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: Teenage Dreams: Girlhood Sexualities in the US Culture Wars
This Summer, SHaME is thrilled to be hosting the official launch of Charlie Jeffries’s new book, Teenage Dreams: Girlhood Sexualities in the US Culture Wars (Rutgers University Press, 2022). After a short reading from the book, Charlie Jeffries will be in conversation with Professor Joanna Bourke, followed by a Q+A discussion and reception.
We are committed to making our research open and accessible, including sharing resources that have helped inform our project.
Independent Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse, February 2022
We Learn From and We Support
The Scale and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse: Review of Evidence (June 2021)
Members of SHaME and invited guests reflect on current events, their research, recent conferences, ethical dilemmas, and other items of interest.
Shameless! Festival London feat. Dr George Severs - Male Survivors and Masculinity
SHaME’s George Severs contributes his perspective on creating space for male survivors of sexual violence and the nuances of masculinity at the 2021 Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence. His panel discussion is now available to stream on the Birkbeck Youtube channel with captions.
Shameless! Festival London feat. Prof Joanna Bourke - How to Create Rape-Free Worlds
SHaME’s Joanna Bourke presents her captivating address on creating rape-free worlds at the 2021 Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence. Her talk is now available to stream on the Birkbeck Youtube channel with captions.
Shameless! Festival London feat. Allison McKibban - Big Ideas
SHaME’s Allison McKibban presents her ‘Big Idea’ on academia, activism, and sexual violence at the 2021 Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence. Her talk is now available to stream on the Birkbeck Youtube channel with captions.