2019-2020

The Sex Crime Paradox

Psychology/Gender Studies/Law/History

My project, which will take the form of a book, offers a novel theory of why America’s sex culture and laws have become highly dysfunctional and offers suggestions as to what action should be taken. Building on research from a range of academic disciplines, it explores the common roots underlying both the social panic and denial regarding sexual violence that have emerged in the modern United States. I contend that “stranger danger,” lingering puritanical norms, and patriarchal beliefs stand at the heart of the misguided and ineffective efforts to confront sexual violence.

I am looking for assistance in research in several key areas: media portrayals of sexual violence, recent research in the wake of #MeToo, and social psychology research about the relationship between panic and denial. This project builds on my substantial prior work in the area, and I am looking for research partners who have particular interests in the topic to help me complete the book during the coming academic year.