George Mason University


News at Mason

Mason's research combatting violence against women

November 25, 2019   /   by Mary Lee Clark

As the world marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov. 25, several George Mason University researchers have committed their lives to finding ways to fight intimate partner violence. 

Angela Hattery is a professor of Women and Gender Studies Program at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She has written three books on violence against women, most recently “Social Dynamics of Family Violence.” 

“Perhaps as many as 50% of women living in the United States have at least one experience with sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence or child sexual abuse,” said Hattery. “We should all be stunned the commonality of this experience; we all have someone in our lives who has experienced gender-based violence.”

The declaration on the Elevation of Violence Against Women was issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993. Hattery has been studying intimate partner violence for more than 25 years and has seen little success “moving the needle.” She said she continues to strive for solutions and educating students at Mason so that the next generation can continue the fight.

“In order to have any significant impact on rates of gender-based violence, we need to address gender inequalities in all areas of social life,” said Hattery. “Including the gendered wage gap, discrimination in the labor market, and as recently revealed at Apple, differential access to financial instruments like credit.”

Jhumka Gupta is a social epidemiologist and associate professor in the Department of Global and Community Health. She said she is committed to this line of research “because 1 in 3 women experience intimate partner violence at some point in her lifetime—and that’s too much.”

Gupta specifically works on gender-based violence against women and girls in vulnerable populations, both within and outside the United States, and includes refugees, immigrants and communities impacted by conflict. 

Recently, Gupta led a summer research project with undergraduate students that focused on ways to help local immigrant communities reduce violence against women. They surveyed women at Northern Virginia clinics about their experiences with gender-based violence, as well as exposure to anti-immigration sentiment as threats to safety and perceptions of community connectedness.  

“The rights of the most vulnerable, migrants and women, are being stripped away,” said Gupta. “And that influences vulnerability to intimate partner violence and health consequences.”