Sexual assault is prevalent, but many educators find themselves ill-prepared to address it in the classroom. In response, this chapter develops a trauma-sensitive pedagogy that engages the psychological, social, and theological implications of sexual assault. Bringing together insights from pastoral theology, victim advocacy, and leadership development, this chapter provides theoretical foundations and practical guidance to create safer and more courageous classroom spaces for learning about sexuality and intimate violence. A trauma-sensitive pedagogy is designed to increase educators’ awareness of what intimate violence is, its implications for the language we use and the power we hold, and how we position ourselves as pedagogues in the classroom. The author discusses and problematizes power disparity, abuse of power, trigger warnings, Covenants of Presence, the idea of redemptive suffering, binary thinking, teacher self-disclosure, and traumatic transference. Recognizing the classic power disparity between student and teacher as a dynamic that can trigger recall of the abuse of power inherent in sexual violence, the author cautions against “teacher self-disclosure” in facilitating conversations that acknowledge sexual assault. The chapter concludes with an eight-fold teaching strategy demonstrating pedagogical sensitivity to trauma.
[This chapter is a revision of: Crumpton, Stephanie M. 2017. “Trigger Warnings, Covenants of Presence and More: Cultivating Safe Space for Theological Discussions About Sexual Trauma.” Teaching Theology & Religion 20, no. 2 (April): 137–47. https://doi.org/10.1111/teth.12376.]