Beyond Fear: The Sex Crimes Podcast

Dr. Alissa R. Ackerman and Dr. Alexa Sardina

Episode 23: Broken Trust: When Institutions Fail Survivors Beyond Fear

Throughout this podcast, we have discussed the ways in which sexual harm impacts survivors psychologically, emotionally, and physically. A less talked about consequence stems from abuse that occurs within the context of institutional environments that are expected to be safe.  In this episode we speak to Dr. Caroline Heldman an expert on the consequences of sexual harm that takes place within institutional environments. Institutional betrayal refers to the harm that an institution does to those who depend on it. As you will hear, this betrayal can be explicit policies or when an institution fails to respond to sexual harm. This is often seen in the context of college campuses, the military, and religions organizations.  Additional Readings and Resources: Faculty Against Rape The Hunting Ground End Rape on Campus The New Campus Anti-Rape Movement: Internet Activism and Social Justice – Caroline Heldman, Alissa R. Ackerman, and Ian Breckenridge-Jackson Blowing the Whistle on Campus Rape – Caroline Heldman, PhD and Danielle Dirks Institutional Betrayal and Institutional Courage – Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD Guest Bio: Caroline Heldman, PhD is Chair of the Critical Theory & Social Justice Department and Chair of Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies at Occidental College in Los Angeles. She is also Executive Director of The Representation Project and a political commentator for Spectrum and CNN International. Her research specializes in media, the presidency, and systems of power. Dr. Heldman has published six books on gender justice and politics and her work has been featured in numerous documentaries, including Miss Representation, The Mask You Live In, The Hunting Ground, Informant, Equal Means Equal, Liberated, Nevertheless, and The Great American Lie.  Dr. Heldman splits her time between Los Angeles and New Orleans where she co-founded the New Orleans Women’s Shelter and the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum. She also co-founded End Rape on Campus (EROC), Faculty Against Rape (FAR), and End Rape Statute of Limitations (ERSOL) that successfully abolished the time limit on prosecuting rape in California. She is currently curating the first Civil Rights museum in New Orleans with Miss Leona Tate, one of the four little girls who desegregated the Deep South in 1960.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  1. Episode 23: Broken Trust: When Institutions Fail Survivors
  2. Episode 22: Invisible Victims: Black Survivors of Sexual Harm
  3. Episode 21: Who is the 'Ideal Victim'?
  4. Episode 20: Child Sexual Abuse Material: One Click Away
  5. Episode 19: Surviving Trafficking
  6. Episode 18: Understanding Trafficking: Part 2
  7. Episode 17: Understanding Trafficking: Part I
  8. Episode 16: Understanding Sex Work
  9. Welcome to Season 2 of Beyond Fear: The Sex Crimes Podcast
  10. Bonus Episode: The Things Left Unsaid