Sexual Cyber Violence Among Girls and Young Women Globally: Current Trends and Strategies Needed for Prevention


Thursday March 15, 2018
9:30am - 11:30am
Room: New York
New York Hilton Hotel - Midtown
New York, NY

• San Diego State University (SDSU)
• University of California-San Diego Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH)
• SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Global Health

Globally, rates of sexual violence are highest among adolescent and young adult females. Recent work has identified sexual cyber violence (SCV) as a form of sexual violence occurring in high proportions, with adverse health and behavioral outcomes (e.g., anxiety, depression, and substance use). SCV can include being pressured to send sexual photos/videos or texts, having sexual photos shared without permission, receiving unwanted sexual photos/messages, or being pressured online or via text to do something sexual in-person.

This satellite session will review what we know currently about SCV and include interactive discussions on next steps needed in research and prevention efforts across the globe. The session will serve as a venue for researchers and practitioners to network, discuss various perspectives, and form new collaborative efforts to address SCV against girls and young women.


Dr. Elizabeth Reed, ScD, is Associate Professor of global health at San Diego State University and Adjunct Associate Professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego within the Center on Gender Equity and Health. She has two decades of experience working on programmatic and research efforts related to gender-based violence across multiple global settings. She is the PI of a recent study among adolescent girls in the US that has highlighted the multiple forms of sexual cyber violence (SCV), as well as the consequences of SCV on health and behavioral outcomes among adolescent girls. She uses the findings of her research to support the development of public health programming to promote health and safety from violence, particularly among women and girls.

Marissa Salazar, MA, is a doctoral candidate in the University of California, San Diego- San Diego State University Global Health program. Marissa received her MA in Psychology from San Diego State University and is currently a NIDA pre-doctoral fellow. Marissa’s main research interests include gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health among women and girls. Specifically, Marissa is interested in examining the association between electronic communication, gender-based violence, and adverse sexual health outcomes among adolescents, as well as how technology-based interventions may be used to increase sexual and reproductive health knowledge. Marissa has conducted research among adolescents both in the US and abroad using quantitative and qualitative approaches to measure violence exposure, risk behavior, and HIV/STI risk. Upon obtaining her PhD, Marissa hopes to apply her research skills to design, implement, and evaluate technology-based interventions aimed to reduce gender-based violence and increase sexual and reproductive health knowledge among vulnerable populations.

Brittnie Bloom, MS, is a first year PhD student in the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, Global Health track. She is working alongside faculty at UCSD and SDSU on issues related to intimate partner violence, sexual assault, immigration, access to care, and policy. Her experience as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar as an undergrad and working alongside other first generation to college, low-income, or otherwise underrepresented students first sparked her interests in advocacy and public health. Most of Brittnie’s research, outreach, and advocacy roles have taken place in the context of violence prevention and women’s health: while earning her MS at UCLA, she served in leadership positions with the Reproductive Health Interest Group, Sex and Cookies, and the Coalition Against Human Trafficking. She was also involved in research projects dedicated to improving the identification, treatment, and referral processes for survivors of intimate partner violence and human trafficking. Most recently, Brittnie has volunteered her time with the Center for Community Solutions as part of their Sexual Assault Response Team where she provided advocacy and referral services to survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. As a doctoral student, she looks forward to conducting research related to sexual assault and IPV in specific populations in the US and abroad, such as university students, female immigrants, and seekers of healthcare services. Ultimately, she plans to combine her passions for academia and research, while adhering to her conviction to remain engaged in the community through nonprofit organizations and volunteering.

Ruvani Fonseka, MPH, MSW, is a PhD Student in the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, working with Dr. Jay Silverman at the Center on Gender Equity and Health. Ruvani received her Bachelor’s degree in History and Science from Harvard University, with a certificate in Global Health and Health Policy. Her interest in gender and health equity led her to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa after college and to conduct quantitative research on gender-based violence in Bangalore, India and in Sri Lanka while completing Master of Public Health and Master of Social Welfare degrees from University of California, Berkeley. While at Berkeley, Ruvani received an NIH MHIRT fellowship for her work in India with Dr. Suneeta Krishnan, and published her MPH thesis research on Sri Lanka in the PLOS One article “Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration among Sri Lankan Men.” After completing her Masters degrees, Ruvani researched women-headed households in Sri Lanka with the Asia Foundation, and gender-based violence response services for Asian and Pacific Islander populations across the US with API-GBV in Oakland, CA. Most recently, Ruvani conducted 9 months of Fulbright research on gender norm formation among young adults in Sri Lanka in 2016-2017.

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