Introduction to the Special Issue: Feminist Framings of Sexual Violence on College Campuses

AuthorAnisa Zvonkovic,Shannon E. Weaver,Elizabeth A. Sharp
Published date01 February 2017
Date01 February 2017
E A. S Texas Tech University
S E. W University of Connecticut
A Z Virginia Tech
Introduction to the Special Issue: Feminist Framings
of Sexual Violence on College Campuses
Brave.Resilient.Strong. These three words
describe survivors of sexual violence. This spe-
cial issue is dedicated to all survivors of sexual
violence, and especially to survivors on college
campuses. Sexual assault on college campuses
has been a widespread problem for decades
(see Haaken, 2017). Over the past few years,
a surge of national and international attention
has brought the issue to the forefront. Largely
a result of student activists (Krause, Miedema,
Woofter, & Yount, 2017) and commitment
from President Obama’s administration, there
is a growing movement in the United States
acknowledging the prevalence of gendered
sexual violence in society and on college cam-
puses. A particular spotlight has been directed
at institutions of higher education and their
systematic dismissal and improper handling
of sexual violence complaints. Feminist fam-
ily scholars possess specialized knowledge
that we believe can make substantive progress
toward eradicating sexual violence from college
campuses. Toward that end, this special issue
offers an accessible and expansive guide for
understanding, preventing, and intervening with
Department of Human Development and Family Studies,
Box 1230, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409
the epidemic problem of gender-based sexual
violence on college campuses.
B   S I
This special issue grew out of discussions
among feminist family scholars who are mem-
bers of the National Council of Family Relations
(NCFR) Feminism and Family Studies (FFS)
section. Anisa began the discussion around the
time the Dear Colleague letter addressing sexual
violence in schools and on college campuses
was published (U.S. Department of Education,
2011). Her university had sent the letter to all
administrators in the early fall of 2011, and,
feeling a sense of the enormity of the changes it
invoked, she took the opportunity of the annual
meeting of NCFR to gather interested FFS
members to discuss it and its implications. At
that time, many institutions had not yet shared
the letter with faculty. Then, in 2014, Shannon,
Anisa, and Elizabeth formed the FFS Task
Force on Campus Sexual Violence. We invited
FFS members whose work focused on violence
to join. We interviewed task force members
about their research, asking them for incisive
recommendations to move forward. One rec-
ommendation, which we followed, was to host
a preconference workshop in 2015, “Feminist
Framings of Campus Sexual Violence.” The
workshop included 15 presentations and 80 par-
ticipants. According to attendee feedback, the
event was enormously successful; participants
Family Relations 66 (February 2017): 7–16 7

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