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.

DeMaSH project

Deprivation, Masculinities and Sexual Health

PI: Dr Karen Lorimer
CIs: Prof Kate Hunt, Prof Lesley McMillan, Prof Lisa McDaid, Dona Milne, Rosie Ilett
Funder: Chief Scientist Office (CZH/4/925)

This ambitious qualitative study, funded by the CSO, recruited 116 men and women aged 18-40 years, from areas of high socio-economic deprivation across Scotland, to 18 focus groups and 35 individual interviews. The project explored an array of sexual health understandings and behaviours via a masculinities framework, to explore how we might better develop interventions to tackle poor sexual health outcomes. We embraced the WHO holistic definition of sexual health, which goes beyond ‘bugs and babies’ to include freedom from coercion and violence.  So, in this project we explored with men and women their understandings of various forms of gender-based violence.

here is the summary on the CSO website

Lorimer, K., L. McMillan, L. McDaid, D. Milne, S. Russell and K. Hunt (2018). “Exploring masculinities, sexual health and wellbeing across areas of high deprivation in Scotland: the depth of the challenge to improve understandings and practices.” Health and Place, Vol50. Open access

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.