, Michelle Mirabal, & Savannah Wiseman and prepared for the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization (London, UK).
“Differential Treatment: Governmental Approaches to Asylum Cases Involving Female Genital Mutilation in Ireland and the United Kingdom,” July 2013, an Advocacy Report co-authored with Katie Barlow & Jordan Jacobson and prepared for FORWARD UK.
“Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage in Tanzania,” July 2013, an Advocacy Report co-authored with Naima Farrell, Rebecca Stellato, & Marc Werner, and prepared for FORWARD UK and the Children’s Dignity Forum (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania).