I first came to the University of Leeds in 2016 graduating with a BSc in Psychology in 2019 and an MSc in Cognitive Development & Disorders in 2020. I was interested in both health and forensic psychology but developed a particular academic interest in topics related to violence against women with my Master’s research concerning the association between childhood trauma and rape myth acceptance. The project found some correlation between traumatic childhood events and the acceptance of rape myths however this could not explain the signifiant gender differences identified. This prompted me to consider other disciplines alongside psychology that could offer some explanation for the gendered nature of crimes like domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault as well as the everyday oppressions experienced by women in intimate relationships (for example performing the majority of domestic labour and childcare duties).
During my time away from my studies, 2 years working for the National Institute for Health and Care Research, I considered how I could take this interest further into a PhD. From researching statistics on the demographics of victims of gendered crimes, I became aware that disabled women are more likely to experience violence than disabled men or non-disabled women. This therefore fuelled a new interest in disability studies and considering how disabled women may be differentially affected by gendered oppressions than their non-disabled counterparts. For example, I developed an awareness of the additional stigma faced by disabled women as intimate partners and mothers due to the societal characterisation of them as undesirable or incapable of mothering. Thus, this creates additional barriers for disabled women in becoming a mother, raising a child and leaving a romantic relationship, particularly with an abusive partner.
Since undertaking a PhD I myself have been diagnosed with ADHD thus making me a disabled woman as per the Equality Act. This deepened my understanding of and passion for disability studies prompting me to reflect on my own past experiences from the additional barriers I experienced during my education to my identity as a domestic abuse survivor and how my differences were exploited in this context.
My current research takes a qualitative approach to explore the experiences of disabled mothers in intimate relationships with a second sample to focus on domestically abusive relationships. My approach is informed by the social model of disability, disability feminism and materialist feminism. It will therefore explore disablism in terms of identifying structural, societal and attitudinal barriers to pregnancy, motherhood and intimate relationsips for disabled women as a focus, with an additional consideration of impairment effects. Moreover, it will explore gendered roles and patriarchal views within intimate relationships / parenting and compare the occurence of and satisfaction with these between the two samples. As the research will ask participants about their experiences with reproductive, maternity and social care services, the findings may be used to make recommendations for health care and social service practitioners.
My research interests include:
- Violence against women
- The intersection of gender & disability
- Gendered oppressions in intimate relationships & parenting
- Disability feminism
- Materialist feminism
- MSc Cognitive Development & Disorders - Distinction
- BSc (Hons) Psychology - First Class
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for Disability Studies