Sexual Violence and Criminal Justice: Approaches in Psychology, History, and Literature

SHaME is pleased to launch its Writer in Residence Programme with this special In Conversation Event with Professor Amina Memon, our Writer in Residence Winnie M Li, and SHaME Principal Investigator Professor Joanna Bourke.


03 March 2021

SHaME is pleased to launch its Writer in Residence Programme with this special In Conversation Event with Professor Amina Memon, our Writer in Residence Winnie M Li, and SHaME Principal Investigator Professor Joanna Bourke.

This is the first of three public events in the WiR Programme, a collaboration with survivor-centred arts organisation Clear Lines.


Register Now
03 March 2021
5.00-6.30pm GMT
Safeguarding Statement


In this unique online discussion, Professor Amina Memon, Professor Joanna Bourke, and SHaME Writer in Residence Winnie M Li will explore a range of issues relating to the lived experience of sexual violence and its treatment in the criminal justice system. Each will bring to the table their own expertise, spanning a range of fields: Amina will speak from her extensive experience in psychology, emotion, and the law; Joanna will look at the historic handling of sexual violence in criminal justice proceedings; and Winnie will draw from her own lived experience as a rape survivor and her decision to imagine the trial of her rapist in her award-winning novel Dark Chapter.

Like all SHaME events, this evening is designed to bring together interdisciplinary scholarship on the field of sexual violence.  Expect a wide-ranging dialogue, followed by an audience Q&A. Some of the questions addressed will be:

  • What are the mental health impacts of sexual violence — and of the criminal justice process on victims? Is the criminal justice process a form of further trauma on victims?
  • Historically, how have these impacts been recognised or ignored by criminal justice policy?
  • What role does psychology play in how authorities and the public perceive guilt and believability around sexual violence cases? Has this remained the same throughout history and into modern times?
  • How can literature best capture the nuances of these experiences and convey them to a wider audience?
  • How can narrative and the arts re-imagine an alternative possibility, when the current and past reality of the criminal justice system may fail victims?


Age Guidance: 18 yrs +
FREE – but please register in advance
To register, please follow the link below:

*This event is taking place online. Attendees will receive a joining link a few days prior to the event.
*Please note: this event will be recorded.



Winnie M Li is an author and activist, and Writer-in-Residence at SHaME. Her novel Dark Chapter is a fictional retelling of her real-life rape from victim and perpetrator perspectives. Translated into ten languages, it won The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, and was nominated for an Edgar Award and the Best First Novel Award. A Harvard graduate, Winnie founded Clear Lines, the UK’s first-ever festival addressing sexual assault and consent through the arts and discussion. Her ongoing PhD research at the London School of Economics explores media engagement by rape survivors as a form of activism. Winnie has appeared on the BBC, Sky News, Channel 4, The Guardian, The Times, The Mail on Sunday, BBC Woman’s Hour, and TEDx London.  She has an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland in recognition of her writing and activism, and her second novel will be published in April 2022.


Professor Amina Memon is a highly skilled researcher and teacher with 35 years of expertise in the field of Applied Cognitive and Social Psychology and over 130 publications. At Royal Holloway University, she directs the interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law (CSEL).  Her specialist areas are eyewitness testimony, investigative interviewing and biases in decision-making.  A distinctive flavour of her work has been her close working relationship with policy makers and practitioners in the field of policing, social work and the law. Her applied research is aimed at identifying methods for improving justice for victims and witnesses and she has a long standing commitment to leveraging her standing in the community to support initiatives that support this. Current research projects including work on victim/witness memory, secondary traumatic stress in criminal justice professionals, the impact on emotion on credibility and best practice for questioning in face-to-face and remote investigations including asylum interviews. Amina has served as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases in the USA, Scotland and England. She has provided expert testimony and advised professionals investigating allegations of sexual abuse in child and adult cases and in investigations of historic abuse.


Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is the Principal Investigator of the SHaME project. She is the prize-winning author of fourteen books, as well as over 100 articles in academic journals. Among others, she is the author of Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present (2007), What it Means To Be Human: Reflections from 1791 to the Present (2011), and The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers (2014). Princeton University Press will publish Sexual Violence: A Global History from the 1830s to #MeToo in late 2021. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek. She is a frequent contributor to TV and radio shows, and a regular correspondent for newspapers.