Addressing Sexual Violence through Institutional Courage

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This collaborative special project has two interrelated goals. One is to nurture a research and action agenda for addressing sexual violence through institutional courage. The other is to give birth to an enduring organization with the working name The Center for Institutional Courage (CIC).   

Overview: This project (1) engages in social science research on the inter-connected problems of sexual violence, DARVO, and institutional betrayal, as well as policy applications of institutional courage, and (2) will design and launch a new research and outreach center, currently named the Center for Institutional Courage (CIC), as a national hub devoted to interdisciplinary basic and translational research. While there are many domains in our society in which institutional betrayal is rife and in which we urgently need institutional courage, the CIC will initially focus on sexual violence.

Partners: Our partners include the Freyd Dynamics Lab at the University of Oregon, the Stanford Center on Health and Stress at the School of Medicine at Stanford University, and the VMware Women's Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University. For the 2019-20 academic year we will also constitute a working group at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.

Funding: We are grateful to Silence Breakers Alliance for financial support. If you are interested in participating in funding this project, please contact Jennifer Freyd at

Who We Are

Director: Jennifer J. Freyd, Fellow, 2018-19, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, Faculty Affiliate of the VMware Women's Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University, and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon.

Advisors: Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Fellow 2018-19, CASBS, and Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan; Mike Baiocchi, Asst. Professor of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center), Stanford; Christine Blasey , Fellow 2019-20, CASBS, and Professor of Psychology at Palo Alto University; Shelley J. Correll, Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab, Stanford University; Estelle B. Freedman, Fellow 2018-19, CASBS and Professor of History, Stanford University; Jennifer Gómez, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, Wayne State University; Ashley Judd, feminist social justice humanitarian, actress, #MeToo movement leader, founding member of Time’s Up; Kim Scott, author, CEO coach, previously at Apple University, Co-Founder of Radical Candor; David Spiegel, Willson Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Center on Stress and Health, and Medical Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine; Vanessa Tyson, Fellow 2018-19, CASBS, and Associate Professor of Politics, Scripps College; Kirsten Wysen, Fellow 2018-19, CASBS, and Policy Analyst, Public Health-Seattle & King County.

Research Team

We are actively working on several research projects investigating institutional betrayal, DARVO, and institutional courage, with graduate students and faculty colleagues at Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of Oregon. From Stanford Sociology: Christianne Corbett, Chloe Hart. From Stanford School of Medicine: Mike Baiocchi and Clea Sarnquist. From Wayne State University: Jennifer Gómez. From UC Santa Cruz Psychology: Sarah Harsey. From University of Oregon Psychology: Alexis Adams-Clark, Melissa Barnes, Monika Lind, and Alec Smidt.


Presentations and Workshops

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