Elevating the conversation on how to prevent harassment

Written by: Andria Rivero

Dr. Vicki Burns with award

Dr. Vicki Burns, an instructor in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, was quoted in this month’s edition of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Monitor on Psychology. The article focuses on women in psychology and leadership and the challenges they face that include wage gaps, leadership, promotions and harassment. The Monitor, the official magazine for the APA, publishes monthly about the latest trends and phenomenon across the field of psychology for students, educators, researchers and practitioners.

As the chair of Division 35’s Violence Against Women Committee for the APA, Dr. Burns stressed the importance of making allies. Starting the conversation and informing colleagues of discrimination better strengthen the ability, security, and comfort of survivors to speak out. At the same time, organizations should create and update their sexual harassment policies that reflect the same level of consequence and punishment akin to other misconduct.

In particular, Dr. Burns focused on the college space and the tendency to silence survivors of sexual assault and the power imbalance between campus faculty and employee and graduate students. “Sexual harassment violations may start out as consensual relationships, but when there’s a power dynamic involved, it can get really murky,” she explained.

This article first appeared in the Monitor in April 2019.