Blog

Members of SHaME and invited guests reflect on current events, their research, recent conferences, ethical dilemmas, and other items of interest.

Child Sexual Abuse in the Family by Dr Ruth Beecher — (Un)Silenced: Institutional Sexual Violence

Commentary
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Is the family a place of safety or a trap? SHaME Director Dr Ruth Beecher explores the institution of the family and the (lack of) recognition of child sexual abuse within it.

Hearing Male Survivors by Dr George Severs — (Un)Silenced: Institutional Sexual Violence

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Dr George Severs argues that the history of male victims of rape and sexual violence should make us all alert to the ways in which gender norms silence male experiences of abuse, and prompt us to hear hear male survivors who are so often both silent and silenced.

Involuntary Sterilization by Allison McKibban — (Un)Silenced: Institutional Sexual Violence

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Can medical institutions participate in colonial violence? SHaME's Allison McKibban argues the involuntary sterilization of tens of thousands of Native American women in the 1970s must be rehistoricised as part of the U.S. government’s broader campaign of genocide.

Between Vulnerability and Sexual Agency by Dr Stephanie Wright — (Un)Silenced: Institutional Sexual Violence

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SHaME Associate Fellow Dr Stephanie Wright explores how society approaches the sexual desires of those with disabilities. She establishes how the historical lack of acknowledgement of vulnerable people's sexual autonomy can result in an increased possibility of harm. 

An Introduction to (Un)Silenced: Institutional Sexual Violence

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SHaME Public Engagement Coordinators Dr Rhea Sookdeosingh and Allison McKibban introduce (Un)Silenced, a series in collaboration with History Workshop Online, which explores how sexual violence relates to various societal institutions.

(Un)Silenced: Institutional Sexual Violence

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How has sexual violence been produced through different institutional cultures of harm? And what strategies have survivors used to counter silence, shame, and stigma? The SHaME team explores various forms of institutional sexual violence in a series originally published with History Workshop Online in 2022.

Podcast: What's Missing from the Conversation? Design and Sexual Violence

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SHaME's Charlie Jeffries and Avni Patel chat with Thomas Andrew Faulker and Kalpana Viswnath to explore the role of design in preventing sexual harm in public and private spaces. Does it exist? If so where?

Podcast: George Severs x Tanaka Mhishi: 'Sons and Others: On Loving Male Survivors'

Publications
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SHaME's George Severs interviews author and activist Tanaka Mhishi about his powerful book 'Sons and Others: On Loving Male Survivors' following its launch late last year.

Shameless! Festival London: The Virtual Experience

Shameless! Festival
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A variety of talks from the 2021 Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence are now available to stream on the Birkbeck Youtube channel with captions.

The Shameless! Podcast: Voices From the Festival

Podcasts
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SHaME Postdoctoral Research Fellows Dr George Severs and Dr Rhian Keyse speak to contributors from the 2021 Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence about their work, their reflections on the festival, and their insights on creating a rape-free world.

Sexual Harms + Medical Encounters

General
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Professor Joanna Bourke is the Principal Investigator for Sexual Harms + Medical Encounters, a five-year Wellcome Trust-funded interdisciplinary research group based at Birkbeck, University of London. In this inaugural post, Joanna discusses what motivated her return to studying sexual violence.

CFP: Humour and Sexual Violence Workshop

Call for papers
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The SHaME project is pleased to present a Call for Papers for our upcoming workshop, 'Humour and Sexual Violence', taking place online on 15 March 2023.

Reflections on Ecoar!

General
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On 24 September, Ecoar!, the second Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Seeking to empower survivors in their healing, and to provide a call to action for urgent changes to professional practice and policy around abuse, the festival aimed to create a space to share perspectives and build ongoing collaborations. The SHaME delegation to Rio reflect on their experience.

World AIDS Day - Sexual violence and AIDS: ‘early’ responses from forensic medicine

General
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On World AIDS Day (December 1st), Dr George Severs reflects on some of the early HIV responses of forensic medics working with rape survivors.

Laia Abril and A History of Misogyny

Events
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Curator Fiona Rogers discusses the work of artist Laia Abril in the context of how gendered violence and rape appear in the canon and spaces of art history. An exhibition of Abril's work is on display at the Copeland Gallery from 10-27th November 2022.

Announcing Ecoar! the second Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence

Events
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On 24th September, the Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence will take place in its second year in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro. Called Ecoar! Festival, the one day festival will be created and presented by Redes da Maré, in partnership with SHaME and the WOW Foundation.

Global conversations about a rape-free world

Events
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On October 7th, SHaME will be celebrating the release of Professor Joanna Bourke's new book, Disgrace: Global Reflections on Sexual Violence, published by Reaktion Books. Joanna will be joined by Jude Kelly CBE, Marai Larasi, Dr Rhea Sookdeosingh, and Maisha Sumah in a conversation between artists, activists and academics on boundary-crossing global approaches to creating a rape free world.

COMPLICIT: Silence vs. Speaking Up in Hollywood and Everyday Workplaces

Events
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SHaME was honoured to host the official book launch of author, activist, survivor and academic Winnie M Li’s second novel, ‘Complicit’ (Orion). Winnie was joined in conversation by Prof Joanna Bourke and guests Marai Larasi, Prof Liz Kelly, Rowena Chiu, and Dr Katherine Angel.

Fragmented and Frustrating: Rethinking Post-rape HIV Policies

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Amongst the many risks and uncertainties brought on by an act of sexual violence is the threat of sexually transmitted infection. What are the barriers to such post-rape health care and advice? In this blog, SHaME Postdoctoral Fellow Dr George Severs reflects on a policy roundtable which considered these questions in relation to HIV.

Book Launch: Teenage Dreams: Girlhood Sexualities in the US Culture Wars

Events
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On 13th July 2022, SHaME hosted the official book launch of Dr Charlie Jeffries' book, Teenage Dreams: Girlhood Sexualities in the US Culture Wars (Rutgers University Press, 2022). Charlie was joined by SHaME's Prof Joanna Bourke for a short reading and discussion of what this book can tell us about the race- and class-inflected battles over adolescent women’s sexual and reproductive lives.

Shameless! wins Public Engagement Award

Shameless! Festival
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Last week, the SHaME team was thrilled to hear that the 'Shameless! Festivals of Activism Against Sexual Violence' had won the award for Public Empowerment at Birkbeck's Public Engagement Award ceremony.