Two hands holding each other.
  • What might an intersectional, abolitionist practice of policy making around sexual violence look like?

The #MeToo movement has brought renewed visibility to issues related to sexual assault, harassment, and abuse of power, illuminating how even those women with significant amounts of social, political, and economic power experience gender-based harassment that, until now, has gone unreported for fear of social and professional repercussions. This celebrity advocacy builds on the work of feminist legal scholars who, in the 1980s and 1990s, drew attention to how sexual harassment contributed to gender inequality in workplaces. At the same time, there has long been a different tradition of analysis from Indigenous and women of color feminists who have noted that sexual violence is constitutive of white supremacist and settler colonial societies. This tradition is the context for black feminist activists, such as Tarana Burke, who coined “me too” as an expression of solidarity and support for women of color whose experiences of sexual abuse may have otherwise been elided. As the chorus of the #MeToo movement has grown louder, scholars and activists have begun calling for an expanded focus. Sexual harassment and abuse are endemic, but if the origins and effects of sexual violence are so differentiated by historical and material structures of race, gender, sexuality, citizenship, and class, is there utility in subsuming all manifestations of sexual violence under one conceptual category?

CSW’s research on sexual violence is closely tied to our Feminist Anti-Carceral Studies project. Our research will propose intersectional, abolitionist interventions in sexual assault policy at level of university campuses and beyond. How, we ask, can we move beyond punitive and carceral solutions that only perpetuate violence, and instead work towards justice?

Sexual Violence as Structural Violence: Feminist Visions of Transformative Justice

Thinking Gender is an annual public conference highlighting student research on women, sexuality, and gender across all disciplines and historical periods. The 2020 Thinking Gender theme was Sexual Violence as Structural Violence: Feminist Visions of Transformative Justice.

The conference took place on Friday, March 6, 2020 at UCLA Carnesale Commons.


In an article for the American Association of University Professors, CSW Associate Director Grace Hong discusses CSW’s work on sexual violence. Hong asks:

“What might responses to sexual and gender-based violence and harassment on campus look like if we truly took intersectional and anticarceral approaches? How might we best bring decades of feminist research, scholarship, and activism to bear on our responses to sexual violence and harassment?”


CSW’s Faculty Working Group on Sexual Violence is led by CSW Director Grace Hong.

The group is conducting research on campus sexual assault policies and Title IX, and will be issuing a report on how campus policy makers can best serve students, faculty, and staff.


Addressing Sexual Violence, Reshaping Institutions, Achieving Justice: Shelter, Intersectionality, and Sexual Harassment Policy

For the 2018-2019 edition of our Policy Brief publication, we invited UCLA Graduate Students to submit work that answers the following questions: When the institutions tasked with providing shelter instead become sites of sexual violence and harassment, how should feminist policy-makers respond? How can we think of sexual violence as not a stable or monolithic category, but differentiated by citizenship, race, sexuality, gender, and class? What might an intersectional, abolitionist practice of policy making around sexual violence look like?

Read or download a the 2018-2019 Policy Briefs.