Hostile Environments? Exploring gender and class in relation to sexual violence

This research project addresses the knowledge gap that exists regarding working class women’s experiences of sexual violence. The aim of the project is to explore how sexual violence is understood and experienced by victim-survivors at the intersection of gender and class. In doing so, we will develop a more nuanced picture of how social class intersects with, and is modified by, gender inequality in relation to sexual violence. To recognise violence as gendered is to enable a mobilisation of people to challenge violence against women; however, we must also retain a class focus as, for example, being considered as a ‘credible complainer’ is a deeply classed notion rooted in the notion of respectability (Phipps 2009). In this study, we will speak to women about their experiences, including if they have disclosed their experiences and the nature of responses, to better understand the nexus between gender, class and sexual violence.

The project is funded by British Academy/Leverhulme

The study website is

We are recruiting Feb – May 2023. Project runs until October 2023.


Karen Lorimer, Giulia Greco & Paula Lorgelly (2022) A new sexual wellbeing paradigm grounded in capability approach concepts of human flourishing and social justice,Culture, Health & Sexuality,DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2022.2158236

Birdi, G., et al. (2022). “An exploration of patient satisfaction with and experience of a sexual abuse survivors clinic.” International Journal of STD & AIDS 33(2): 180-185.

Lorimer, K., et al. (2022). “Improving the health and social wellbeing of young people: exploring the potential of and for collective agency.” Critical Public Health 32(2): 145-152.



Patterson, S., L. McDaid, K. Hunt, S. Hilton, P. Flowers, L. McMillan, D. Milne and K. Lorimer (2019). “How men and women learn about sex: multi-generational perspectives on insufficient preparedness and prevailing gender norms in Scotland.” Sex Education: 1-16. (Open access  

Lorimer, K (2019) Operationalising the Capability Approach for a multidimensional measure of sexual health and wellbeing. Gender Studies Conference, University of Helsinki 24-26 October

Lorimer, K (2019) How do we embrace human flourishing and social justice in the evaluation of sexual health and wellbeing interventions? Insights from qualitative work. Human Development and Capability Association Conference, London 9-11 September

Lorimer, K., L. DeAmicis, J. Dalrymple, J. Frankis, L. Jackson, P. Lorgelly, L. McMillan and J. Ross (2019). “A rapid review of sexual wellbeing definitions and measures: should we now include sexual wellbeing freedom?” Journal of Sex Research.

Caswell, R., J. Ross and K. Lorimer (2019). “Assessing the measurement of patient experience and outcome in health care settings on receiving care after sexual violence: a systematic review.” Sexually Transmitted Infection.

McDaid, L., K. Hunt, L. McMillan, S. Russell, D. Milne, R. Ilett and K. Lorimer (2019). “Absence of holistic sexual health understandings among men and women in deprived areas of Scotland: qualitative study.” BMC Public Health 19(1): 299. (Open access)

Lorimer, K. and L. McMillan (2019). Gender and Class in the Blaming and Shaming of Women in Sexual Violence. BSA Annual Conference. Glasgow Caledonian University.

Towards an effective structure for the delivery of clinical supervision to sexual health nurses: a mixed methods project

Towards an effective structure for the delivery of clinical supervision to sexual health nurses: a mixed methods project

PI: Dr Jenny Dalrymple
CI: Karen Lorimer (GCU)
Funder: NHSGG&C mental/sexual health partnership

(Jan 2018 – March 2019)

Aim: The study aims to develop an effective format for undertaking clinical supervision with sexual health nurses.

Research questions:

  1. How does the length of each clinical supervision session impact on its effectiveness for sexual healthnurses?
  2. How does the frequency of clinical supervision impact on its effectiveness for sexual health nurses?
  3. How does one to one clinical supervision compared to group supervision impact on its effectiveness for sexual health nurses?
  4. How does the location of clinical supervision impact on its effectiveness for sexual health nurses?
  5. How does being able to choose a supervisor impact on the effectiveness of clinical supervision for sexual health nurses?
  6. How do sexual health nurses and junior doctors experience clinical supervision?

Social media use as a busy academic

Lots has already been written about using social media as an academic, so what can I add?  Being honest, not much except perhaps to curate some of this for you and offer a brief summary.  So if you’re new to social media as an academic, here are some useful things to consider.

For starters, the LSE impact of social sciences blog has featured some great articles

Pat Thomson has written about project blogs:  What makes a successful research project blog? Forums for generating ideas fare better than sharing final results as well as Why do bloggers blog about blogging?

Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson wrote about ‘Academic blogging is part of a complex online academic attention economy, leading to unprecedented readership.’  Across many of the blogs they looked at, they tended to be ‘academics talking to academics in an effort to advance knowledge and understanding’

Melissa Terras shared with us what happened to the dissemination of her work when she blogged and tweeted about it.

You need to tell people about your work if you want them to see it

What I’ve taken from these and the many other pieces about different forms of social media use, is that it is good to direct people’s attention to your outputs, as well as who you are.  Melissa is right:  people will read your work if you tell them about it.  What I particularly like from Melissa’s post is that you can put in some of this effort after your work has already been published and not necessarily at the point it is published.  I’ve found myself incredibly up to my eyes in work as a paper is coming out and wishing it could be delayed a week or two to allow me to ‘do the social media bit’.  What Melissa has taught me is don’t worry, you can still do this later.

Time is often a factor people cite as why they struggle with social media

There are some really useful tips online for creating Twitter lists, to make the most of your time on Twitter.

I also use TweetDeck on my computer to monitor the different Twitter accounts I manage, and schedule posts.  This displays as columns, and I can create a column simply to follow a conference hashtag, which is really useful if I’m not able to attend the conference.  Here’s an example from a University of Sussex blog post (and they explain really well how to use this functionality).

Being able to schedule posts for the Sexual Health Research Network is really useful to help me manage my time and ensure there is regular activity on the account.

Select a platform and try to curate your information there rather than spread yourself thin by trying to maintain too many accounts.  For example, if you like ResearchGate then try to keep that up-to-date and y’know it’s ok not to use anything else.  Personally, I find ResearchGate a bit tricky to use and I don’t like how it displays information.  A reason I started my own site was to have all the information I wanted to share in the one place, and where I was in more control of the content.

Finally, it’s also ok to be a ‘lurker’ – for example, to read twitter and not interact.  The Nature Social Networks survey from 2014 showed that many academics want to share information and view information, but are less likely to want to interact.  So, if you’re in that camp then you’re not alone.

It’s not equality of voice

I struggle with any training in social media use that assumes (by virtue of silence) that we all have equality of access and/or voice.  Alison Phipps wrote about research impact work not being neutral, and Tressie McMillan Cottom has shared her experiences of being a black, female academic putting herself and her work into the public domain. What these examples should alert us to is the potential personal cost to putting oneself in the public domain.  We hear about the importance of ensuring the public know of our work if it has been publicly funded, but we must protect our staff and students if they are at risk of being abused online in any way.  It is also acceptable to remain offline and this must be something that institutions support and do not force social media use on anyone.