July 1, 2022

Book Talk With Dr. Laura Wilson, April 7


Dr. Laura Wilson

Dr. Laura Wilson

Please join us for this exciting and educational conversation with Dr. Laura Wilson, who recently co-authored A Clinician’s Guide to Disclosures of Sexual Assault. This event will occur on Thursday, April 7th, between 4-5 pm in the HCC’s Digital Auditorium. We will provide light refreshments, and the first ten attendees will receive a copy of the book.

About the Co-AuthorLaura C. Wilson received her BS in Psychology and Sociology from Virginia Tech, her MA in General/Experimental Psychology from the College of William & Mary, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Tech. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System. She joined the Department of Psychological Science at the University of Mary Washington in 2013 and is currently an Associate Professor. She also currently serves as the Director of the University of Mary Washington Safe Zone, a program that advocates for and educates about the LGBTQ+ community.

About the Book: Sexual assault is a worldwide public health concern, as it occurs to people of all genders at alarming rates and results in serious impacts to physical and mental health. Furthermore, the reactions that survivors receive from formal and informal supports can significantly influence survivors’ recovery. Given the prevalence of sexual assault, practitioners need to be prepared to handle disclosures of sexual assault from clients.

A Clinician’s Guide to Disclosures of Sexual Assault provides guidance for service providers on how to interact with survivors of sexual assault, defined here as sexual contact or penetration without the explicit consent of the victim. The book highlights that there are specific populations (e.g., sexual minorities, men) and settings (e.g., military, higher education) that require unique considerations when discussing sexual violence. Beginning with a foundation of literature focused on sexual assault and survivor disclosure, chapters build upon current theory and offer recommendations for conducting effective assessments and psychotherapy with survivors. Finally, case examples are presented to illustrate how these approaches can be used in practice. Professionals across disciplines, such as medical or educational settings, law enforcement, and victim services, have an instrumental role in facilitating survivor recovery, and this book offers best practices for delivering services in an affirming manner.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Prevention and Education (CPE), Department of Psychological Science, Safe Zone, Talley Center for Counseling Services, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGST).

For more information, contact prevention@umw.edu

Mass Shootings (Nashville Public Radio)

Upcoming Safe Zone Events

UMW Safe Zone rainbow bell towerSafe Zone is excited to announce several upcoming events.

We will be hosting our spring book club on Wednesday, February 23 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. We will be reading Angela Chen’s ACE: What Asexuality Reveals about Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex. This program is open to all faculty and staff, including adjunct faculty and part-time staff. Books will be provided for free to the first 15 participants who register. Registration is required and space is limited.

We will be offering our next Faculty/Staff Basic Workshop on Thursday, February 24 from 3:00-5:30 on-campus. This workshop is open to all faculty and staff, including adjunct faculty and part-time staff. In this workshop, we cover everything from basic terminology to how to be an ally. The overall aim of the workshop is to help make UMW a more LGBTQ+ inclusive community. At the end of the workshop, participants will have an opportunity to sign our ally form and get a rainbow eagle ally sticker. Registration is required and space is limited.

We will be tabling for Transgender Day of Visibility on Thursday, March 31 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Weather permitting we will be on the UC patio. Otherwise, you can find us in the lobby of the UC. Please come out and write a message of support. We’ll be handing out resources and swag. All are welcome to stop by the table!

If you have any questions about Safe Zone or would like to register for the workshop and/or book club, then please email Laura Wilson at lwilson5@umw.edu.

Wilson Interviewed for Vox Article, “The School Shooting Generation Grows Up”

Associate Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson

Associate Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson

Associate Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson was recently interviewed for a Vox.com article, “The School Shooting Generation Grows Up,” about survivors of the early wave of school shootings in the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s.

Each survivor was trying to make sense of an experience with mass tragedy with a brain that was still developing. They’d spend years processing and reprocessing the trauma as they got older. Experts still don’t have a complete picture of the different ways that brain development can affect the processing of trauma. “As a field, we’re still figuring it out,” said Laura Wilson, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington and editor of The Wiley Handbook of the Psychology of Mass Shootings.

Still, the field of psychology has come a long way in understanding how children and teenagers might experience post-traumatic stress. “Young people are in a lot of ways more resilient,” Wilson said, but they also have less life experience to help them make sense of violence, making them more susceptible to destabilizing shifts in their worldview. It might be harder for young people to feel safe again after experiencing a mass shooting. Read more.

October Safe Zone tabling events

UMW Safe ZoneOn October 20, from 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the lobby of the UC we will be celebrating International Pronouns Day. On that day, we will be making pronoun buttons in recognition of how important it is to respect others’ pronouns and to share our own pronouns. All are welcome. We will be giving out stickers and buttons.

Please email Laura Wilson at lwilson5@umw.edu with questions.

Fall Safe Zone programs

The UMW 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 campus citizens. At the end of each workshop, participants have the opportunity to become a Safe Zone ally for our campus. Safe Zone allies are individuals who will:

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

We offer several types of Safe Zone programs every semester for faculty and staff. All faculty and staff are welcome and encouraged to attend these workshops, including adjunct faculty and part-time staff.

  • We will be offering a basic training on Tuesday, September 14 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. (in-person on campus). This training focuses on terminology, issues related to privilege, increasing awareness and sensitivity, and how to support the LGBTQ+ population on campus.
  • We will be offering an advanced training on Wednesday, September 22 from 1:00-3:30 p.m. (in-person on campus). The advanced training is for faculty and staff who have already completed the basic training and covers more complex topics, including bystander intervention.
  • We will be holding a two-part book club for Faculty and Staff on Tuesday, September 28 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. and Tuesday, October 5 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (in-person on campus). We will be reading Megan Rapinoe’s memoir titled “One Life.” Megan Rapinoe is a star for the United States Women’s National Soccer team and a vocal activist for a range of issues, including LGBTQ+ inclusion, racial justice, and equal pay. We will offer a free book to the first 12 people to sign-up. Participants are expected to attend both book club sessions because this is a two-part discussion.

If you would like to attend one or all of these events, please email Laura Wilson at lwilson5@umw.edu. Registration is required to attend. Please also keep in mind that all participants are expected to wear a mask and to wear that mask correctly throughout the entire Safe Zone program. If you do not comply with this policy, then you will be asked to leave.

Please stop by the Safe Zone table in the lobby of the University Center on Monday, August 30 from 11:00-1:00 or Tuesday, August 31 from 12:30-2:00. We will have helpful resources and awesome swag to give out. If you have questions about the Safe Zone program, please reach out to Dr. Laura Wilson at lwilson5@umw.edu or check out our website bit.ly/UMWsafezone.

If your office, department, or students would like to schedule a training, then please email Laura. If you would like more information about Safe Zone at UMW, to see the list of allies on our campus, or access LGBTQ+ inclusion resources, please visit our website at bit.ly/UMWsafezone. Also, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram @umwsafezone.

Unacknowledged rape: the sexual assault survivors who hide their trauma – even from themselves (US News Hub)

Wilson Comments on Colorado Shooting in The Washington Post

Associate Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson

Associate Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson

Associate Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson was interviewed by The Washington Post on her thoughts about the recent Colorado shooting for an article entitled, “Police officer killed in ‘ambush’ by man who ‘expressed hatred’ of law enforcement, officials say.” The article also ran in The Sentinel Source.

Laura C. Wilson, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, said that years ago she might have thought about each mass shooting or shooting in a public place as having unique characteristics that affect survivors. But she now considers the trauma of multiple events. Read more.


A closed door, and a prayer: Woman hid as man fired shots in Colorado (Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

Wilson Comments on Boulder Grocery Store Shooting

Laura Wilson, associate professor of psychology

Laura Wilson, associate professor of psychology

Associate Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson was interviewed on the March 22 grocery store shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the North Arkansas Democrat Gazette article entitled, “A closed door, and a prayer: Woman hid as man fired shots in Colorado.”

[Wilson] has focused on post-trauma functioning from mass trauma. She says most people’s exposure and understanding of mass shootings consists of the immediate aftermath.

“They see the news coverage of the crime scene and watch the investigators’ news briefing,” Wilson said. “Within a few days the news trucks leave and people’s attention turns to the next major news event. This is when the grief and recovery work starts for the survivors.”

Wilson said every person will process the events differently. Some will have intense, acute reactions that subside in a few days or weeks. Effects could be chronic for others, and some experience delayed reactions.

“Each person is different, and their recovery will look different,” she said. Read more.