Skip to content Skip to navigation

Jennifer J. Freyd

Jennifer Freyd

Jennifer J. Freyd

University of Oregon
Fellow, 2018-19 Study #52
Fellow, 1989-90 Study #53

A returning fellow (1989-90), Jennifer Freyd plans to explore the concepts of institutional betrayal and institutional courage, particularly as they apply to institutional response to sexual violence. Institutional betrayal is harm done by an institution to those dependent upon the institution, which can take the form of overt policies or behaviors such as discriminatory rules or genocide. The harm of institutional betrayal can also take the form of failing to do that what is reasonably expected of the institution (e.g. failing to provide relief to disaster victims or clean water to a town). It can be an institution failing to respond effectively to sexual violence that occurred in that institution’s context. Institutional betrayal is associated with both psychological and physical harm to those betrayed. Institutional courage is the antidote to institutional betrayal. It includes institutional accountability and transparency.

A related current interest is researching how to lessen the harm of DARVO (Deny, Attack, & Reverse Victim & Offender, a perpetrator strategy of discrediting victims), and understanding the role it plays in institutional betrayal trauma. Perhaps Freyd’s most ambitious goal for her fellowship year is to establish an ongoing research institute with a mission of addressing sexual violence with institutional courage.  Related to all this, Freyd will collaborate with two other fellows (Elizabeth Armstrong and Estelle Freedman) on a joint project called “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Sexual Violence: Individual, Institutional and Structural Forces.” 

Freyd is a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon. She received her BA in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in psychology from Stanford University.

To learn more about Freyd’s work see her website at