Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters (SHaME) is a research project exploring the role of medicine and psychiatry in sexual violence. We aim to move beyond shame to address this global health crisis.
Sexual violence is one of the most serious problems in the contemporary world. Our interdisciplinary project seeks to understand the role played by medical professionals, including psychiatrists, in understanding and dealing with sexual harms. Instead of shame, we advocate for empowerment and knowledge.
Our research begins with the experiences of victims/survivors of sexual harms both in terms of the medical examination and emotional aftermaths of harm, followed by the role of medical experts in legal settings and in developing knowledge about the perpetrators of sexual harms.
GPs, Police Surgeons, Forensic Medical Examiners
How do medical professionals respond when a person reports being a victim of sexual violence? The medical examination is crucial for future outcomes, including the healing of physical and psychological injuries and the outcome in any subsequent court case.
Medicine and Law
What role does the law play in the way medical and psychiatric aspects of sexual violence are defined, assessed, and judged? Legal texts instruct medical students and practitioners how to present evidence in formal legal settings, as well as how to examine victims.
From Psychopathia Sexualis to the DSM/ICD
How do psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners explain why some people seek to sexually harm others? Their views about perpetrators of sexual violence have changed dramatically over time, as well as in different geographical contexts.
Sexual violence can lead to longer-term emotional and psychological harms. How have these effects been understood? What help has been offered to victims?
Our research team organise regular seminars, conferences, film-evenings, and other public events.
Book Launch: Trailing Abuse: Considering Historical Representations of Sexual Violence Against Children
SHaME completes its 2021 event calendar with the official book launch of Dr Nick Basannavar’s ‘Sexual Violence Against Children in Britain Since 1965: Trailing Abuse’ (Palgrave Macmillan). Nick will be joined in conversation by host Professor Joanna Bourke (Principal Investigator at SHaME) and guests Professor Adrian Bingham (Sheffield) and Professor Rachel Hope Cleves (Victoria).
We are committed to making our research open and accessible, including sharing resources that have helped inform our project.
We Learn From and We Support
The Scale and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse: Review of Evidence (June 2021)
Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy (July 2021)
Members of SHaME and invited guests reflect on current events, their research, recent conferences, ethical dilemmas, and other items of interest.
'History Investigators': An Interactive Workshop on the History of Resistance to Sexual Violence at the Shameless! Festival
Dr Ruth Beecher overviews her workshop, History Investigators, from the Shameless! Festival. The interactive session asked festival goers to delve into fact, myth, folklore and personal histories to build a timeline of resistance to sexual violence.
bell hooks: Reflections
SHaME reflects on the death of bell hooks. We think about hooks’ legacy and influence on our own work.