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Monthly Archives: January 2016

BEGUN AUDREY

Dr. Audrey Begun

Congratulations to Dr. Audrey Begun who became a Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research this year. Begun became a fellow during an induction ceremony at the society’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. in January. She joins Dr. Natasha Bowen as Ohio State’s and the College of Social Work’s  two faculty members inducted into the Society for Social Work and Research as a SSWR Fellow.  Induction into the fellowship is a prestigious acknowledgment that is awarded to a very limited number of the SSWR membership.

College of Social Work 304

Dr. Natasha Bowen

According to SSWR: “Fellows of the Society for Social Work and Research are members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the Society — to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable and just society.”

Begun’s research, service, and leadership in SSWR has focused on substance misuse and addictive behaviors. She has presented work in the past on training social workers about alcohol use disorders and preventing violence against women. To read more about Begun, click here.
Bowen does research on how elementary and middle schools can reduce academic achievement disparities associated with race/ethnicity and socio-economic status.  To read more about Bowen, click here.

Around the world, women working illegally in the sex trade are often at the mercy of pimps, partners, clients and police, powerless to stop a beating, powerless to get justice, powerless even to protect themselves from HIV should a client refuse to use a condom.

KarandikarNepalDr. Sharvari Karandikar has devoted her professional life to changing that, focusing her research on gender-based violence among female sex workers and how it affects their day-to-day lives. Her most recent work was in Kathmandu, Nepal, where women recounted the challenges of living as sex workers in a society where every aspect is dominated by men.

By understanding the circumstances that brought these women into the sex trade and the violence they face, and then by talking to the clients themselves, Karandikar hopes her research will lead to interventions that will protect women from physical harm and HIV risk, and restore their basic human dignity.

Many women in Nepal’s sex trade, she notes, were forced into it, either by dire poverty, traffickers, even by husbands or fathers in some cases. And once in the sex trade, women can never shake off the stigma that Nepalese society attaches to it.

“These women are seriously on the lowest rungs of society,” she says.

Karandikar arranged a collaboration with the Nepal School of Social Work for her latest work. She was joined by Dr. Lindsay Gezinski (OSU PhD 2011), assistant professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah and a former PhD student of Dr. Karandikar’s, and by Marissa Kaloga, a PhD student at Ohio State.

En route to Kathmandu in late April, Karandikar and her team were forced back after a devastating earthquake struck central Nepal. They eventually made the trip in December, joining up with Pradipta Kadambari and Kipa Maskey from the Nepal School of Social Work, and Bijaya Dhakal, who represents a sex-workers-rights organization called Jagriti Mahila Maha Sang.

Nepal’s unregulated sex industry is burgeoning, and the principle driver is poverty. The earthquake only compounded the misery, driving desperate women and girls into the sex trade or into the clutches of traffickers promising “good jobs” in India.

Having interviewed 30 women over the course of 10 days in Nepal, she and her team learned what specific circumstances compelled them into the sex trade in the first place and the type and degree of violence they faced in their work. Her next step is to look at the problem from the other side.

When she returns to Nepal in May 2016, she and her team will interview clients to better understand their violent triggers and to identify steps that can be taken to reduce disease transmission.

“One of our partners in Nepal, a sex-workers-rights organization, came to us and said there has to be some change in this and you have to talk to the clients, not only about HIV protection but also about respecting women and children.”

In the upcoming research, Karandikar and her team will set out to do just that, though she understands that persuading men to talk candidly about their sexual practices and their treatment of women poses a considerable challenge.

“The intention is not to expose clients, but to understand their perspective, to gain knowledge so we can reduce violence,” she says. “I understand that might not be a priority in their heads, but that is the only way to get this information.”

As part of their work, Karandikar and her team plan to devise interventions to educate clients — for example, holding workshops on gender sensitization and HIV prevention. While these are small steps, she believes they can be the start of a path that leads to a much better future for the women of Nepal.

Congratulations to CSW undergraduate students Paige Yerger and Sierra Mollenkopf, for BuckeyeSoupwinning the Fall 2015 Buckeye Soup competition! Yerger and Mollenkopf are co-presidents of STRIDE, a student organization that raises awareness of sexual violence through running. They were among five finalist who presented in the Buckeye Soup competition and received $565.00 to fund a walk to honor survivors of sexual violence, and raise awareness/prevention of sexual violence in our community. The walk will be Friday, April 15, so stay tuned for more details.

“Paige and Sierra are truly amazing leaders,” says Andréa Severson, STRIDE advisor. “STRIDE won Buckeye Soup because of their ability to build a narrative about sexual assault that resonated with the folks in the audience. They took a taboo subject and moved people in the audience that night to understand that survivors need to know they are not alone.”

“Soup” events happen in communities throughout the country as a means for individuals and organizations to earn one-time grants for various community development projects. Buckeye Soup is the official soup event for student organizations at The Ohio State. To learn more about Buckeye Soup, click here.

Started in 2015, STRIDE (Seeking To Reclaim our Identity, Direction, and Energy) is a student organization at OSU that brings awareness of sexual violence through running/jogging. They offer a wide variety of activities, from short runs and walks to teas, wellness events and open dialogues. All levels of athletic ability are invited and encouraged to join. For more information visit STRIDE on Twitter @OSU_STRIDE.

Doctoral student Kathy Lee recently presented at The Gerontological Society of America  conference in Orlando. Lee was also one of twelve doctoral students across the nation to be selected as an Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work, 2015 Pre-Dissertation Awardee. Way to go Kathy!