Our society has been grappling with sexual violence for decades — it’s a tough reality to face. My PhD research is dedicated to understanding how friends and families respond to victims of sexual violence, and how victims are expected to overcome their suffering. A lot of our cultural common sense, our shared values, foster a climate that is hostile to victims struggling with life after rape. We place responsibility where it doesn’t belong. We try to minimise our own fears. But the ways we avoid the realities of rape come at a cost to victims. It’s time to rethink our common sense. By revealing some of the basic assumptions and emotional needs that shape how our culture responds to victims, we can start working to shift them. It’s one brick on the path to a world without rape.
In addition to my PhD, I am also involved in qualitative research on how people do consent. I have facilitated Flip the Script (EAAA), a sexual violence resistance education program for university women. I wrote best practice based recommendations for the University of Otago’s sexual violence prevention and response centre, Te Whare Tāwharau, and wrote the website content. In 2017, I drafted the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, currently under community review.
I completed my Masters in Divinity at Harvard in May, 2014. I focus was on gender, power and leadership in marginalized religious traditions. I also obtained training and education around ministry and agnostic chaplaincy.
I host a weekly radio show, Your Friendly Neighbourhood Feminists. I have spoken at academic conferences, retreats, and on panels in California, Washington, British Columbia, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. In addition to my academic work, I writes poetry, fiction and plays. I live near the ocean with my black dog, Copal.
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