The Marginalization of Dating Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors in College

Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Ann Kakaliouras

Second Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


Sexual assault and dating violence are prevalent crimes on college campuses, despite the many laws passed and educational programs created to keep them from happening. Survivors of these crimes face a lot of challenges. My project aims to bring light to what many survivors deal with when they experience sexual assault or dating violence. My research question is, “Does reporting and/or speaking up about dating violence or sexual assault lead to the marginalization of college students?” This is not just a problem faced by college students, it is a major social problem and much of it stems from expectations placed on gender and sexuality. The variables examined in this study are: students’ problems with defining dating violence and sexual assault, a lack of education on these crimes, gender expectations from society, and an environment created by the college that discourages students from reporting or does not make them feel protected and safe. Information was gathered from twenty-five secondary sources about these issues and was compared to data collected by interviewing six students at a small liberal arts college in Southern California. The study was approved as a class and college project by IRB-certified instructors. The data collected could be representative of the population of the college, since participants were both male, and female, and athletes and non-athletes. Findings showed that college students who experience either dating violence or sexual assault do in fact experience marginalization, with a significant amount of stress coming from reactions from their peers and a lesser amount resulting from reactions by college officials.


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