Sex, Sexualities and Sexual HarmĀ  (SSSH!)

The Sex, Sexualities and Sexual Harm (SSSH!) Research Group exists to work towards the prevention of sexual harm and to destigmatise consensual, ethical sexualities.

We believe that:

  • A world without sexual harm is achievable and possible, and sexual harm is preventable
  • Ethical, consensual and safe experiences of sexual desire, expression and pleasure are a human right

Founded in Psychology, we take a creative and interdisciplinary approach in much of our work. We are guided by our values:

  1. Curiosity: fostering understanding, being open to possibilities and exploring solutions.

  2. Empathy: centring care in our practices and relating with compassion in our engagement with everyone we work with.

  3. Creativity: exploring artistic collaborations and innovative ways of thinking about, doing, and sharing our work.

  4. Accountability: addressing power inequalities, and being proactive about intersectional inclusion.

We work to embed and demonstrate these values in every aspect of our work, including the ways we work together as a research group.

We support each other to be unafraid to take on research that may shed light on difficult themes. This allows us to open up conversations within and beyond our sphere of influence, to get to the heart of what can give rise to sexual harm, its impacts, and new ways to tackle it.

Our work over the next four years will focus on three core themes:

Understanding that secrecy, shame, and a lack of accurate information and support are often factors in sexual harm and that we need to work with individuals, communities and wider society to stop sexual harm.

Destigmatising sex and sexualities that are ethical and consensual, and encouraging a more nuanced understanding of the practice of consent as a vital and transformative process in human relationships.

Considering ways to redress sexual harm, improve access to appropriate support and care, achieve accountability and enable learning; including social, sexual, reproductive, victim-survivor, legal, and transformative justices.

We are anti-racist, trans-inclusive and supportive of sex workers’ rights. Global majority/people of colour are not currently represented within our group and we are keen to address this, recognising the importance of representation from minoritised groups and the value of intersectionality in our work.

We work closely with individuals and communities who experience or are affected by sexual harm, and the agencies that support and represent them, to gather a meaningful understanding of their lived experiences. We also work with those who have harmed, or who might harm others, to understand motives, meaningful accountability and ways to stop harm.

We gather, analyse, interpret and share these stories in order to understand, communicate and advocate for effective ways to stop harm from occurring and re-occurring.

We make an impact not only via traditional academic routes, including publishing research articles in journals and presenting at academic symposia. By taking a creative and interactive approach, our work can become more compelling and reach wider audiences to affect change. We run our own events and newsletter, and we seek out opportunities to collaborate with individuals and organisations in other disciplines and sectors.

We currently host an Activist in Residence, professional performing artist, Jenn Wilson, who has offered provocations on the theme of consent culture and facilitated creative workshops on addressing stigma. Jenn is presently creating music videos as an experimental platform for sharing our research findings.

We will continue to seek out and seize opportunities to share our work wherever and however it can make a real difference.

For further details or enquiries, please contact Dr Rhys Turner-Moore, SSSH! research group lead, at r.turner-moore@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

For updates on the SSSH! research group, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on twitter.

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