May 29, 2017

Wilson and Students Publish Paper on Sexual Violence

Laura Wilson, assistant professor of psychology, has published a paper with recent graduates of the University of Mary Washington. During their senior year, Hannah Walker, Jennifer Freud, Robyn Ellis and Shawn Fraine completed a large-scale project on sexual violence under Wilson’s guidance. The paper, “The Prevalence of Sexual Revictimization: A Meta-Analytic Review,” was recently published in a top tier peer-reviewed trauma journal called Trauma, Violence, & Abuse.

Robyn Ellis and Shawn Fraine also co-presented the study with Wilson at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference in Dallas in November. The primary research question for the project was: What percentage of child sexual abuse survivors experience sexual violence again later in life? This phenomenon is called sexual revictimization. During the study, the students read almost 1,500 research articles about child sexual abuse. They then used a review process that narrowed it down to 80 relevant studies and used a statistical approach called meta-analysis. The results showed that almost half of child sexual abuse survivors are sexually victimized again in the future. These results confirm the high risk of sexual revictimization among child sexual abuse survivors and highlight the importance of increased awareness about this issue in society.

UMW professor named ‘Rising Star’ (The Free Lance-Star)

Safe Zone Training

The Safe Zone program offers workshops that are designed to educate members of the University community about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ+) issues to increase the safety and inclusion of all its members.

Safe Zone consists of people who:

  1. Will be understanding, supportive, and trustworthy if LGBTQ+ individuals need help, advice or just someone to talk to.
  2. Will not tolerate homophobic and heterosexist comments and actions and will address them in an educational and informative manner.
  3. Will have received training and can provide information regarding on- or off-campus resources.

We offer two types of Safe Zone workshops for faculty and staff. The Basic training focuses on terminology, issues related to privilege, increasing awareness and sensitivity, and how to support the LGBTQ+ population on campus. The Advanced training is geared toward faculty and staff who have already completed the Basic training and covers more advanced topics, including bystander intervention.

We are currently accepting enrollment for two Basic training sessions for any interested faculty or staff member on Tuesday, March 21, from noon to 2 p.m. and Wednesday, April 12, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. We are also offering an Advanced training on Tuesday, April 11, from noon to 2 p.m. Registration is required and space is limited. Please email Laura Wilson at to register for one of the trainings or if you have questions.

Wilson Publishes Paper on Military Sexual Trauma

Laura Wilson, Assistant Professor of Psychological Science, published a paper last month on the frequency of military sexual trauma. The paper, titled “The Prevalence of Military Sexual Trauma: A Meta-Analysis,” was published in a peer-reviewed journal called Trauma, Violence, & Abuse. Wilson conducted a meta-analysis and found that 15.7 percent of military personnel and veterans report experiencing military sexual trauma during their service. She also found that women are at substantially greater risk of military sexual trauma, with 38.4 percent of women reporting military sexual trauma compared to 3.9 percent of men. Ultimately, the findings suggest that military sexual trauma may be a more pervasive problem, among both men and women in the military, than previously recognized. Wilson conducted this project as part of her 2016-2017 Faculty Research Grant.

Wilson is Editor for Groundbreaking Book

Laura Wilson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Science, served as the editor for a book titled “The Wiley Handbook of the Psychology of Mass Shootings.” She also authored a chapter in the book on the psychological impact of direct exposure to a mass shooting. The book was published this month by Wiley. It is the first full-length academic examination of mass shootings from a psychological perspective and gathers together the latest insights from research and practice in one timely and much-needed reference work.

Wilson Publishes Two Papers with Students

Laura Wilson, Assistant Professor of Psychological Science, has published two papers with recent graduates of the University of Mary Washington. During their senior year, Alesha Ballman, Emma Leheney, Katherine Miller and Brittany Simmons completed two projects on sexual assault under the guidance of Dr. Wilson.

The first paper, “Examining the psychological effect of rape acknowledgment: The interaction of acknowledgment status and ambivalent sexism,” was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Based on the results of this project, they found that emotional functioning among female rape survivors was a function of both the survivor’s conceptualization of the event and her beliefs about gender.

The second paper, “Bystander perceptions of same-gender versus mixed-gender rape: A pilot study,” was published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma. They found that the gender of the individuals involved in a rape incident significantly impacted how observers described the sexual assault experience. Furthermore, regardless of the gender of the individuals involved in the incident, approximately half of college students did not label a non-consensual sexual act as rape.

APS Publishes Wilson’s Article

The Association for Psychological Science’s “Observer” recently published an article by Laura Wilson, assistant professor of psychology, entitled “Introduction to Meta-Analysis: A Guide for the Novice.”