Ann Russo, is an antiracist feminist writer, educator, and activist who is currently the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at DePaul University. Her research, teaching, and activism over the past 25 years has been embedded in the social movements organized to address the pervasive sexual, racial and homophobic harassment, abuse, and violence in women’s lives. She is the author of Taking Back Our Lives: A Call to Action in the Feminist Movement (2001); co-author of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality; and co-editor of Talking Back and Acting Out: Women Negotiating the Media Across Cultures and Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. As an Activist, she has participated in local and national organizing efforts addressing discrimination and violence, including work with Chicago with the women and Girls Collective Action Network, YWCA’s Chicago-Area Rape Crisis Line, Rape Victim Advocates, Beyondmedia, the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network and Queer White Allies Against Racism, among others.
Professor Ann Russo, director of Women and Gender Studies at DePaul University, provides an overview of the debates waging in the feminist and women’s movements over the vocabulary and perspective used to address prostitution. She discusses how her own experience as a survivor of sexual violence has contributed to her research and activism on the issue of violence against women. In this interview, Professor Russo unpacks many of the complex theoretical conversations about the sex trade and also suggests policy changes and grassroots efforts that could lead to the de-stigmatization of women involved in the sex trade.