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Criminal Justice Doctoral Student Wins 2022 Compassionate Research Award

Gemini Creason-Parker

By Abbye Shattuck

Gemini Creason-Parker received the Compassionate Research Award in the doctoral category of the International Research Conference (IRC) hosted by The Graduate College at Texas State University in April for her research entitled, “Rape Myths in Numbers: Do Stereotypical Case Characteristics Correlate with Arrest?” Creason-Parker is a doctoral student in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

The IRC was open to master’s and doctoral students in all disciplines at Texas State and beyond and was hosted by The Graduate College and the Common Experience. This year’s Common Experience theme was compassion, and Creason-Parker’s research, which took a deeper look into the effects of television shows like “Law and Order; SVU,” was awarded for its alignment with the Common Experience’s theme.

“On the one hand, I get to do very serious, important research,” Creason-Parker said regarding her research topic. “But I also get to watch TV while I do it.”

Creason-Parker’s research focused on how shows like “Law and Order; SVU” bring awareness to sexual assault victims and whether or not these kinds of shows have a positive or negative impact on the public’s perception of sexual assault.

“It all comes down to giving victims a voice,” Creason-Parker said about how her research exemplifies compassion. The goal of her research was to build a foundation for sexual assault victims to stand on and work to amplify the voices of those who are often silenced in society.

“Ideally, there would be no rape,” Creason-Parker said about her hopes for the outcome of her research. “Since I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, I would like to dismantle the rape myths that prevent victims from coming forward.”

Creason-Parker feels that using research and the media to destigmatize sexual assault in our society will work to encourage more and more victims to come forward and seek justice.

“Research only has so much influence on policy,” Creason-Parker pointed out. “What else influences policy [is] the media.” Using shows like “Law and Order; SVU” to bring more awareness to sexual assault and implementing accurate information and portrayals that work to deconstruct rape myths is an important step in promoting activism and change in policy, according to Creason-Parker.

Passion is the driving factor behind Creason-Parker’s research. “I am a firm believer that if you’re not passionate in what you’re researching then your research is going to fall [because of] that.”

For graduate students considering participating in the IRC, Creason-Parker emphasized the importance of prioritizing showing compassion for others as well as being passionate about your research in order to be successful. “If you’re not passionate about something, save it for someone who is,” she said.

Creason-Parker also noted that accessibility is an important element to remember in conducting successful research. “It ultimately comes down to accessibility; not just in how we present the information, but making it available to [everyone and] not just other academics.”

Creason-Parker advised that anyone entering graduate school prioritize their happiness, balance work and play, and celebrate the small wins in life. “Really prioritizing the balance between ‘I need this’ and ‘I want this to be happy’ is where success lies,” Creason-Parker said, “and that’s also where you keep the passion for your research.”

Creason-Parker plans to become a professor upon receiving her doctorate. “I feel strongly about teaching and inspiring students and helping them be the best at whatever they want to be,” Creason-Parker said. She also plans to continue to conduct impactful research after graduation. “I want to continue to do research that has an impact on people, especially people without voices.”

Congratulations to Gemini Creason-Parker on her exemplary research and her compassionate heart that has given a voice to those that have been silenced!