view of Utah's downtown and capitol building from University of Utah campus at sunset

Mapping gender-based violence

A group of nine University of Utah researchers hopes to increase public recognition of gender-based violence (GBV) through the Gender-based Violence Consortium. The interdisciplinary team of scholars represents multiple colleges across campus who came together to apply for a seed research grant from the vice president of research and the One U for Utah (IU4U) grant. The IU4U initiative is designed to seed faculty collaborations in areas of mutual research interest and opportunity.

“It was very striking to me that many of us have been doing work around gender-based violence issues but we had never been in the same room together,” said Annie Isabel Fukushima, a professor of ethnic studies in the School for Cultural and Social Transformation and the project owner of the GBV Consortium. “The One U for U program helps create that infrastructure for us to collaborate.”

The research team is collecting data in order to create a visual map of gender-based violence in Utah since the 1994, when the Violence Against Women Act was passed. They want to be able to visualize research, policies and services that have existed around GBV issues such as sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking. They’ll also work with U colleagues to build a visual, interactive platform on injury, including that from physical abuse as well as long-term psychological and emotional abuse.

“We know that images can tell a powerful story and impact how we understand issues,” said Fukushima. “With this project, we’re trying to capture the broad range of ways the state of Utah has been grappling gender-based violence over the past three decades so we can begin to think about the things we have done well and the areas where we can head in new directions to continue to be strategic in how we address these issues moving forward.”

In addition to U faculty, the group is collaborating with service providers and researchers across the state. They plan on launching a statewide awareness campaign in October and hope their work eventually helps shape how GBV is taught in the classroom.

“Gender-based violence touches all our lives in different ways, whether it is as a survivor or as a person who has family and friends who have been impacted,” said Fukushima. “That’s why I would like to see everyone—not only cisgender women—take up this work both in prevention but also around naming the problem. We’ve seen that in Black Lives Matter right now in this visible movement and likewise, we are naming gender-based violence.”

The seed grant from the vice president for research provided $50,000 and the 1U4U grant provided $30,000 to the Gender-based Violence Consortium.

Collaborators include:

Annie Fukushima
School of Cultural and Social Transformation
Ethnic Studies

Yoshimi Anzai
School of Medicine
Radiology & Imaging Sciences

Kathleen Franchek-Roa
School of Medicine
Pediatrics

Caren Frost
College of Social Work
Family and Preventive Medicine

Leslie Halpern
School of Dentistry

Antoinette Laskey
School of Medicine
Pediatrics

Richard Medina
College of Social and Behavioral Science
Geography

Heather Melton
College of Social and Behavioral Science
Sociology

Jessie Richards
David Eccles School of Business
Management

Sonia Salari
College of Social and Behavioral Science
Family and Consumer Studies