Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 629–645 | Cite as

Before there Is a Table: Small Wins to Build a Movement against Sexual and Relationship Violence in a University Context

  • Lauren F. LichtyEmail author
  • Karen Rosenberg
  • Kyra Laughlin
Original Article


Addressing sexual and relationship violence (SRV) on campuses requires coordinated engagement from all members of the campus-community; however, many campuses do not yet have the infrastructure or institutional commitment to build an all-campus action plan. In such cases, campuses lack the metaphorical table around which collaboration happens. This paper presents tensions and lessons learned so far from a faculty-staff-student partnership to build a movement toward university-wide collaborative practice. Through iterative, collaborative reflection on our context, practice, and intermediate outcomes, we identified recommendations for improving praxis in campus-based, intersectional anti-SRV organizing. Our analysis explores how our individual positionalities both open up and limit our potential to move this work forward. We share our guiding values and frameworks, including intersectional feminist attention to power and oppression; centering survivors and students; strategic collaboration within systems; and integrating self-care and other supportive practices for building a sustainable movement. Our emergent strategy, illustrated through ten lessons/tensions and four case examples, focuses on finding close collaborators with shared SRV analysis; making the best use of resources and spaces we control; identifying meaningful “small wins;” and pursuing opportunities to connect to others through positive collaborations. Efforts to intentionally raise awareness and grow strategic institutional connections build momentum toward institutionally-supported campus-wide evaluation and reimagining of prevention and survivor-support efforts. While feminist collaborative social change is challenging, we celebrate and learn from our “two steps forward” to sustain us through the inevitable steps back. We write to stir a conversation where we help each other interpret and learn across our varied contexts.


Sexual violence Relationship violence Campus Higher education Participatory practice Collaboration Feminist praxis Social change 



This paper is dedicated to the memory of Anna Bui and every survivor of relationship and sexual violence at UW Bothell. We also want to acknowledge all of our colleagues who worked to raise the visibility of sexual and relationship violence practice on our campus. We cannot name everyone, but we are especially grateful to our collaborators in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and Student Affairs.


  1. Abrams, D., Viki, G. T., Masser, B., & Bohner, G. (2003). Perceptions of stranger and acquaintance rape: The role of benevolent and hostile sexism in victim blame and rape proclivity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 111–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adelman, M. (2004). The battering state: Towards a political economy of domestic violence. Journal of Poverty, 8(3), 45–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alinsky, S. (1971). Rules for radicals: A practical primer for realistic radicals. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  4. Allen, N. E., Watt, K. A., & Hess, J. Z. (2008). A qualitative study of the activities and outcomes of domestic violence coordinating councils. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41(1–2), 63–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. American College Health Association. (2016). Addressing Sexual and Relationship Violence on College and University Campuses. Retrieved from
  6. Aosved, A., & Long, P. (2006). Co-occurrence of rape myth acceptance, sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, classism, and religious intolerance. Sex Roles, 55(7–8), 481–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Arao, B., & Clemens, K. (2013). From safe spaces to brave spaces: A new way to frame dialogue around diversity and social justice. In L. M. Landreman (Ed.), The art of effective facilitation: Reflections from social justice educators (pp. 135–150). Sterling: Stylus Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Au, W. (2010). Unequal by design: High-stakes testing and the standardization of inequality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Bourassa, D. M., & Kruger, K. (2001). The national dialogue on academic and student affairs collaboration. New Directions for Higher Education, 2001(116), 9–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bunce, L., Baird, A., & Jones, S. E. (2017). The student-as-consumer approach in higher education and its effects on academic performance. Studies in Higher Education, 42(11), 1958–1978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burke, L. (2018, March 9).The #MeToo shockwave: How the movement has reverberated around the world. The telegraph. Retrieved from
  12. Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38(2), 217–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. (2016). Sexual Assault Prevention on U.S College Campuses: A National Scan. Retrieved from
  14. Campbell, R. (2002). Emotionally involved: The impact of researching rape. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Campbell, R., Patterson, D., & Lichty, L. F. (2005). The effectiveness of sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs: a review of psychological, medical, legal, and community outcomes. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse: A Review Journal, 6(4), 313–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Campus Advocacy and Prevention Professionals Association (2017). CAPPA position statement on Title IX implementation for campus sexual assault. Retrieved from Http://
  17. Cantor, D., Fisher, B., Chibnall, S., & Townsend, R. (2015, September 21). Report on the AAU campus climate survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Retrieved from
  18. Carello, J., & Butler, L. (2014). Potentially perilous pedagogies: teaching trauma is not the same as trauma-informed teaching. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 15(2), 153–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Center for Disease Control. (2016). Sexual Violence on Campus: Strategies for Prevention. Retrieved from
  20. Chapleau, K. M., Oswald, D. L., & Russell, B. L. (2007). How ambivalent sexism toward women and men support rape myth acceptance. Sex Roles, 57(1–2), 131–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cook-Sather, A. (2015). Sound, presence, and power: “Student voice” in educational research and reform. Curriculum Inquiry, 36(4), 359–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cousins, J., & Whitmore, E. (1998). Framing participatory evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation: A Publication of the American Evaluation Association, 1998(80), 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Durfee, A., & Rosenberg, K. (2009). Teaching sensitive issues: Feminist pedagogy and the practice of advocacy based counseling. Feminist Teacher, 19(2), 103–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fineman, M., & Mykitiuk, R. (1994). The public nature of private violence: The discovery of domestic abuse. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Foucault, M. (1990). The history of sexuality. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  27. Freire, P. (1971). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder & Herder.Google Scholar
  28. Garcia, S. E. (2017, Oct 20). The woman who created #MeToo long before hashtags. The New York times. Retrieved from
  29. Gartner, R. E., & Sterzing, P. R. (2016). Gender microaggressions as a gateway to sexual harassment and sexual assault: Expanding the conceptualization of youth sexual violence. Journal of Women and Social Work, 31(4), 491–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Greeson, M. R., & Campbell, R. (2013). Sexual assault response teams (sarts): An empirical review of their effectiveness and challenges to successful implementation. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 14(2), 83–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Groover, H. (2016). The shooting in Mukilteo is the latest example of what happens when guns meet toxic masculinity. The stranger. Accessed 7 Oct 2017.
  32. Harris, J. C., & Linder, C. (2017). Intersections of identity and sexual violence on campus: Centering Minoritized Students' experiences. Sterling: Stylus Publishing.Google Scholar
  33. Hayes, R. M., Lorenz, K., & Bell, K. A. (2013). Victim blaming others: Rape myth acceptance and the just world belief. Feminist Criminology, 8(3), 202–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hayes-Smith, R., Richards, T., & Branch, K. (2010). ‘But I’m not a counsellor’: the nature of role strain experienced by female professors when a student discloses sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 2(3), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hill Collins, P. (2002). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hong, L. (2017). Digging up the roots, rustling the leaves: A critical consideration of the root causes of sexual violence and why higher education needs more courage. In J. C. Harris & C. Linder (Eds.), Intersections of identity and sexual violence on campus (pp. 23–41). Sterling: Stylus Publishing.Google Scholar
  37. hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Ikeda, T. (2015a, Feb). #survivorloveletter. Retrieved from
  39. Ikeda, T. (2015b, April 22). My Survivor Love Letter. Retrieved from:
  40. Incite! Women of Color Against Violence (Ed.). (2006). Color of violence: The incite! Anthology. Cambridge: South End Press.Google Scholar
  41. Israel, B. A., Schulz, A. J., Parker, E. A., & Becker, A. B. (1998). Review of community-based research: Assessing partnership approaches to improve public health. Annual Review of Public Health, 19(1), 173–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Keeling, R. P., Underhile, R., & Wall, A. F. (2007). Horizontal and vertical structures: The dynamics of organization in higher education. Liberal Education, 93(4), 22–31.Google Scholar
  43. Kezar, A. (2005). Redesigning for collaboration within higher education institutions: An exploration into the developmental process. Research in Higher Education, 46(7), 831–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kezar, A. (2014). Higher education change and social networks: A review of research. The Journal of Higher Education, 85(1), 91–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Knowledge Networks. (2011). 2011 College Dating Violence Poll. Retrieved from
  46. Koepke, S., Eyssel, F., & Bohner, G. (2014). “She deserved it”: Effects of sexism norms, type of violence, and Victim’s pre-assault behavior on blame attributions toward female victims and approval of the Aggressor’s behavior. Violence Against Women, 20(4), 446–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Krebs, C., Lindquist, C., Berzofsky, M., Shook-Sa, B., & Peterson, K. (2016, January). Campus climate survey validation study final technical report. Retrieved from
  48. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). But That's just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. Theory Into Practice, 34(3), 159–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lampman, C., Phelps, A., Bancroft, S., & Beneke, M. (2009). Contrapower harassment in academia: A survey of faculty experience with student incivility, bullying, and sexual attention. Sex Roles, 60(5–6), 331–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lichty, L. F. & Campbell, R. (2012). Targets and witnesses: middle school students’ sexual harassment experiences. Journal of Early Adolescence, 32(3), 414–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lichty, L. F., Campbell, R., & Schuiteman, J. (2008). Developing a university-wide institutional response to sexual assault and relationship violence. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 36(1–2), 5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lorde, A. (1984). Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Berkley: Crossing Press.Google Scholar
  53. Madigan, L., & Gamble, N. C. (1991). The second rape: Society's continued betrayal of the victim. New York: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  54. Minkler, M., & Wallerstein, N. (Eds.). (2011). Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  55. Mirza, H. (2015). Decolonizing higher education: Black feminism and the intersectionality of race and gender. Journal of Feminist Scholarship, 7(8), 1–12.Google Scholar
  56. Muehlenhard, C. L., Peterson, Z. D., Humphreys, T. P., & Jozkowski, K. N. (2017). Evaluating the one-in-five statistic: Women’s risk of sexual assault while in college. The Journal of Sex Research, 54(4–5), 549–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Patton, T. (2004a). Reflections of a black woman professor: Racism and sexism in academia. Howard Journal of Communications, 15(3), 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Patton, T. O. (2004b). In the guise of civility: The complicitous maintenance of inferential forms of sexism and racism in higher education. Women's Studies in Communication, 27(1), 60–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Perez, A., Basu, A., & Silva, J. M. (2015, October). Direct action toward social change: diversity center initiatives at UWB. Roundtable discussion presented at the 2015 Community Action in the West (CRA-W) 10th Annual Conference, Bothell, WA, October 2015.Google Scholar
  60. Richie, B. E. (2000). A black feminist reflection on the antiviolence movement. Signs, 25(4), 1133–1137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schechter, S. (1982). Women and male violence: The visions and struggles of the battered Women’s movement. Boston: South End Press.Google Scholar
  62. Schneider, E. (2000). Battered women and feminist lawmaking. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Silva, J. M. (2018). “We got you”: what raising up the next generation of scholar- activists has taught me. In M. Whitaker & E. Grollman (Eds.), Counternarratives from women of color in academics: bravery, vulnerability, & resistance. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  64. Smith, C. P., & Freyd, J. J. (2014). Institutional betrayal. American Psychologist, 69(6), 575–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sokoloff, N. J., & Dupont, I. (2005). Domestic violence at the intersections of race, class, and gender: Challenges and contributions to understanding violence against marginalized women in diverse communities. Violence Against Women, 11(1), 38–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sokoloff, N. J., & Pratt, C. (Eds.). (2005). Domestic violence at the margins: Readings on race, class, gender, and culture. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Tunguz, S. (2016). In the eye of the beholder: Emotional labor in academia varies with tenure and gender. Studies in Higher Education, 41(1), 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. University of Washington Bothell. (2017). Fast facts 2016–2017. Accessed 7 Oct 2017.
  69. White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. (2014, January). Preventing and Addressing Campus Sexual Misconduct: A Guide for University and College Presidents, Chancellors, and Senior Administrators. Retrieved from
  70. Yeigh, W. (2017, May 23). Supporting all survivors. Accessed 9 Oct 2017.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Washington BothellBothellUSA

Personalised recommendations