Episode 5

Published on:

8th Oct 2021

Dr Fiona Vera-Gray - Men’s Violence against Women, Street Harassment, and Pornography

What role can men play in ending violence against women and girls? Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry – and many other women – have been murdered by men in the UK over the last year. This has led to an outpouring of anger about the extent of men’s violence, the pervasiveness of sexism and misogyny that underpins it, and the failure of key institutions to respond effectively. In this episode we talk to Dr Fiona Vera-Gray, Assistant Professor in Durham University’s Department of Sociology, who is an expert on sexual violence, street harassment and pornography, about her research and what needs to change.

The episode covers the following topics:

  • Whether the heightened awareness and public debate about men’s violence against women is likely to lead to significant change.
  • The response of the police, the wider criminal justice system, and UK government to calls for them to do more to tackle men’s violence against women and girls.
  • What men need to do to help become part of the solution.
  • Problems that can arise when men do get involved in work to end violence against women.
  • Fiona’s research into the impacts of men’s intrusions and harassment of women in public spaces, and how this constrains their freedoms.
  • Her research on the content of mainstream online pornography.
  • The influences that pornography is having on society, including on ideas of masculinity and male sexuality, and what we should do about it.
  • The impact that feminism and being part of the movement to end violence against women and girls has had on Fiona. 

You can find out more about Fiona’s work here: https://www.durham.ac.uk/staff/fiona-vera-gray/, and follow her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/VeraGrayF

An article on what men can do to help end violence against women by Stephen, Sandy and Nicole Westmarland, ‘How men can be allies to women right now’, was published in March 2021: https://theconversation.com/how-men-can-be-allies-to-women-right-now-157126


If you have been affected by sexual violence, information and support is available from Rape Crisis: https://rapecrisis.org.uk/get-help/

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About the Podcast

Now and Men
Current conversations about men's lives
What's it like to be a man in the 21st century? How are feminist issues relevant to men and boys? These questions are being discussed more than ever.

Our monthly podcast delves into these issues with experts such as practitioners, activists and academics. In each episode, you’ll hear in-depth conversations about masculinity, gender equality, and the lives of men and boys, with topics ranging from preventing violence against women, to promoting active fatherhood, to supporting men's health.

The podcast is created and hosted by Dr Stephen Burrell, Sandy Ruxton and Professor Nicole Westmarland, who are researchers from the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA), in the Department of Sociology at Durham University in the UK. If you would like to give us your feedback, suggest a guest, or have a question you'd like us to discuss in a future episode, get in touch with us at nowandmen@gmail.com.

About your hosts

Stephen Burrell

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I am a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Durham University in the UK, and a Deputy Director of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA). My research is about men and masculinities - especially preventing men's violence against women, and currently, engaging men and boys in caring for the planet. I'm also a trustee for White Ribbon UK and on the steering group for Changing Relations CIC. In my spare time I'm a big fan of drinking tea and being in nature.

Sandy Ruxton

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Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Durham University (UK). Independent researcher, expert on men and masculinities. Previous policy work on human rights, children and families, poverty and social exclusion, and asylum and migration. Programme experience with boys and young men in schools, community, and prisons. Steering Committee member, MenEngage Europe. Volunteer for OX4 Food Crew. Chess-player, bike-rider, tree-hugger. Great grandfather edited Boy's Own Paper, but was sacked.