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Perceptions of College Campus Climate Among Queer Female Sexual Assault Survivors

Elyxcus J Anaya, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


One-fifth of women in the United States report at least one lifetime experience of rape (Black et al., 2011; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014; Smith et al., 2018). Sexual assault (SA)is a common experience among cisgender women college students, with 20% reporting experiencing a rape during their time in college (Cullen et al., 2000). Universities generally have resources designed to help survivors of SA, though research suggests many of these resources are underutilized by survivors. The current study was guided by social constructivism and used a transcendental phenomenology approach to explore six queer, female participants’ decision-making processes about utilizing campus resources for support following SA. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants from multiple universities until information richness was met to develop an understanding of ways in which participants found their universities to be helpful and unhelpful in providing support for disclosing sexuality and SA survivorship to formal campus resources. Data analysis resulted in the generation of five themes: a) Questioning Belonging and Safety on Campus, b) Use of Formal Resources is Dependent on Trust, Reliability, and Past Experiences, c) Stigma and Hurtful Disclosure Reactions Negatively Impact SA Survivors, d) Heteronormativity Complicates Healing from SA for Queer SA Survivors, and e) Supportive Reactions and Community After SA Disclosure Lead to Connection and Healing. Findings from this study can be used to help inform and provide recommendations to universities to better support queer female students who have experienced SA and choose to seek campus resources.

Subject Area

Psychology|Sexuality|LGBTQ studies

Recommended Citation

Anaya, Elyxcus J, "Perceptions of College Campus Climate Among Queer Female Sexual Assault Survivors" (2024). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI31140975.