Sexual Violence, Medicine, and Psychiatry Symposium

SHaME is holding an online international, interdisciplinary academic symposium to explore the relationship between Medicine, Psychiatry, and Sexual Violence.

Sexual Violence, Medicine, and Psychiatry

Online Academic Symposium


SHaME is pleased to present the Sexual Violence, Medicine and Psychiatry Symposium as an online academic event that brings together an international and interdisciplinary group of researchers to explore the relationship between medicine, psychiatry, and sexual violence.

This symposium explores the role of medical professionals in debates about sexual violence. Police doctors and forensic medical examiners, GPs, gynaecologists, surgeons, nurses, midwives, prison surgeons, psychiatrists, and therapists working in all forms of institutional and community settings have been influential agents in the interpretation, medicalisation, and adjudication of sexual attacks. This is an important time to investigate the relationship between medical professionals and sexual violence. Scandals around medical and psychiatric responses to sexual abuse emerge on a regular basis (viz. Nauru detention camp; the abuse of people in psychiatric wards, prison, and detention camps; failures to send the biological samples from ‘rape kits’ for forensic examination; complaints about medical examinations; popular anxieties about the medical treatment and rehabilitation of violent offenders). The symposium seeks to promote human health through providing insights into the role of medicine and psychiatry in understanding sexual violence.

The Sexual Violence, Medicine, and Psychiatry Symposium was originally planned in partnership with the Centre for the Study of Violence, University of Newcastle (Australia) as an in-person two-day symposium. It was set to take place over 16-17 April 2020 in Newcastle, Australia but was postponed in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re thrilled to be able to reconvene many of the original speakers and present their work here as video papers. Below you will find links to videos from 15 speakers addressing the complex relationship between medicine, psychiatry and sexual violence from different disciplinary perspectives and across a range of historical and geographical contexts.  The speakers also came together for two roundtable events taking place across 11-12 May 2021.

The following videos contain references to sexual violence, assault, and rape and may be distressing for some viewers. Please consult our Safeguarding Statement for advice and resources, which we hope will be of help.


Roundtable Discussion, Day 1 (11/12 May 2021)


Roundtable Discussion, Day 2 (12/13 May 2021)


Keynote paper

Dr Sameena Mulla, Marquette University (Wisconsin, USA)
‘Nursing Sexual Violence from The Stand: Victimized and Victimizing Bodies’


Keynote paper

Dr Gethin Rees, Newcastle University (UK)
Post-controversy knowledge and scientific marginalisation in the courtroom: A case study of the alcohol-induced sleepwalking defence’ 


Keynote paper

Associate Professor Patsie Frawley, Waikato University (NZ)
Dr Amie O’Shea, Deakin University (Australia)
Prevention of violence against women with disabilities’


Angélica Clayton, Yale University
‘Traumatic Entanglements: Rape Trauma Syndrome and the interrelation of mind, body and environment’

Dr Elizabeth Roberts-Pedersen, University of Newcastle, Australia
‘Studying Sexual Violence in the Australian Military’

Evan Sedgwick-Jell, Birkbeck, University of London
‘Sexualised Violence Prevention in Organisational Contexts’

Gabrielle Everall, University of Melbourne
‘Clitoridectomies and aversion therapy: Who says psychiatry hasn’t been sexually violent toward women?’

Dr Jacqueline Sanchez Taylor, University of Leicester
‘Framing sexual violence in trafficking discourse’

Dr Kate Davison, University of Melbourne
‘Paraphilia or Harmful Sexuality? Explaining the Absence of Victims in Early Clinical Research on Rape & Paedophilia’

Dr Lisa Featherstone, University of Queensland
‘Compensating Trauma: Medicine, Rape, and Redress in 1980s Australia’

Associate Professor Louise Stone, Professor Kirsty Douglas, Professor Christine Phillips, Australian National University
‘Achieving zero tolerance: Managing sexual abuse of doctors, by doctors’

Dr Ruth Beecher, Birkbeck, University of London
‘Dangerous Development: Historicising Responses to Children Exhibiting Sexually Harmful Behaviour’

Dr Suzanne Egan, University of Sydney
‘On the Utility of Trauma as Feminist Practice’ (Part 1 of 2)
‘On the Utility of Trauma as Feminist Practice’ (Part 2 of 2)