A NEW study by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) will focus on victims of sexual violence from Dumfriesshire.
The ‘Disclosing Stories’ study is the first of its kind and will focus on women over 18 from working-class backgrounds in this area.
Principal investigator Dr Karen Lorimer, above, will be trying to find out if the women told anyone, or sought help and support, and what that experience was like, good or bad, in a bid to give them a voice.
Dr Lorimer comes from a working-class family in the east end of Glasgow and said she understands the challenges and inequalities women experience, as she explained: “I grew up in Shettleston and it’s important to me that the voices of working-class women in areas of high deprivation are heard.
“This is the first study of its kind looking specifically at class in relation to sexual violence in Scotland.
“We need a small group of women, say around 20, to come forward and speak to us about whether they have told anyone about their experience. If so, who did they tell and what was the nature of that response to support their mental and physical health?
“That would be an important story to tell and how it helped their recovery from their trauma. Equally, we want to know if they faced any challenges. Often women in working-class communities don’t have the money to seek private health care so there are a lot of inequalities involved. So, we are interested in how able they feel to turn to various resources for support.
“Unfortunately, we can’t change anything that has happened to women who speak to us, but in telling their experiences and shining a light on anything that might not otherwise be heard, we hope that it will help others in the future.
“It’s a lot to ask survivors to tell us about their experiences so we absolutely want to make sure their story is heard and changes do happen. Everything people tell us is confidential.”
She says her team will create recommendations from their research and will ‘push to have them listened to’.
There will also be a workshop at the end of the study for survivors to attend if they feel they are able.
If you identify as a woman, have experienced sexual violence, identify as working class and live in Scotland, you can take part in the study and get £30 for your time.
It will involve a 60-minute Zoom or face-to-face discussion with a female interviewer. All interviews are confidential and researchers have ethical approval for the study.
n Find out more via the website www.disclosingstories.com or contact Dr Lorimer directly on 0141 331 8860/email [email protected].