Senior Research Scientist Linda M. Williams, Ph.D., and Wellesley College graduate Simone Toney ’23 began working together in September 2021 through the Class of 1967 Internship Program at WCW. In 2023, they updated a chapter on rape and sexual assault in the Encyclopedia of Mental Health. Here, they talk about what they each gained from the experience.
Simone, what role did you play in writing the book chapter?
ST: My role was mainly to help update the chapter to reflect the way that rape is handled differently for victims of different racial groups and how intersectional identities are treated differently in their pursuit of justice, as well as how recent social movements like #MeToo impacted the way that victims are empowered to come forward.
What was most rewarding to you about the experience?
ST: It was rewarding getting to add social movements and updated statistics on race and intersectionality that are more visible to our culture now and to be able to see how some progress has been made since the chapter was last published
How did your work with Dr. Williams shape your future career goals?
ST: I really enjoyed working with Dr. Williams because she allowed me to pursue projects that aligned with my interests in popular culture while also discussing justice related to gender and sexual assault. She was a great guide and helped me refine my thoughts and ideas. I learned that I really love talking about the way that pop culture reflects back to us certain stereotypes and expectations of women and that working in a fluid and collaborative manner with a mentor is a really beneficial working style for me.
Dr. Williams, how did Simone’s input contribute to the book chapter?
LW: Simone hit the ground running in her work on justice and gender-based violence. We had worked together for less than a month when she wrote a blog post about gymnast Simone Biles and how the reaction to her choice to not continue competing in the Tokyo Olympics due to her mental health illustrated how women’s bodies are seen as commodities owned by others. Our Simone was then tasked to conduct a literature review, write annotated bibliographies, and assist with revisions on a chapter for the Encyclopedia of Mental Health. If you read anything from Simone (she now has a blog at SimoneToney.com), you know her writing is terrific! She updated this chapter with current research on #MeToo and on intersectionality—topics not covered in the earlier version. Thus, she made impressive contributions to the book chapter and to our understanding of rape, and she became a co-author.
Simone updated this chapter with current research on #MeToo and on intersectionality—topics not covered in the earlier version.
What has been most interesting and rewarding to you about working with interns like Simone?
LW: Learning about their goals and aspirations and discovering (along with them sometimes) where they are headed, what they know and what they need to learn, how they view the world, and how much they can contribute to it. Most rewarding is knowing we are in good hands as these young women shape the world.
Senior Research Scientist Linda M. Williams, Ph.D.
Wellesley College graduate Simone Toney ’23