The Justice and Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative, led by Co-Directors Linda M. Williams, Ph.D., and April Pattavina, Ph.D., senior research scientists, was recently launched at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). Longtime followers of the Centers may recognize Williams, who was director of research at the Stone Center at WCW from 1996 to 2005. In that role, she led the Navy Family Study, a comprehensive approach to understanding the factors that affect successful and unsuccessful outcomes for Navy families involved with the family advocacy office, as well as the outcomes for adults and children exposed to domestic violence, child physical abuse, or child sexual abuse. Williams co-directed the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center and continued her research on the long-term consequences and memories of child sexual abuse. Pattavina comes to WCW from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, where she collaborated with Williams and colleague Melissa S. Morabito, Ph.D., associate professor, on the national multi-site study of sexual assault case attrition through the criminal justice system that is described in the following interview. She brings an interest in applying advances in information and computer technology to the study of social problems. She has been invited to give presentations and workshops on the use of administrative data for policy analysis and received an award from The Boston Foundation for using data to drive community change.
Given the immense public attention on cyber bullying amongst teens and that social media is intricately tied to adolescent daily behavior, it’s not surprising that the vast majority of studies on cyber bullying are conducted on youth under 18. A recent review1 found that the highest incidence of cyber bullying in youth occurs during seventh and eighth grades—incidence that increases from elementary school, but decreases into the high school years. One might predict that since cyber bullying wanes in high school, that in college it would continue to wane. It was only until Pew’s recent study on online harassment in 2014—which demonstrated that the cyber harassment rate in young adults aged 18-24 can reach rates as high as 70 percent—that we can now see that young adulthood deserves more attention, academic inquiry, and public scrutiny.
This year we commemorate the 20th anniversary of an important milestone in the history of the global women’s movement: The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA). The BPfA was the outcome document of the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, which took place in Beijing, China, in September, 1995, along with the parallel NGO Forum in Huairou, China. The U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women represented the culmination of two decades of international women’s mobilizations (in Mexico City, Copenhagen, and Nairobi) and announced the formation of a truly global women’s movement. The Beijing/Huairou events were attended by over 50,000 people. Thus, this 20th anniversary is an important time of both celebration and reflection, not only for those who attended the events, but also for all those who care about and work on the issues enshrined in the BPfA.
Sari Pekkala Kerr, Ph.D., arrived at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) in 2010 as a deeply experienced senior researcher/micro economist. Her expertise and research accomplishments have significantly broadened the Centers’ reach into the economic implications of various government policies and marketplace realities, often with a particular focus on gender. As a micro economist, she typically studies the effects of such policies and realities on the lives of individuals, families, and children. She also brings to her work in the U.S. significant contributions from her continuing research of related issues in Europe, especially her native Finland. As a social democracy, that nation maintains a vast body of demographic statistics that has enabled her to study and quantify effects of various policies on millions of specific individuals. In some of her current work in the U.S., she seeks as far as possible to achieve an analogous breadth of scope.