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Thursday 3 November 2016, Claire Fox

Helen Reece

Remembering a great friend of the Institute of Ideas.

Last week, we were shocked and saddened to learn about the death of our friend Helen Reece. From 2009, Helen was an associate professor of law at the London School of Economics, specialising in family law. But she was also a long-time supporter of the Institute of Ideas. Helen was fearless in asking difficult questions and providing brilliant answers on subjects that less courageous thinkers would avoid, including the law on rape, domestic abuse and the problems with modern-day feminism. Moreover, she was generous with her time and a great help to those of us grappling with such issues.

One of those she had a profound influence upon was Luke Gittos, who wrote a brilliant obituary for her for spiked. He concludes his tribute:

‘Her uncompromising approach to intellectual life will stay with us. That furrowed brow will be present to me with every line I write and every speech I make. And I will always be asking myself those same questions that Helen asked down the years: ‘Do you really think that?’; ‘How do you know?’. I know I am not alone in this regard. Because, alongside her laughter, support and kindness, she made everyone try harder. She inspired others with her commitment to intellectual rigour and her independent thinking. She is a lasting inspiration.’

Helen spoke at and chaired numerous debates at the Battle of Ideas and here we offer three examples of her in action.

Rape and the law: he said, she said?
Battle of Ideas 2010

The law and our private lives: an abusive relationship?
Battle of Ideas 2014

Blurred lines: what is consent?
Battle of Ideas 2015

She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts are with her husband John and their two children.

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