Date of Award

12-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Committee Member

Tony Cawthon, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Robin Phelps-Ward

Committee Member

Michelle L. Boettcher

Committee Member

Kimberly Poole

Abstract

The United States’ evolving federal regulations and laws are doing little to disrupt systemic sexual violence, and more narrowly, are doing very little to protect Black women (Dunn, 2014; Harris, 2017; Harris & Linder, 2017; Konradi, 2016; O’Toole et al., 2015; Yung, 2015). Further, Black women are underrepresented in college sexual assault literature and little is known about how Black women perceive campus sexual violence resources and policy (Crosby, 2015; Tillman et al., 2010). The purpose of this study is to create a model to explore Black women’s confidence in sexual assault resources. In order for institutions of higher education to combat sexual violence against women, college administrators must understand the factors that impact women’s confidence in their sexual violence resources and policies. In this study, I argue that college administrators must eradicate essentialist perspectives of how women perceive resources and are impacted by sexual violence. This study explores the unique factors impacting the confidence level Black undergraduate college women have in campus sexual assault resources. Understanding Black women’s unique confidence level is central to providing sexual violence support services that cater to the specific needs of Black women. This quantitative correlational study explores to what extent the independent variables (gendered racism, affective commitment to the institution, perception of safety, perception of support, knowledge of sexual assault resources, and experience with sexual assault) impact Black women’s confidence in campus sexual assault resources. The research questions that informed this study were (1) What is the relationship between the independent variables and Black women’s confidence in campus sexual assault resources? (2) Which independent variables account for the most variation in Black women’s confidence in campus sexual assault resources? For this research study, I utilized black feminist thought (Collins, 2009) and critical race quantitative intersectionality (Covarrubias & Velez, 2013) as theoretical perspectives to create a descriptive quantitative non-experimental, correlational study. The population for this study was undergraduate women, who identify as Black and currently attend attending public, 4-year, predominantly white public colleges within the United States. I utilized survey research methods to collect data from research participants and used multiple regression analysis to address both research questions. Affective commitment to the institution, perception of safety, and knowledge of sexual assault resources had statistically significant impact on Black women’s confidence in campus sexual assault resources. This study highlights the pivotal role that campuses have in building confidence in their sexual assault policies, particularly for Black women. This research project underscores that building confidence in sexual assault resources is more complex than just training and informing students of resources, but should include more holistic strategies to build Black women’s confidence in their resources. Future research should expand on this research to explore underlying or latent factors that could help explain Black women’s confidence levels. Lastly, researchers should explore to what extent state and local laws have on Black women’s confidence in campus sexual assault resources.

Share

COinS