Charlene Y. Senn, PhD

Academic Research Associate

Faculty of Arts and Social Science Senior Research Leadership Chair

Department of Psychology and Women’s Studies Program,
University of Windsor

Charlene Y. Senn, PhD is a Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Windsor and the Faculty of Arts and Social Science Senior Research Leadership Chair (2009-2014). Her research centres primarily on male violence against women and girls and includes work on sexual coercion and rape and the effects of pornography on women. Research conducted with colleagues and graduate students also explores sexual consent and communication, sexual exploitation of youth, and heterosexual and lesbian women's sexual and physical health. Dr. Senn publishes in a range of interdisciplinary and psychology journals such as the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Feminism & Psychology, and Psychology of Women Quarterly but also enjoys writing about research for a more general (often feminist) audience (e.g., chapters in undergraduate textbooks, “You can change the world: Action, participatory, and activist research” and “Violence against women and girls: What feminist counsellors need to know to begin their work with women”).

Charlene’s research has been funded by SSHRC and CIHR. She was a recipient of an Ontario Women’s Health Council Career Award (2005-2008) and with the assistance of this funding (matched by the University) formed the multidisciplinary Health Research Centre for the Study of Violence against Women (HRC-VAW) at the University of Windsor. The HRC-VAW, which is now directed by Dr. Patti Fritz (Psychology), continues to receive support through Dr. Senn’s Research Leadership Chair.

For the past six years, Charlene has focused on developing and evaluating an effective sexual assault resistance education program (enhanced with emancipatory sex education) for young women in high school and the first year of university. This research is an attempt to put feminist and social psychological theories into practice. She recently received CIHR funding (2011-2016) to do a full evaluation of the program on three Canadian university campuses.

Charlene is also collaborating with Dr. Anne Forrest (U of Windsor) and Drs. Victoria Banyard and Mary Moynihan, from the University of New Hampshire to evaluate the effectiveness of the Bringing in the BystanderTM sexual assault education program. This program will be offered to male and female first year students in residence on the University of Windsor campus beginning in September 2011 with the support of the President’s Strategic Priority Fund.


Senn, C.Y., Eliasziw, M., Barata, P.C., Thurston, W.E., Newby-Clark, I., Radtke, L., Hobden, K.L. & SARE team. (2014). Sexual violence in the lives of first-year university women in Canada: no improvements in the 21st century. BMC Women’s Health, 14 (135), 1-8. DOI:10.1186/s12905-014-0135-4

Senn, C.Y., Eliasziw, M., Barata, P.C., Thurston, W.E., Newby-Clark, I.R., Radtke, H.L., & Hobden, K.L. (2013). Sexual assault resistance education for university women: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial (SARE trial). BMC Women's Health, 13, 25. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6874-13-25

Gavey, N., & Senn, C.Y. (2013). Sexual violence and sexuality. In D. Tolman & L. Diamond (Eds.), Handbook on Sexuality and Psychology (pp. 339-382).  Washington: American Psychological Association. [Invited]

Bridges, A.J., Senn, C.Y. & Andrews, A. R. (2013). Women, erotica, and pornography. In D. Castañeda (Ed.), An Essential Handbook of Women's Sexuality (pp. 253-271)Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. [Invited]

Beres, M.A., Senn, C.Y., & McCaw, J. (2014). Navigating ambivalence: How heterosexual young adults make sense of desire differences. Journal of Sex Research, 51 (7), 765-776DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2013.792327

Senn, C.Y. (2012). Education on resistance to acquaintance sexual assault: Preliminary promise of a new program for young women in high school and university. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 45 (1), 24-33. DOI: 10.1037/a0029915.