Raquel Kennedy Bergen, Ph.D.

Professor

Areas Taught: Criminal Justice, Sociology

Expertise: Rape, Intervention Services, Violence in Intimate Relationships

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Grappling with Violence in Intimate Relationships

A sociologist at Saint Joseph's since 1994, Raquel Kennedy Bergen, Ph.D., is one of the nation's leading researchers in the field of violence against women and rape in intimate relationships, issues that, sadly, are becoming more and more prevalent.

"As we are increasingly finding out, violence in intimate relationships is very common. Ten to 14 percent of women have been raped by their partners," says Dr. Bergen. "We are also now learning more about the violence that takes place in relationships after a couple has separated."

Dr. Bergen boasts a wide range of credentials, including her 2004 appointment to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission by Governor Edward G. Rendell. The Commission was established by the Pennsylvania Public Official and Employee Ethics Act in order to enforce the Act's provisions and provide guidance regarding the standards it established. She is the only woman currently serving on the Commission, and just the sixth in its history.

As the author of Wife Rape: Understanding the Response of Survivors and Service Providers and editor of Issues in Intimate Violence, Dr. Bergen is currently revisiting a past study that examines how rape crisis centers and battered womenÕs programs provide services to women raped by their partners. In other research, Dr. Bergen is exploring womenÕs experiences of sexual violence during pregnancy.

Dr. Bergen's additional areas of expertise include marriage and the family; sociology of the family; and gender and marriage. She also serves as co-facilitator of the Rape Education and Prevention Program (REPP) at the University, which presents the annual Take Back the Night vigil on campus to raise awareness of the serious problem of sexual violence.

"Take Back the Night is successful in addressing the issue of sexual violence on campus. Sexual violence affects both women and men, who are not always the perpetrators but can also be the victims," Dr. Bergen says. "It is just as important for men to be educated about stopping violence in intimate relationships as women."

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