We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Culture, Health & Sexuality

For a Special Issue on
Survivor Strategies? Rebuilding intimate relations and sexual wellbeing following sexual violence.

Abstract deadline
15 January 2022

Manuscript deadline
15 May 2022

Cover image - Culture, Health & Sexuality

Special Issue Editor(s)

Pauline Oosterhoff, Institute for Development Studies, UK
[email protected]

Saakshi Saxena, Independent
[email protected]

Peter Aggleton, Centre for Gender and Global Health, UCL, UK and School of Sociology, The Australian National University, Australia
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Survivor Strategies? Rebuilding intimate relations and sexual wellbeing following sexual violence.

Culture, Health & Sexuality invites authors to submit contributions to a special themed issue of the journal focusing on building satisfying intimate relations and sexual wellbeing after sexual violence.

This special issue will explore the different strategies victim-survivors use to integrate the experience of sexual violence in their lives and avoid being defined by, or normalising, these criminal acts.

Topics of special interest include:

  • How can pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion and discrimination be discovered and reclaimed after sexual violence?
  • The extent to which reclaiming pleasurable sexual experiences is dependent on access to formal justice. What is known about successful non-formal strategies of reclaiming sexuality, desire, sex, and eroticism?
  • How can - and do - people rebuild their informal support systems when most perpetrators are known to the victim and hold power over several areas of their life?
  • While there is an urgent need to hear the voices of victims and include survivor perspectives, this can also trap people psychologically and financially in activities such as public speaking about their trauma, preventing them from moving on. How can this be avoided?
  • Victims of sexual abuse may go through a period of overcompensation as part of the recovery process, which can have health consequences and is complicated by dominant gender cultural discourses and intergenerational differences.\
  • What do we know about the effects of celebrities speaking out about sexual violence on cultural change?
  • Sex work and same-sex relations are illegal in many countries. In some countries marital rape is not recognised as rape. These laws give perpetrators free space to commit violent sexual acts. How do victims and survivors claim justice and wellbeing in their personal lives in such situations? And how different or similar are these lives to those of other victims?


“Sexual violence” is an umbrella term for a variety of crimes including rape, sexual assault, incest, genital mutilation, intimate partner violence, and sexual harassment on the street or in digital environments. Legal definitions and interpretations vary by place and over time. But globally the number of people affected is staggering.[1]

Despite growing recognition and public concern, in many contexts the experiences of sexual violence by people such as sex workers, transgender, queer or lesbian/gay people, and married women, are categorically and legally denied. In countries where male same-sex relations are criminalised, for example, men cannot report sexual assault by other men, while male rape remains common in settings such as prisons. People from all genders and backgrounds therefore face failing legal systems and (fear of) social rejection. Celebrity testimonials by public figures such as Tina Turner, Gloria Estefan, Deepika Padukone, Sushmita Sen, Iyabo Ojo, Kyle Beach, Terry Crews, and Brendan Fraser resonate both because the narratives of the violence they describe are recognisable and widespread, and because they show that individuals are not always defined by the sexual violence experienced.

With formal support failing all over the world, most victim-survivors of sexual violence must move on without access to legal remedy and with the perpetrators walking free. Legally, the terms victim and survivor have different meanings, and those affected by violence may self-identify as victims or survivors at different moments in their lives. Reforming state-based legal systems is important. There are also informal justice systems that may support, undermine, or weaken victim-survivors. Recognising this reality opens the possibility of discussing the many ways in which people build satisfying intimate relations and claim sexual wellbeing after sexual violence.

In contrast, failing to acknowledge the possibility of rebuilding intimate relationships, having a successful life, and achieving closure without being complicit in the unfair or violent treatment of others, can inadvertently confirm the unequal division of power within patriarchy. Rather than seeking to define people and their lives by their experience of sexual violence, the goal of this special issue is to look at how people learn to integrate these events, learn from them, and build a life in which the experience of sexual violence is part of who they are now.


We seek papers engaging with building satisfying intimate relations and sexual wellbeing after sexual violence from different parts of the world. As always with papers published in Culture, Health & Sexuality, a strong emphasis on context and culture is required.

We are looking for authors from different backgrounds. We welcome early career authors, and co-authorship of papers by senior and more junior authors.

We are looking for work that shows a rigorous and deep understanding of the intersection of culture(s) and survivor strategies after sexual violence.

We wish to publish original research that has been completed with a preference for primary data, although the re-analysis of secondary data using a new perspective or different technique is also acceptable.

All papers included in the special issue will be reviewed in the normal way and only those papers recommended for publication following peer review will be accepted.  The guest editors of this special issue will be Pauline Oosterhoff and Saakshi Saxena, together with Peter Aggleton, the journal’s editor-in-chief.

[1] Globally, almost one in three women have been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life. Most violence against women is perpetrated by current or former husbands or intimate partners. United Nations, 2015.  The World's Women 2015: Trends and Statistics.   New York: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division; Borumandnia, N., Khadembashi, N., Tabatabaei, M., & Majd, H. A. (2020). The prevalence rate of sexual violence worldwide: a trend analysis. BMC public health20(1), 1-7; An estimated 200 million women and girls, aged 15–49 years, have undergone female genital mutilation, acts that are mostly committed by people close to them https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/female-genital-mutilation/

Submission Instructions

What to do next

Potential contributors are encouraged to submit an initial abstract or draft paper, prepared to the journal’s usual format (please see http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/journal.asp?issn=1369-1058&linktype=44) in advance to Pauline Oosterhoff ([email protected] and [email protected]) and Saakshi Saxena ([email protected]) (by 15 January 2022).

Potential contributors should read the journal and author guidelines before preparing their paper. Guidelines on the preparation of papers for publication in Culture, Health and Sexuality are available here http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/tf/13691058.html

Final papers must not exceed 7,500 words in total (including all references, tables and figures and footnotes) and should be submitted by 15 May 2022. They should be submitted formally via the journal’s website: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/tchs

Please indicate clearly in your online final submission that this is a contribution to the special themed issue on Survivor Strategies for rebuilding intimate relations and sexual wellbeing after sexual violence.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article