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.
Sexual Violence in Modern Southern European History Workshop
SHaME and the Research Centre for the Humanities (Greece) are holding a workshop to problematise the western subject through an exploration of sexual violence in the “European south”.
We are committed to making our research open and accessible, including sharing resources that have helped inform our project.
SHaME Research Leaflets
Sadism: a history of non-consensual sexual cruelty
Cruel Visions: Reflections on Artists and Atrocities
Members of SHaME and invited guests reflect on current events, their research, recent conferences, ethical dilemmas, and other items of interest.
Domestic Violence, Firearms, and Covid-19
Prof Joanna Bourke, SHaME’s Principal Investigator, highlights how a rise in domestic firearms sales in the US is exposing girls, women and other minoritised groups to increased domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Domestic Violence during the 1918-1920 Pandemic
In this post, Prof Joanna Bourke, SHaME’s project lead, explores the history of domestic violence and pandemics by looking at the case of the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu.
The Explosion of Domestic Violence during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Prof Joanna Bourke, SHaME’s Principal Investigator, discusses the increasing global incidence of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.