I defended my dissertation in Anthropology in April 2014, and graduated from American University in May 2014. In my dissertation, I explore the concept of “rape culture” in the United States, examining how different types of violence within such a culture impacted the lives of twenty-three formerly and currently incarcerated women in Washington, D.C. After conducting thirty months of data collection at a prison reentry organization in Washington D.C., including participant-observation, forty-six interviews with research participants, and a focus group with prison reentry staff members, I engaged in qualitative data analysis to provide evidence for my assertions that currently and formerly incarcerated women were both “offenders” and “victims” of various forms of violence and inequalities. By examining these blurred lines between my research participants’ identities as offenders and victims, I argue that many of these women became involved in criminalized activities specifically because they were trying to cope with or recover from sexual victimization. I theorize and explore the concept of “rape culture,” arguing that such a culture has different forms of interconnected violence that overlap within the lives of survivors of sexual violence; these three forms of violence profoundly impacted the women’s lives before, during, and after incarceration. In conclusion, I offer a series of recommendations for prison policy reform and broad legal system reform based on suggestions made by my research participants. Currently, I am writing a book about rape culture.
Recently, I published an article focusing on the perceptions of three women who were convicted of sex crimes because of their participation in prostitution. This article is included in a special issue of Studies in Law, Politics, and Society.
I was honored to be a presenter at the End Violence Against Women International conference in 2015 and the National Sexual Assault Conference in 2016. In addition to these national trainings, I am a regular presenter at various academic and professional conferences around the country. I am available for trainings on a variety of topics; please contact me for more details.