Research Studies

 Study #1


Victims Are Doing It for Themselves: Examining the Move from Victim to Advocate


Who is conducting the study?

The study is being conducted by Guila Benchimol, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at the University of Guelph. The research is being supervised by Dr. Myrna Dawson (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph) and the study has been approved by the Research Ethics Board at the University of Guelph.

What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of this study is to learn about the impact that victimization, and your experiences after victimization, had on your life and to gain insight into how you became an advocate or activist. We aim to identify some of the thoughts, feelings, and actions you engaged in following your experiences of victimization and disclosures and how these have influenced your decision to become involved in advocacy/activism. We are also interested in how you have navigated your relationships throughout the experiences of victimization, disclosure, and advocacy/activism involvement and understanding how the roles of victim and advocate have informed your identity. We are interested in interviewing people with these experiences from the general population as well as those from religious communities or groups.

What is involved?

This research study will explore the experiences that lead some victims of sexual violence to become anti-sexual violence advocates or activists. Therefore, people who have experienced sexual victimization and have been or are now involved in anti-sexual violence advocacy/activism are invited to participate in a one-on-one interview with the Student Investigator. The one-on-one interview will take approximately 1-2 hours and may be conducted at your convenience in person, via videoconference, or on the telephone. You will not be asked about the details of the victimization itself and you do not have to answer any questions that you do not feel comfortable answering.

How can I participate?

To be included in the study participants must meet all of the following criteria:

~~be a survivor or victim of sexual violence (including child sexual abuse or sexual assault).

~~have disclosed their victimization to someone(s) other than a mental health professional.

~~be/have been involved in anti-sexual violence advocacy or activism.

~~be 18 years of age or older.

If you meet the above criteria, please contact Guila at by

February 19, 2017 for further information about the study or to find out how you can participate. You are not required to participate in this study and if you choose to participate in this study, your consent must be free and voluntary.

Thank you for your interest.





Study #2


Invitation to participate in exciting new online study designed at the University of Exeter, UK


Researchers from the University of Exeter are conducting an international survey on emotion processing in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and would like to invite adults who are interested in taking part. Please click in the link below to find out more about this anonymous and confidential study:


I am conducting an online study with adult survivors of child sexual abuse that aims to investigate individual differences in emotional responses to experiences of child sexual abuse.


I would like to reach out to survivors interested in taking part in my study. 


Over the last few years more and more people have come forward to seek help following their experiences, some of them resulting from the abuse sustained within the church. Some survivors are often keen to take part in research, especially when anonymous and confidential as it allows to raise awareness of this important issue. 


I welcome the experiences of men. My study has been open for over 3 weeks now and I have mainly heard from women. I have been overwhelmed by the responses and interest I have received.  People that completed the study often spoke of this being important to them and helpful in validating their experiences. 


The participation is voluntary, anonymous and confidential. The online study does not record IP addresses, participants’ location or times of study completion. All participants are invited to read the information sheet prior to deciding about taking part. Also, they are informed of their right to withdraw their data at any point without providing a reason.


The study has been granted ethical approval by the School of Psychology at the University of Exeter’s ethical committee. The committee ensures the highest ethical standard of all research undertaken within Psychology at the University of Exeter.


If the participants decide to take part, they will be invited to follow a link to a website where they can fill out a few questionnaires and answer some open-ended questions. They will find some information about the study when they log in. Only the participant and the researcher will have access to the data, which will be stored securely.


There are no direct benefits for participants for taking part.  The questionnaires will allow the researcher to answer some questions about the experiences of adults on coping with their experiences of child sexual abuse. This could help us to develop better psychological treatments for survivors affected by experiences of child sexual abuse.


The questionnaires in this study are widely used and well tolerated within the population of survivors. The questionnaires might upset the participants temporarily as they might bring back the memories of their experiences and might elicit some feelings in them. The online study will contain phone numbers of helplines and support groups in different countries if the participants wished to seek additional help. The participants would be encouraged to see their GP if they are concerned.


The data obtained from the study will be combined with that of other participants to be written up as part of the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology course fulfillment. The study will be written up to appear in one of the scientific journals. This will be achieved in order to inform other clinicians and scientists who are working to support people affected by traumatic experiences and their families.


Any write-up will not mention the participants personally, nor detail their name or any other personal detail. No other identifiable information will be published with the results. The participants can request that a copy of the findings is sent to them when it becomes available.


If participants have any concerns about any of the aspects of this study they can contact the researcher or the study supervisor, Dr Anke Karl.



Agata Sawicka, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Email:

Study Supervisor Dr Anke Karl, Email:

Mood Disorders Centre, Sir Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Research

School of Psychology, College of Life and Environmental Sciences

University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QG.


Thank you very much for considering this request. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for further questions.  



Study #3

Impact of Clergy Perpetrated Child Sexual Abuse Upon Attachment Among Adult Interpersonal Relationships


If you, or someone you know has experienced childhood sexual abuse by an ordained pastor, priest, or minister and you would like to help therapists to better understand the impact of clergy perpetrated sexual abuse then please consider participating in my research.  If you are interested in more information and whether you meet inclusion criteria to participate in this research about the Clergy Perpetrated Child Sexual Abuse study, please contact me directly at 678-982-3295.


CONFIDENTIALITY:  All information regarding this research is confidential.  All documents to include the code of pseudonyms and signed consent forms will be stored in separate locked locations to insure confidentiality.  Please understand that child sexual abuse will be reported in accordance with state and federal laws to the state agency where the alleged abuse took place.  


COMPENSATION:  Participants will be compensated with a $50.00 gift card for their participation.


Questions about this study should be directed to Charles L. Tullis at (678) 982-3295 or  Please write CSA in the subject space.  You may also contact Dr. Michael Shriner, dissertation committee chair at (844) 628-3447. This project has been approved by Northcentral University Institutional Review Board.  Questions about your rights as a research participant may be directed to Mr. Robert Dodd at (888) 327-2877, ext. 8014. 


Participants must be of legal age, which is 18 or older, to participate in this research and the abuse must have taken place as a child before the age of 18.


End date:  August 31, 2017