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 (Athens) 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.
Spotlight On: Prof Aisha K Gill CBE
In this edition of Spotlight On, SHaME’s Principal Investigator Prof Joanna Bourke interviews Prof Aisha K Gill CBE from the University of Roehampton.
Writing, Researching, and Surviving Sexual Trauma: A Creative Response
On 26 May 2021, SHaME closed its Writer in Residence Programme with Winnie M Li with a public panel and creative performance event with poet Clare Shaw, SHaME academics Professor Joanna Bourke and Dr Ruth Beecher, and our Writer in Residence Winnie M Li.
Literature and Sexual Trauma: Authors Writing Their Lived Experience
On 14 April 2021, SHaME continued its Writer in Residence Programme with a public event featuring a distinguished panel of award-winning authors who spoke about transforming their own lived experiences of sexual violence into different forms of literature. Our guests were graphic writer Una, philosopher and memoirist Susan J. Brison and poet Shivanee Ramlochan.