This is an important time to investigate the relationship between medical professionals and sexual violence.
SHaME brings together researchers from different disciplines across the Arts and Humanities to explore the dialogues between medical professionals and people who have experienced sexual violence. We are an interdisciplinary research hub and each research project feeds into collaborative debates around the role of police doctors/FMEs, medicine and law, psychiatry, and the aftermaths of sexual harms.
A Global History of the Medical and Psychiatric Aspects of Sexual Violence
Medicine and psychiatry have been influential in the understanding and experience of sexual violence. Professor Joanna Bourke’s project explores broad trends from perspectives that are both global and local (in UK, US, Australia, and New Zealand).
A Recent History of Children, Medics and Sexual Abuse in the Family
Through archival research and oral histories, Dr Ruth Beecher seeks to gain insight into the ways nurses, doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists in the US and the UK have responded to the possibility that a child has been sexually abused by a family member since the 1960s.
‘Dishonest abuse’, sexual violence, and medical jurisprudence in Francoist Spain, 1936-1975
Dr Stephanie Wright’s project explores the role of police surgeons and forensic psychiatrists in sexual violence court cases under the Francoist regime. More specifically, the project constitutes a historical study of the legal term ‘dishonest abuses’, which referred to a broad spectrum of criminalised sexual acts, from rape and child abuse to homosexuality.
(Post)colonial responses to rape and sexual violence in Africa, c.1920-1985
Dr Rhian Keyse’s project explores the evolution of (post)colonial and international medico-legal responses to rape and sexual violence in Anglophone Africa, c.1920-1985, with particular focuses on Kenya and Ghana. It seeks to understand how international, colonial, and postcolonial legal, medical, and psychiatric structures have impacted on survivors of sexual violence; to recover the experiences of complainants as they navigated medical and legal structures, as well as the role of medical personnel in identifying and prosecuting sexual violence; and to examine how shifting ideas of governance, development, anti-colonialism and rights influenced debates and responses to sexual violence on African continent.
An Ethnographic Inquiry in a Medical Care Centre for Women Victims of Violence in the Parisian Suburbs
Adeline Moussion’s PhD focuses on the socio-cultural conditions in which sexual violence is qualified as ‘unbearable’. She will be examining psycho-medical care and social support mechanisms in feminist care institutions dedicated to supporting women victims of violence.
Psychiatric evidence in court proceedings for sexual violence survivors: a qualitative study of policy and practice in England and Wales
Emma Yapp’s PhD explores how psychiatric evidence about survivors of sexual violence is admitted into court proceedings in England and Wales. She will be examining both the context in which these practices are constructed and conducted, and exploring appropriate practice.
Cultures of Harm in Residential Institutions for Long-Term Adult Care in Britain, 1945-1980s
Dr Louise Hide’s project returns to the hospital inquiry documentation of the 1970s to gain a deeper understanding of the values, belief systems and practices that fostered a culture of neglect and abuse in some wards and institutions.
Sexual Violence on the California Frontier, 1848-1900
In late nineteenth-century California sexual violence revealed dynamics of American expansion on the western frontier. Caitlin Cunningham’s PhD explores how it was understood and responded to at various social and institutional levels.