Fiona Vera-Gray is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Law working on violence against women and girls. Her current project combines empirical research into women’s experiences of pornography with phenomenological theory on embodiment.
Fiona has a practice-based background, working in the specialist sexual violence sector for over a decade as both a frontline support provider and an expert in sexual violence prevention with young people. This combines with her extensive experience as a campaigner and activist against violence against women to bring a wealth of practice based evidence to her academic activities.
Her work is focused on drawing together philosophy, specifically phenomenology and existentialism, and empirical work on violence against women and girls. Her doctoral research formed the basis of her first book, Men's Intrusions, Women's Embodiment, which is the first academic study completed in England focused solely on the experience of men’s stranger intrusions on women in public, commonly termed street harassment. She is also interested in new means of disseminating research. In 2015 she created a free teaching resource for key stages 3 & 4 based on research she was involved in funded by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner into young people’s understandings of sexual consent, and in 2016 worked with a female theatre company, Dollseye Theatre, who adapted central themes from her research for the theatre piece, Might Never Happen. Through funding from the ESRC and Durham Law School's IAA account, in 2017 the play was adapted for prevention work in schools alongside a set of four lesson plans focusing on public sexual harassment. The work is currently being piloted in 12 schools across London and the North East of England.