Press Releases

Press release issued by the AWP Activism Caucus
January 12, 2024

Colleen McDaniel, Ph.D.


Statement on the Situation in Gaza and Israel

AWP Activism Caucus

The world is currently facing a collective trauma due to the ongoing violence in the Middle East. How many more lives must be destroyed until world leaders choose to listen to the Palestinian, Israeli, and global cries for peace?
As feminist psychologists, we understand that the root cause of all violence is oppression. We stand firmly against Islamophobia and antisemitism. We mourn for all lost Palestinian and Israeli lives, and for all victims and witnesses of all forms of violence, including sexual violence and torture, recognizing that human beings are not their governments nor governing bodies.
We fear that the effects of such traumatic violence will continue to have devastating psychological effects on the wellbeing of communities for generations to come. We recognize that peace is the only path to an egalitarian future and that our liberation as American feminists is dependent on the liberation of all people globally.
The Activism Caucus of the Association for Women in Psychology calls for an immediate, permanent ceasefire, release all who were wrongfully detained as prisoners and hostages, and the free flow of humanitarian aid to all affected by violence. We call on world leaders to take steps towards a long-lasting peace immediately.


Dr. Jennifer Freyd Selected for 2021 Christine Blasey Ford Woman of Courage Award
Association for Women in Psychology
Press Release 1/1/2021
Contact: Kathryn Quina,


The Association for Women in Psychology (AWP) is proud to announce the selection of Jennifer Joy Freyd, Ph.D. as the recipient of the 2021 Christine Blasey Ford Woman of Courage Award. This award recognizes and celebrates courageous feminist leadership through speaking truth to power and acting against injustice, discrimination, or harm -- qualities for which Dr. Blasey Ford was recognized by AWP in 2019. 


Dr. Freyd is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon and Faculty Affiliate at the VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University. She is Founder and President of the Center for Institutional Courage, a nonprofit she created to advance the world’s understanding of institutional courage and institutional betrayal through rigorous scientific research, wide-reaching education, and data-driven action – with the goal to create more accountable, effective, and equitable institutions for everyone.. She is editor of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation. She continues to conduct research with an active team of current and former graduate students.


This award recognizes Dr. Freyd's tireless decades-long courageous work fighting sexual abuse, institutional betrayal, and inequitable treatment. She has enriched the discipline of psychology through her groundbreaking theories of betrayal trauma, institutional betrayal, and DARVO. These concepts have transformed our understanding of trauma in the scientific community and in the mainstream culture. She has spoken out against inequity, from abusive handling of individuals who report sexual assault on campus to organizations systematically suppressing women’s voices. In doing so, she has experienced personal and professional costs, yet she has continued to speak truth to power. She is an exceptional feminist/scientist/activist role model. 


This award also acknowledges two ongoing acts of courage. Dr. Freyd created the innovative Center for Institutional Courage in order to apply insights from her research to help organizations and corporations change the way they treat their constituents. As Gloria Steinem stated, “Abuse by families, schools, employers and nations will only be healed by the institutional courage to transform into equitable places for us all. That’s the job and genius of the Center for Institutional Courage.” ( Meanwhile, the personal salary equity lawsuit she filed against her university has gained national attention for its potential impact on faculty women. In spite of the personal expense, she has documented and challenged the often-subtle forms of gendered discrimination persisting in academia. 


AWP will formally acknowledge Dr. Freyd at their virtual conference, Doing Anti-Racism Work and Addressing Intergenerational Trauma, March 5-7, 2021. She will also present a talk about the Center and its work. More information is available at

Press release issued by the AWP Activism Caucus
August 6, 2019

Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D.


Statement from the Activism Caucus of the Association for Women in Psychology



So far in 2019 there has been an average of at least one mass shooting per day in the United States. What will it take for Americans to acknowledge that gun violence is a public health crisis?


Gun violence kills, it maims, it causes chronic physical pain to its victims, it causes psychological trauma to those at the scene of the violence – those who were wounded, those who escaped, those who were first responders, those who observed the scene afterward, those who saw videos of the event and its aftermath, those who grieve for family and friends who lost their lives. 


Mass shootings in this country have caused mass fear and anxiety. People have expressed fears about going to school, to work, to shopping centers, to houses of worship, to the movies, to concerts, to restaurants and bars, to outdoor festivals. Some feel that nowhere is safe. 


We call upon state and federal legislators 1) to pass gun control legislation; 2) to empower the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct and fund research on gun violence and to develop science-based prevention policies; and 3) to fund mental health programs to assist those who have experienced gun violence-related trauma.


The Association for Women in Psychology is an august, 50-year-old organization whose mission includes the promotion of emotional health and happiness for all.


Press release issued by the AWP Activism Caucus
May 15, 2019

Psychological Damage Inflicted on Girls and Women from Restrictions on Reproductive Rights
As the news in the United States these days about restrictions on women’s reproductive freedom echoes Margaret Atwood’s (1985) novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, the Activism Caucus of the Association for Women in Psychology considers it essential to point out the alarming psychological consequences of laws that limit girls’ and women’s rights to make decisions about their bodies and their futures. 
This is especially the case for the most extreme measures, such as those embodied in the Alabama legislature’s vote on May 14 to classify abortion as a felony. 
These laws are damaging to the emotional health of girls and women in a number of important ways:
(1) Growing girls learn that in crucial, life-altering ways, the government has more control over their bodies than they do. This is important for many reasons, one of which is that a sense of control has been shown repeatedly in psychological research to be important to mental health and well-being. Rape and incest are examples of extreme loss of control, and at least In some cases, making the decision to have an abortion after rape and incest are important parts of healing, but the new Alabama law prohibits that;
(2) Women, who already have fewer legal rights than men under the U.S. Constitution, are experiencing shock and fear as they see government entities with all their power take away some of the most important rights they do have. In the decades since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1972, most women have been able to make decisions about whether and when to give birth, and they have felt secure in their right to privacy. These new laws substitute the opinion of state legislatures over the opinions of women and their doctors, and they suggest that women are incapable of making ethical decisions based on their own health and circumstances; and
(3) Accompanying these reactionary attempts to challenge reproductive rights are moralistic fervor and the blaming and shaming of girls and women who choose to use birth control measures or who choose to have abortions. This causes fear, self-doubt, low self-confidence, feelings of being unsafe, and beliefs that others consider them incompetent to make major decisions about their lives and undeserving of reproductive rights. 
(4) When reproductive rights are restricted, higher-income women find it easier than lower-income women to purchase or travel to seek the health care they want and need, and the physical and mental health of the latter will suffer.
Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are essential to mental health and well-being. 

Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D.

See also feminist writer Elayne Clift’s essay, “Girls and Young Women Will Suffer Most from Anti-abortion Madness” in which she quotes from the above press release.