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Chitra Raghavan
Position: Professor
Campus Affiliation: John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Phone: 212.237.8417
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Training Area: Clinical Psychology @ John Jay College
Research Interests: Intimate partner violence, sexual assault, gender and cultural dynamics
I received my B.A. in French Language and Literature and Psychology from Smith College, my Ph.D. in Community and Clinical Psychology at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Yale School of Medicine. Prior to joining the John Jay faculty in 2002, I worked as a research scientist at CASA, Columbia University.
Research and Teaching
My primary research is on intimate partner abuse with a current focus on sexual coercion and coercive control. Trained as a clinical and community psychologist, the broader cultural context of gender and power always informs my research. As such, my research and teaching engage not only with the more traditional psychological factors believed to trigger domestic abuse, (e.g., jealousy) but also consider the larger political, economic, and socio-cultural factors that maintain or exacerbate the violence (e.g., social permission to be controlling). Much of my work is interdisciplinary and international/cross-cultural, and I partner with organizations that include lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and health care professionals. Internationally, I’ve collaborated with scholars from India, Brazil, Malaysia, Morocco, and Spain.
Currently, I am working on three projects. These are:
  • Investigating how male abusers use different tactics including coercive control and sexual coercion to achieve control over their female intimate partners
  • Examining how coercive control (and partner violence) is enacted in gay couples and how these dynamics may vary across gender and sexual orientation
  • Examining traumatic outcomes in survivors of intimate partner violence and sex trafficking
 A second research and teaching area includes the integration of the arts in the teaching of psychology. Several teaching and performance projects involving opera, psychology, and theatre are underway. Students are integral to these varied projects, and I enjoy mentoring, writing, and collaborating with my students.
The gender-culture context that informs my research also informs my pedagogy. I designed and lead two study abroad programs, one to Bali Indonesia, and the other to Rabat, Morocco. The Bali program introduces students to the cultural study of the self and the Morocco program examines gender and feminism in a non-Western context.
Clinical and Forensic Practice
I am a practicing therapist and clinically, I am interested in feminist approaches to managing trauma, appropriate techniques for interviewing women with trauma, accurate screening for women in violent relationships, and ecologically valid measurement methods for court use and expert testimony. I routinely conduct psychological evaluations and provide expert witness testimony for survivors of partner violence, sex trafficking, and other violence for a wide variety of reasons including political asylum, therapy planning, civil and criminal litigation, and T-visas.
Relevant Links
Domestic Violence: Methodologies in Dialogue
Self-Determination and Women's Rights in Muslim Societies
Sexual Coercion Talk