My program of research is motivated by my interest and concern for promoting the safety and wellbeing of others by addressing issues in cross cutting violence. As such, I work closely with KSU students and community organizations to build knowledge and examine issues surrounding violence prevention and intervention during different developmental periods.
The primary focus of my research is about understanding current prevalence rates and experiences of stalking, harassment, rape, sexual assault of college students, collectively known as interpersonal violence (IV). Dr. Corinne McNamara and I have worked collaboratively to study reasons students do not report IV and students’ attitudes and knowledge of campus services related to preventing and reporting IV. Additionally, we have studied attitudes and knowledge about sex trafficking. As a member of Georgia's Human Trafficking Task Force, I am currently leading a study on youth awareness and safety as it relates to their violence prevention education, their knowledge, and behaviors.
Furthermose, I have conducted program evaluations to assess their effectiveness. One project was centered on the assessment of rape prevention education (RPE) needs in Georgia. Dr. McNamara and I assessed the RPE needs for each county, served as consultants for the project, analyzed the data collected, and assisted in preparing the report commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Subsequently, another evaluations was completed for the GA Department of Public Health in collaboration with the CDC. My colleagues and I were awarded contracts to review and improve existing evaluation plans and assess the effectiveness of four statewide middle and high school and college IV education and prevention programs: Step Up. Step In., One in Four and Beyond, Coaching Boys Into Men, and Safe Dates.
I have also co-authored several book chapters that address violence and psycholegal issues. For example, in the book chapter, Violence and Terrorism, in the book, Misogyny in American Culture: Causes, Trends, and Solutions, we discussed how American society’s misogynist values maintain and cultivate a culture of violence against women and children. We also explained types of violence and the current trends regarding prevalence, prevention, intervention, and the impact of and responses to abuse.
Finally, involving undergraduates in the research process, from conceptualization to finished products is a priority in my research lab. As a result, our research has been presented at local, regional, national, and international conferences and published in many peer-reviewed journals including Law and Human Behavior, Psychology, Public Policy and Law, Violence Against Women, Journal of American College Health, Elder Abuse and Neglect, Child Maltreatment, and Child Abuse and Neglect.