Judy Dushku

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This article was considered for deletion at Wikipedia on February 24 2020. This is a backup of Wikipedia:Judy_Dushku. All of its AfDs can be found at Wikipedia:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Judy_Dushku, the first at Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Judy_Dushku. Purge

Original short description: "US political scientist, Mormon feminist, journalist, writer and humanitarian"

Judith Ann Rasmussen Dushku (born 1942, Idaho, US) is an academic political scientist, journalist, writer and humanitarian. An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and well known as a Mormon feminist,[1] she co-founded the Mormon women's journal Exponent II, was the Relief Society President for the Boston Stake of the LDS Church, became lead founder of a humanitarian agency in Uganda, and is a professor of government at Suffolk University, Boston, specializing in comparative politics and the interaction of policy and gender since the 1970s. She has voiced some criticism of Mitt Romney, and two of her children are involved in film.


Early life

Dushku was born 30 March 1942 just outside Rexburg, Idaho,[2] US, one of the three children, all daughters, of Barbara Porter Hegsted (1917-2008)[3] and Richard Rasmussen (1918-2006).[4] Her father joined the US Navy, and was later Director of the National Civil Defense Staff College, as well as an active LDS Church leader.[4] Dushku grew up in multiple US locations, as a self-described "military brat," and completed high school in Michigan.[5] She had two sisters, one of whom died in 1990.[3]

She pursued a Bachelor of Arts at Brigham Young University (BYU), where she joined the Young Republicans and planned a State Department career.[5] She graduated in 1964.[2] With encouragement from her BYU teachers, she applied for and won a scholarship to the flagship M.A. in Law and Diplomacy[6] at the international affairs graduate division of Tufts University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, graduating in 1966.[7][2]

Academic career

Move to Suffolk University

Dushku changed her mind about pursuing a PhD, instead taking a year off. She then joined Suffolk University, Boston, which she described as "a wonderful place," "an iconic working-class university," with large presences of first-generation immigrants from Ireland, Italy and Greece, and with a supportive attitude to staff with families. The job was initially planned to be temporary but she decided to stay on, and in time secured tenure. She took on a range of administrative work, in addition to teaching duties, managing aspects of student affairs and supporting foreign students.[2][5] As a single parent with limited child support, she started to accommodate foreign students, notably from Africa, and also China, in the family home, continuing this for more than twenty five years.[2]

Academic focus

Dushku's academic interests include comparative politics, especially in the context of the developing world and the "Global South," and former Communist states in transition, including the end of the Yugoslav state, and international law. She has a special focus on how these and related events and economic shifts impact on the lives of women, and she has spoken on rural development and health, with specific reference to women.[8][9][10]

She has attended some of the UN Conferences on Women.[8] She also led study trips to more than twenty countries, often in transitional situations,[9] including Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Nicaragua.[2]

Diversity and feminism

Dushku has commented that her apolitical parents were appalled by the racism encountered in some places in the South of the US, and ensured that the family grew up as bridge-builders, showing goodwill towards people of all cultures. She pursued the same philosophy when she took students into the family home, not making a separate apartment but having them share the same space, and dinner table, so that they became like family members. Later she and the children would visit some at home in their own countries.[2]

The Vietnam War changed her perspective and she became part of some opposing groups, and took an increasing interest in broader social issues, including those of women's rights, and the promotion of the Equal Rights Amendment.[2] She has written on topics such as women's rights, domestic abuse, and treatment of women in the LDS Church.[11][12]

Exponent II

In 1974, she was one of the founders of Exponent II, a women's journal published by, and largely for, Mormon women,[13] and inspired by the early Women's Exponent published by members of the Relief Society from 1872 to 1914.[13] Dushku featured on the masthead from the first issue[14] and for many years she ran the Sisters Speak column, where readers could write in about personal issues. She remained involved with the magazine for decades, as it addressed a wide range of issues, including feminism in general and in a Mormon context, marriage, reproductive rights, as well as anti-war movements and other concerns from a feminine perspective. The group also ran a series of classes on the role of women in the LDS Church.[2]

Mitt Romney

Dushku was acquainted with Mitt Romney, who was for some years the bishop in her ward, and also for a time Boston Stake President of the LDS Church. During his US presidential nomination campaign, Dushku spoke out about Romney's position on abortion, highlighting a case in which there was a risk to the life of the mother, in which he had intervened as an LDS bishop.[15] She also highlighted his general attitude towards LDS women, and women in general, while stressing that he was conscientious and dedicated to his ward and family duties.[5] After the election, Dushku's overtures to Ann Romney to restore family relations were rejected.[16] Later, when the Boston Stake was divided, and a new Cambridge Stake formed, her ward was not included in the area to which Romney's home was assigned, but to a more remote one, in a manoeuver sometimes described as the "Dushku gerrymander."[17]

Senegal and Uganda

In 2001, Suffolk University asked Dushku to be the Dean of their Dakar, Senegal campus,[18] for which her husband would head operational functions.This campus, with about 125 students from 20 countries, had operated since the 1980s and offered a number of courses, but was closed a few years later.[2]

While in Dakar, Dushku and her husband met a number of surviving child soldiers, child brides and refugees from countries which had encountered severe disruption, and decided that they wanted to pursue non-governmental organization work to support such survivors.[2] With that idea in mind, Dushku observed a need on a study trip to Uganda in 2009, and her interest in specific post-war-trauma rehabilitation and reintegration developed.[5] She founded, along with her husband and daughter, a charity in Gulu, in Northern Uganda, not far from the border with Sudan, which had been badly impacted by the Lord's Resistance Army.[19] Initially Tharce-Gulu (Trauma Healing and Reflecting Center - Gulu),[20] the non-governmental organization was later renamed Thrive-Gulu. The NGO assists with literacy for both adults and young people, and with empowerment, rights and leadership training.[21] It also helped build a women's bakery in the city, and some of its supporters sell craft goods from Gulu in the US.[5] Dushku, whose project was backed by the Boston Stake President, has also stated that she collaborates with the LDS Church in Gulu,[5] and that the project was supported by "eager participants from the LDS network ... and ... many others from various regions, religions and professions."[20] The project has also received funding from international aid agencies of countries including Ireland and Norway, and NGOs such as Save the Children.[22]

Personal life

Rasmussen married Philip Dushku, a Boston-area school teacher and administrator of first-generation Albanian heritage and an Albanian Orthodox Christian, in 1969. They had three sons and a daughter, the youngest child, Eliza Dushku, born in December 1980. They divorced during the 1980 pregnancy,[2] but he was involved with the family growing up; he died in 2018.[23] Dushku ensured that her children shared home life with guest students, and also sometimes brought them on international academic study trips, including to states of the former Eastern Bloc.[2]

She remarried, to Jim Coleman in 1991,[2] and they continued to live in Watertown, Massachusetts. Coleman, with four children also,[2] and a non-Mormon, nonetheless joined her local LDS ward.[2] They both worked for Suffolk University,[24] including in Dakar. Retiring from the role of Assistant Director of Suffolk University Library, Coleman continued to work with the family-founded Gulu NGO. He died in Watertown, October 31, 2013.[25]

Dushku remains a practicing Mormon, describing her favorite job as ward choir director. She has been President of the Relief Society, the principal Mormon women's organization, for the Boston Stake,[5] and has also been involved in community activities, day care and women's issues.[10]

Eliza Dushku allegations

In January 2018, Dushku's daughter, Eliza, published an account of her alleged sexual molestation by stunt coordinator Joel Kramer in 1993, when she was 12 and working on True Lies. She wrote that soon after, an adult friend of Dushku confronted Kramer on set, and that the same day, Dushku was injured during a stunt and several of her ribs were broken, while Kramer was responsible for her safety; Kramer denied the accusation of sexual misconduct.[26] During Eliza Dushku's time working on True Lies and a previous film, several family members and a family friend, Sue Paxman, served in turn as on-set guardians (a Screen Actors Guild-mandated role).[27] At the time of the alleged incident, Paxman was on-site, and she backed Eliza's account - which Dushku said she at the time mentioned only to her mother, a brother, and another family friend.[28] Judith Dushku commented that she felt regret, but that her daughter had protected her from the full reality of what had happened until years later.[29]


  • Multiple items in Exponent II
  • Essay in Mormon Women Speak: A Collection of Essays (1982)[30]
  • Essay in Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah[31][32]
  • Essay in Sister Saints[33]


In 2010 Dushku was awarded the Eve Award by the Mormon Women's Forum.[20]


  1. Brooks, Joana (11 September 2012). "Mitt Romney's best-known Mormon critic tells it all. One last time.". Religion Dispatches. https://religiondispatches.org/mitt-romneys-best-known-mormon-critic-tells-it-all-one-last-time/. Retrieved 18 February 2020. "she’s a beloved figure in Mormon feminism and a role model to young Mormon feminists" 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Christiansen, Barbara. "A Worldwide Sisterhood (Judy Dushku)". https://www.mormonwomen.com/interview/a-worldwide-sisterhood/. Retrieved 19 February 2020. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "(Obituary) Barbara Porter Rasmussen". Daily Herald (Provo) (Provo, Utah, US). 1 October 2008. https://www.heraldextra.com/lifestyles/announcements/obituaries/barbara-porter-rasmussen/article_489912ee-b916-5a48-9147-02130a990faa.html. Retrieved 22 February 2020. "Barbara Porter Hegsted Rasmussen died Thursday, September 25, 2008 in Orem, Utah of complications from a fall at the age of 91. Her two living daughters, Elisa Arrington Radulovich of Orem and Judith Dushku of Boston, were at her side." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Obituary - Richard Costley Rasmussen". Daily Herald (Provo) (Provo, Utah). 30 March 2006. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Brooks, Joana (11 September 2012). "Mitt Romney's best-known Mormon critic tells it all. One last time.". Religion Dispatches. https://religiondispatches.org/mitt-romneys-best-known-mormon-critic-tells-it-all-one-last-time/. Retrieved 18 February 2020. 
  6. "MA in Law and Diplomacy". Tufts University. https://fletcher.tufts.edu/academics/masters-programs-residential/MALD. Retrieved 18 February 2020. "The two-year Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) is Fletcher's flagship international affairs degree." 
  7. "Donors to the Fletcher Fund". Fletcher News (Fletcher School, Tufts University) (Fall / Winter 2007): p. 41. "Class of 1965: ... Judith R. Dushku" 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Deis Impact! Keynote Speaker Bios". Brandeis University. 2013. https://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/atbrandeis/DEIS_Impact/2013/keynote_bios.html. Retrieved 24 February 2020. "Her writing and teaching focus on comparative politics, particularly in the Global South and in nations in a state of transition. She has also focused on ... breakup of Yugoslavia. ... particularly interested ... policy and international economic trends affect the lives of women," 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Judith Dushku". https://www.suffolk.edu/academics/faculty/d/u/judith-dushku. Retrieved 23 February 2020. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Judith Rasmussen Dushku". Brigham Young University Library. https://mormonarts.lib.byu.edu/people/judith-rasmussen-dushku/. Retrieved 23 February 2020. "special interests are comparative politics and international law ... involved in issues and organization on third world politics ... involved in her community in school, day care, and women's issues." 
  11. Burton, Tara Isabella (2018-02-16). "Rob Porter’s case shows how the Mormon Church can fail abused women" (in en). https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/2/16/17012876/rob-porter-mormon-church-fail-abused-women-colbie-holderness-jennifer-willoughby-lds. 
  12. "Michelle Quist: The Mormon church can be better at handling domestic violence" (in en-US). https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2018/02/14/michelle-quist-the-mormon-church-can-be-better-at-handling-domestic-violence/. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dushku, Judy (Summer 2016). "Negotiating Controversy over Forty Years". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Salt Lake City, Utah) 49 (2): 143–152. 
  14. Bushman (Editor), Claudia L. (1974). "(Masthead)". Exponent II (Arlington, Mass. 02174: Mormon Sisters, Inc.) I (I): 19. 
  15. "The Curious Case of Mitt Romney, An Abortion, And Eliza Dushku's Mom" (in en-us). https://jezebel.com/the-curious-case-of-mitt-romney-an-abortion-and-eliza-5851050. 
  16. Scott, Ronald B. (22 November 2011). Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics (1st ed.). Guildford, Conn., USA: Lyons Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-7627-7927-7. 
  17. Scott, Ronald B. (22 November 2011). Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics (1st ed.). Guildford, Conn., USA: Lyons Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-7627-7927-7. 
  18. Saturday; June 2007, 9; Mazur, 8:38 pm Opinion: Suzan. "Bishop Romney's Sadistic Anti-Abortion Counseling | Scoop News". https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0706/S00066.htm. 
  19. "Mother-daughter Dushkus both activists - The Boston Globe" (in en-US). https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/names/2013/01/17/eliza-dushku-talk-brandeis-about-her-work-uganda/Z0TVgO0cUzn9PnruqXapFN/story.html. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Stack, Peggy Fletcher (29 October 2010). "Mormon feminism meets global challenge". The Salt Lake Tribune. https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=50529366&itype=CMSID. Retrieved 18 February 2020. "The award is given each year to a "woman of courage and vision who has made a significant contribution to Mormon women" 
  21. "Dushkus make an impact at Brandeis - The Boston Globe" (in en-US). https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/names/2013/02/08/eliza-and-judy-dushku-speak-brandeis/bJtMVKp3OUILGvPRqKv53L/story.html. 
  22. "ThriveGULU - CFS". May 2019. https://thrivegulu.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/THRIVE-GULU-CFS.pdf. Retrieved 23 February 2020. 
  23. "Obituary: Philip R. Dushku (1941-2018)". Boston Globe (Boston, Mass.). 21 June 2018. https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?n=philip-r-dushku&pid=189346170. Retrieved 19 February 2020. "...father of Aaron and his wife Arlenin (Perez).., Benjamin.., Nathaniel.. and his husband Amnon (Ami) Lourie, and Eliza Dushku and her fiance..." 
  24. "People (administration and faculty) - Portrait of Jim Coleman and Suffolk University Professor Judy Dushku". https://moakleyarchive.omeka.net/items/show/14491. Retrieved 19 February 2020. 
  25. "Obituary: James Robert (Jim) Coleman". Boston Globe (via Legacy.com). 10 November 2013. https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?n=james-robert-coleman-jim&pid=167900114. Retrieved 19 February 2020. "MA in English... lifelong educator, teaching.. English and Humanities in New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. ... MS in Library Sciences ... 1995, retiring from Suffolk University, Boston, ... associate director of the library." 
  26. Mumford, Gwilym (January 15, 2018). "Eliza Dushku claims True Lies crew member sexually assaulted her aged 12". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/15/eliza-dushku-accuses-true-lies-crew-member-of-sexually-assaulting-her-aged-12. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  27. Koch, James (12 July 1992). "This girl's life". The Boston Globe: pp. B25-26. ""...several family members who, along with Judy's close friend Sue Paxman, took turns living with Eliza on location"" 
  28. "True Lies actress stands by claims she was 'molested' at 12". BBC News. 16 January 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-42689602. Retrieved 12 August 2019. "Sue Booth-Forbes acted as the 12-year-old actress's legal guardian while on the set of True Lies..." 
  29. Kilkenny, Katie (13 January 2018). "Eliza Dushku Says 'True Lies' Stunt Coordinator Sexually Assaulted Her When She Was 12". Hollywood Reporter. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/eliza-dushku-says-true-lies-stunt-coordinator-sexually-assaulted-her-she-was-12-1074594. Retrieved 23 February 2020. 
  30. Bradford, Mary Lythgoe (1982). Mormon Women Speak: A Collection of Essays (1st ed.). Salt Lake City, Utah: Olympus Publishing Company. pp. 57–68. 
  31. Bushman, Claudia, ed. (1976). "Feminists"". "Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah". Cambridge, MA, US: Emmeline Press Ltd.. 
  32. Brooks, Steenblik, Wheelwright, ed. "Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings". Oxford University Press. p. 50. 
  33. Burgess-Olson, Vicky (1978). Sister Saints. Provo, Utah, US: Brigham Young University Press. pp. 481–494. 

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