Lecture addresses sexual assault on campuses

By Costa Maragos Posted: January 26, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Jennifer Freyd, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, has twice been invited to the White House to share her views on sexual violence at universities.
Dr. Jennifer Freyd, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, has twice been invited to the White House to share her views on sexual violence at universities. Photo courtesy of Sasha Johnson-Freyd

A world-renowned expert on how educational institutions deal with sexual violence on campuses is speaking at the University of Regina, January 27.

The lecture, the second in the university’s “Deliberation and Debate” series, will be delivered by Dr. Jennifer Freyd, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon.

Freyd’s talk addresses sexual violence on campus, “from institutional betrayal to institutional courage.”  The lecture takes place at the Education Auditorium - Room 106, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. It's free and open to the public.

For the past 25 years, Freyd and her students have studied the impact of interpersonal trauma, discovering that betrayal is particularly toxic to both physical and mental health. More recently, Freyd and her students have conducted research on the impact institutional response has on individuals within universities, discovering that institutional betrayal and exacerbate the harm of sexual trauma.

Freyd will present her research findings, with ideas on what institutions can do to address campus sexual violence.

This lecture is organized by Dr. Bridget Klest, associate professor in the Department of Psychology.

“An alarmingly high percentage of students report having been sexually assaulted,” says Klest. “However, most of those assaults are never reported to police or to the university. Understanding the role that universities can play in either helping or harming victims of assault is incredibly important.”

Freyd’s views are widely sought. She has published 190 papers and is the author of “Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse and “Blind to Betrayal,” co-authored with Pamela J. Birrell. In 2014, Freyd was invited twice to the U.S. White House to discuss her research on sexual assault and institutional betrayal. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.

Says Klest; “The University of Regina has begun to take steps to understand the scope of this problem.  For example last fall, it started the Gendered Violence Prevention Project and the survey launched through this project. The University of Regina has expressed a dedication to helping victims of sexual assault. There is an updated Sexual Assault and Violence Policy, the UR Safe initiative, and Man up Against Violence.

"In many ways, the University of Regina is taking an active stance and working to be a leader in addressing the problem of campus sexual assault,” she says.
Event:       Addressing Sexual Violence on Campus: From Institutional Betrayal to Institutional Courage
Speaker:   Dr. Jennifer Freyd – University of Oregon
Date:        Friday, January 27, 2017
Time:        3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location:  Education Auditorium – Room 106. It’s free and open to the public.

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