Jennifer Freyd

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Jennifer Freyd
Born (1957-12-16) December 16, 1957 (age 61)
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania,
Stanford University
Known forPsychology and research in the field of trauma

Jennifer Joy Freyd (/frd/; born October 16, 1957, in Providence, Rhode Island) is an American researcher, scholar, and psychologist. Freyd is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon and principal investigator of the Freyd Dynamics Lab. She is also currently a visiting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (2018–2019).[1][better source needed]

Freyd became known for introducing the concept betrayal trauma and establishing the term DARVO. In 1996, Freyd expanded upon literature exploring psychogenic amnesia and child sexual abuse by capturing the nuance of betrayal in a two-dimensional model of traumatic events. Since betrayal trauma is defined as a violation perpetrated by someone with whom the victim is close to and reliant upon for support and survival,[2][3] Freyd's model detailed the extent to which a traumatic event is defined by betrayal trauma as it occurs across dimensions of low-to-high and in its degree of social betrayal and/or the extent of terror/fear induced by the event.[4] [5]


Freyd received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979 (graduated Magna cum Laude). In 1983 she earned her Ph.D. in Psychology at Stanford University.[6]

Freyd was an assistant professor at Cornell University from 1983 to 1987, until she was hired with tenure as an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon in 1987.[7][better source needed] From 1989-1990 she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.[8][non-primary source needed] In 1992 Freyd was promoted to full professor at the University of Oregon which she currently holds.

Research and theory[edit]

In the last two decades, Freyd has researched and written extensively on sexual abuse and memory,[9] the ethics of research on trauma,[10] and betrayal trauma.[11][non-primary source needed] Freyd's initial empirical discovery yielding information on the phenomenon of representational momentum[12][non-primary source needed] which led to her further research exploring the relationship between trauma memories and the context of and outcomes associated with betrayal trauma.

In 1997, Freyd proposed that in response to being held accountable for their actions, perpetrators of abuse will engage in DARVO, an acronym that stands for "Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim, and Offender." The concept describes how perpetrators deny or minimize their wrongdoing, attack their victims' credibility, and play the victim. In addition to authoring three books and over 200 articles, Freyd and her colleagues have developed a variety of measurement tools to assess various dimensions of betrayal trauma, some of which include the Betrayal Trauma Inventory (BTI),[13] the Brief Betrayal-Trauma Survey (BBTS),[14] the Institutional Betrayal Questionnaire (IBQ),[15] and the Betrayal Detection Measure (BDM).[16][non-primary source needed]

Freyd expanded on her theory of institutional betrayal,[17] in a collaborative project with Ph.D. student Carly P. Smith, where they developed the Institutional Betrayal Questionnaire (IBQ), now in its second edition, to measure institutional betrayal across a variety of institutional contexts. Their findings indicate that exposure to institutional betrayal exacerbates the psychological impact of sexual violence, including increased anxiety, dissociation, and sexual dysfunction.[18][non-primary source needed] and is linked with the harm associated with engaging in legal system proceedings in cases of sexual violence (i.e., institutional betrayal in judicial settings).[19][20][non-primary source needed]

In an effort to highlight the mechanism through which institutional betrayal occurs and encourage standardized responses to campus sexual violence, Freyd provided a comprehensive review of the problems associated with reporting through publications in research,[21][better source needed] on a website, and information disseminated via an op-ed.[22][better source needed] Freyd's emerging literature points to health correlates of institutional betrayal,[23] indicating that this form of betrayal is associated with both physical and psychological distress.


Because of her research on sexual assault and institutional betrayal, Freyd was invited to the White House in 2014 to meet with White House advisors on violence against women and the then New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to discuss how her research relates to campus sexual violence.[24][25] In June 2017, Freyd was invited again to speak at a meeting of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, where she presented on institutional betrayal and sexual harassment in academia. [26] Additionally, in an open essay, entitled "Gender Discrimination, Dr. Jennifer Freyd's Lawsuit, & Recommendations for Universities,"[27] she underscored the far-reaching consequences of gender discrimination against women in higher education.

Freyd's research exploring sexual violence and institutional betrayal has become increasingly prominent[28] with the rise of the Me Too movement and growing societal awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault.[29] For example, in an interview with Diane Sawyer in 2017, actress and political activist Ashley Judd referenced DARVO when discussing the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations.[30]

More recently, Freyd has focused on ensuring that survivors do not lose their voice in the process of reporting sexual violence.[31] Freyd asserted that since institutions can perpetrate abuse by (1) ignoring survivors' wishes about how their private information is shared when they decide to disclose, and (2) by emphasizing that survivors' information will be passed along without their consent, she proposed that faculty educate colleagues and students about Title IX, sexual violence, and institutional betrayal, as well as provide resources for sexual assault, learning how to be a good listener, and ways to disrupt the culture of sexual assault.[32] She regardless of if the individual wants privacy or wants to prioritizing liberty, freedom, privacy, that when reporting is done with the survivors consent and appropriate safeguards are maintained Freyd provided aid for institutions to combat this form of betrayal with a list of 10 systematic steps institutions can implement including encouraging whistleblowing and carrying out assessments of institutional betrayal through anonymous surveys.[33] and issues surrounding how colleges and universities handle these events. The Chronicle of Higher Education has covered the ongoing debate at the University of Oregon[34] and the Association of American Universities (AAU).[35] Dozens of scientists have criticized the AAU's proposed campus climate survey, with Freyd as a key player in the scientific debate.[36][37][38]


Freyd is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Since 2005, she has been the editor of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation [39].[citation needed] She also currently serves on the Higher Education Advisory Board, Sexual Health Innovations.[40]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • Pierre Janet Award, International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation, 1997[41]
  • William Friedrich Memorial Child Sexual Abuse Research Award from the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma, 2015[42]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation, 2016[41]
  • The Wayne T. Westling Award for University Leadership and Service, University of Oregon, 2017[43][44]
  • Award for Media Contributions to the Field of Trauma Psychology, Division 56, American Psychological Association, 2018[45]

Personal life[edit]

Freyd was married to John Quincy "JQ" Johnson III, from 1984 until his death in 2012.[46] Together they have three children.[46]

In the early 1990s, Freyd's husband privately accused her father, Peter J. Freyd, of abusing her during her childhood. Her parents, Pamela and Peter Freyd, co-founded the False Memory Syndrome Foundation to dispute Freyd's claims of sexual assault, as well as the claims of others who allege that they have recovered memories of childhood abuse in therapy.[47][48]

In May 2014, Freyd filed a complaint with the University of Oregon in which she provided an analysis showing that female professors were being paid significantly less than their male counterparts. [49] Freyd filed a lawsuit against the University of Oregon in 2017 regarding pay inequity.[50][51] Some graduate students have showed support publicly for Professor Freyd in an open letter.[52][better source needed]



  • Freyd, J. J. (1996). Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. ISBN 978-0-674-06805-6..
  • Freyd, J. J.; Anne P. DePrince (2001). Trauma and cognitive science: a meeting of minds, science, and human experience. Haworth Press. ISBN 978-0-7890-1374-3.
  • Freyd, J. J.; Pamela J. Birrell (2013). Blind to Betrayal: Why we fool ourselves we aren't being fooled. Somerset, New Jersey: Wiley. ISBN 9780470604403.

Chapters in books[edit]

Journal article[edit]


  1. ^ "Jennifer J. Freyd".
  2. ^ Freyd, Jennifer J. Betrayal trauma : the logic of forgetting childhood abuse. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-06806-3.
  3. ^ Goldsmith, Rachel E.; Freyd, Jennifer J.; DePrince, Anne P. (10 October 2011). "Betrayal Trauma". Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 27 (3): 547–567. doi:10.1177/0886260511421672.
  4. ^ Freyd, J. J. Betrayal trauma: The logic of forgetting childhood abuse. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  5. ^ Hoag, Becky. "A look into Dr. Jennifer Freyd's research on sexual violence psychology and institutional betrayal". Daily Emerald.
  6. ^ "Oregon psychology professor talks psychology of sexual harassment". The Stanford Daily. Stanford University. 2018-04-13. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  7. ^ "Jennifer J. Freyd: Abbreviated Vita". Archived from the original on July 6, 2009.
  8. ^ "Jennifer J. Freyd - Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences".
  9. ^ "Science of Child Sexual Abuse". Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Definition of Betrayal Trauma Theory". Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  12. ^}}
  13. ^ Freyd, Jennifer J.; Deprince, Anne P.; Zurbriggen, Eileen L. (29 October 2001). "Self-Reported Memory for Abuse Depends Upon Victim-Perpetrator Relationship". Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. 2 (3): 5–15. doi:10.1300/J229v02n03_02. ISSN 1529-9732. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  14. ^ Goldsmith, Rachel E.; Freyd, Jennifer J.; DePrince, Anne P. (10 October 2011). "Betrayal Trauma". Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 27 (3): 547–567. doi:10.1177/0886260511421672.
  15. ^ Smith, Carly Parnitzke; Freyd, Jennifer J. (February 2013). "Dangerous Safe Havens: Institutional Betrayal Exacerbates Sexual Trauma". Journal of Traumatic Stress. 26 (1): 119–124. doi:10.1002/jts.21778.
  16. ^ Gobin, Robyn L.; Freyd, Jennifer J. (2009). "Betrayal and revictimization: Preliminary findings" (PDF). Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. 1 (3): 242–257. doi:10.1037/a0017469.
  17. ^ "Institutional Betrayal". Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  18. ^ Smith, C. P.; Freyd, J.J. (2013). "Dangerous safe havens: Institutional Betrayal exacerbates traumatic aftermath of sexual assault". Journal of Traumatic Stress. 26 (1): 119–124. doi:10.1002/jts.21778. PMID 23417879.
  19. ^ Smith, C. P.; Gómez, J. M.; Freyd, J. J. (2014). "The Psychology of Judicial Betrayal". Roger Williams Law Review. 19: 451–475.
  20. ^ "Institutional" (PDF).
  21. ^
  22. ^ Freyd, Jennifer J. (April 25, 2016). "The Problem with "Required Reporting" Rules for Sexual Violence on Campus".
  23. ^ Smith, C. P. (2014), "Unawareness and Expression of Interpersonal and Institutional Betrayal", Unawareness and Expression of Interpersonal and Institutional Betrayal, The Western Psychological Association, Portland, Oregon
  24. ^ "Jennifer Freyd takes part in White House announcement". Around the O. University of Oregon. 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  25. ^ Bartlett, Tom (2014-10-14). "How a Sex-Assault Researcher Persevered Against University Resistance". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  26. ^ "SH Study 3rd Meeting".
  27. ^ "Open Essay: Gender Discrimination, Dr. Jennifer Freyd's Lawsuit, & University Recommendations".
  28. ^ Freyd, Jennifer (2018-07-14). "OPINION: Official campus statistics for sexual violence mislead". Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  29. ^ Coleman, Libby (2018-01-15). "Will There Be a Backlash to #MeToo?". OZY.
  30. ^ Effron, Lauren (2017-10-27). "How Ashley Judd fought off Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  31. ^ Freyd,, Jennifer J. (2019). "Compelled Betrayal".
  32. ^ Freyd, Jennifer J. (25 April 2016). "The Problem with "Required Reporting" Rules for Sexual Violence on Campus". Huffington Post.
  33. ^ Freyd, Jennifer J. "When sexual assault victims speak out, their institutions often betray them". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  34. ^ Bartlett, Tom (October 14, 2014). "How a Sex-Assault Researcher Persevered Against University Resistance" – via The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  35. ^ Bonine, John E. (2014-11-26). "Surveys, Secrecy, and Sexual Assault". The Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs: The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  36. ^ "Scientists to AAU member university presidents". University of Oregon. 2014-11-01.
  37. ^ Kingkade, Tyler (2015-09-01). "A Supergroup Of Academics Is Trying To Stop People Who Profit From Campus Rape". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  38. ^ Bartlett, Tom (2014-11-18). "AAU's Planned Sexual-Assault Survey Draws Backlash From Some Researchers". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  39. ^ "Journal of Trauma & Dissociation". ISSTD.
  40. ^ "Callisto: Tech to combat sexual assault".
  41. ^ a b "Annual Awards". International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  42. ^ "Look What's New in the Department of Psychology!" (PDF). University of Oregon, College of Arts and Sciences.
  43. ^ "University Senate recognizes four with annual service awards". Around the O. University of Oregon. 13 June 2017.
  44. ^ "Dr. Freyd Wins Senate Westling Award". Department of Psychology, University of Oregon. May 31, 2017.
  45. ^ "UO psychologist honored for her work on betrayal trauma". Around the O. University of Oregon. 8 April 2016.
  46. ^ a b "Stanford Magazine - Obituaries - November/December 2012". Stanford Magazine. 2012-11-01. Archived from the original on 2013-06-14. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  47. ^ Calouf, David L. "A Conversation With Pamela Freyd" (PDF). Treating Abuse Today, Volume 3, Number 3. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
  48. ^ Dallam, SJ (2001). "Crisis or Creation: A Systematic Examination of 'False Memory Syndrome'". Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. 9 (3/4): 9–36. doi:10.1300/J070v09n03_02. PMID 17521989.
  49. ^ Moran, Jack. "UO professor files equal pay claim". The Register-Guard.
  50. ^ "Freyd v. University of Oregon (6:17-cv-00448)". Court Lister. 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
  51. ^ Moran, Jack (2017-03-22). "UO professor files equal pay claim". The Register-Guard. GateHouse Media. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  52. ^ "Open Letter to Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd". June 12, 2017.

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