Citation
Sexual assault survivors' experiences of disclosure and help seeking behaviors

Material Information

Title:
Sexual assault survivors' experiences of disclosure and help seeking behaviors
Creator:
Woods, Kathryn Scott
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
ix, 86 leaves : ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Rape victims -- Colorado -- Fort Collins ( lcsh )
Disclosure of information -- Colorado -- Fort Collins ( lcsh )
Help-seeking behavior -- Colorado -- Fort Collins ( lcsh )
Disclosure of information ( fast )
Help-seeking behavior ( fast )
Rape victims ( fast )
Colorado -- Fort Collins ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 82-86).
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kathryn Scott Woods.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
672303208 ( OCLC )
ocn672303208
Classification:
LD1193.P86 2010m W66 ( lcc )

Full Text
'1
il
\
SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS EXPERIENCES OF
DISCLOSURE AND HELP SEEKING BEHAVIORS
By
Kathryn Scott Woods
B.S., The Pennsylvania State University, 1997
M.S.W., Arizona State University, 1999
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Public Administration
2010


This thesis for the Master of Public Administration
degree by
Kathryn Scott Woods
has been approved by


Woods, Kathryn Scott (M.P.A., Domestic Violence Concentration)
Sexual Assault Survivors Experiences with Engaging Services on a College Campus
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Angela R. Gover
ABSTRACT
Sexual assault survivors often disclose to others about their experiences, and
the response of the disclosure source can have a large impact on the survivors
healing process and choices about accessing formal services and making formal
reports. This study explores the relationship between the nature of the initial
disclosure and making formal reports or accessing formal services among a small
sample of sexual assault survivors attending Colorado State University. It also
examines helpful and unhelpful responses from disclosure sources. Results indicate
that survivors most often disclose initially to informal sources of support, and they
rarely characterize the responses from these informal disclosure sources as helpful. In
addition, survivors disclosures to formal sources of support are often the result of the
referrals and urging of their initial disclosure source. There is a strong correlation
between helpful responses from disclosure sources and making formal reports.
Survivors also report negative experiences when reporting to formal reporting
structures including the police and university officials. Despite receiving generally


negative responses from formal reporting sources, survivors report positive
experiences when receiving formal services from university service providers. This
study has implications for the training of students on campus to be more effective in
responding to disclosures of sexual assault, as well as implications for more effective
police and service provider responses.
This abstract accurately represents the consent of the candj
its publication.
Signed
mmend
over


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The author would like to express her thanks to her committee for their
feedback and guidance, and especially to her chair, Angela Gover, for her continued
mentoring and support. The author would also like to thank the Colorado State
University Office of Womens Programs and Studies and Chris Linder, Director for
supporting this project.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES.....................................................ix
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.................................................1
Sexual Violence on College Campuses.....................1
The Current Study.......................................4
2. LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................5
Incidence of Sexual Violence on College Campuses........5
Uniqueness of Campus Settings The Context of Higher Education..7
Impact of Sexual Assault...............................10
Disclosure of Sexual Assault...........................14
Summary & Conclusion...................................21
3. CAMPUS PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS SEXUAL ASSAULT....................23
Best Practices.........................................23
Multidisciplinary Collaboration........................24
Colorado State Universitys Program....................25
Summary & Conclusion...................................28
4. METHODOLOGY..................................................30
Research Questions.....................................30
vx


Procedure
31
Survey Instrument....................................... 33
Confidentiality...........................................34
Data Analysis.............................................35
Limitations...............................................36
5. RESULTS..........................................................40
Quantitative Data Analysis................................40
Qualitative Data Analysis.................................44
Patterns in Visual Representations of Disclosure Networks.49
Concluding Results........................................50
6. DISCUSSION.......................................................51
Research Question 1.......................................51
Research Question 2.......................................55
Research Question 3.......................................56
Limitations...............................................59
Implications..............................................60
Conclusion................................................61
7. CONCLUSION.......................................................63
Directions for Further Research...........................65
Final Thoughts............................................67
vii


APPENDICES
A. Email Invitation...............................................68
B. Informed Consent...............................................69
C. Survey.........................................................73
D. Visual Representations of Disclosure Networks................ 79
REFERENCES............................................................82
viii


LIST OF FIGURES
Visual Representations of Disclosure Networks
Figure D.l, Respondent #2......................................79
Figure D.2, Respondent #3......................................79
Figure D.3, Respondent #4......................................80
Figure D.4, Respondent #5......................................80
Figure D.5, Respondent #6......................................81
Figure D.6, Respondent #7......................................81
IX


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Sexual Violence on College Campuses
The United States has become a society in which sexual violence occurs at
alarming rates. The statistics are staggering; as many as 40% of women will
experience sexual victimization within her lifetime (Carr, 2005; Fisher, Daigle,
Cullen & Turner, 2003; Nasta et al., 2005; Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). College
students are particularly at risk, as young women between the ages of 14 and 24 are at
the highest risk of being sexually assaulted (Fisher et al., 2003; Tjaden & Thoennes,
2000). While contemporary media highlights stranger rapes as the norm, in fact 79%
of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows (Carr, 2005).
The social contexts that exist on college campuses, in particular, create
environments where sexual assaults are likely to occur (Armstrong, Hamilton &
Sweeney, 2006). A robust party scene with alcohol readily available where
perpetrators can easily target victims, social environments where sex is viewed in
terms of conquest, and social norms where womens sexual boundaries are commonly
ignored all contribute to high sexual assault rates on college campuses (Armstrong et
al., 2006).
The impact of sexual assault can reach into social, emotional, physical, and
academic spheres of a survivors life. It is not uncommon for the survivor to
1


experience disturbances in eating, sleeping, and other aspects of ones daily routine
(Ullman & Filipas, 2001b). Many survivors experience symptoms of Posttraumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD) including nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive memories, and
avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event. These symptoms can continue for
months or even for years without treatment (Ullman & Filipas, 2001b). Survivors can
also experience difficulties with academics, often secondary to other symptoms such
as a difficulty concentrating (Guerette & Caron, 2007).
Despite the high rates of sexual assaults on college campuses, and despite
federal laws in place to enhance reporting, sexual assaults are reported to the police or
to campus officials at very low rates (McMahon, 2008; Thompson, Sitterle, Clay &
Kingree, 2007). There are multiple hypotheses for why this might be true, including
survivors failing to identify their experiences as a crime, fear of judgment by
authorities, shame, self-blame, negative responses from informal disclosure sources
such as friends or roommates, or wanting things to go back to normal (Thompson et
al., 2007). Survivors also express concern about further trauma they may experience
from the reporting process itself. Reporting can be a difficult process for survivors,
even when handled respectfully and delicately by the reporting official (Thompson et
al., 2007).
However, the literature suggests that survivors disclose to other individuals.
Most survivors tell a female friend, and many disclose to family members and
intimate partners (Fisher et al., 2003; Guerette & Caron, 2007). Significantly fewer
2


disclose to counselors, victim advocacy programs, medical professionals, and other
formal sources of support (Fisher et al., 2003).
The responses survivors receive from these disclosure sources are critical in
determining whether or not survivors will later seek formal services and, for some, in
determining how they will navigate their path to healing (Ahrens, Cabral & Abeling,
2009). According to Ahrens and colleagues (2009), receiving negative responses can
have significant consequences. Survivors who received negative or victim blaming
messages from their support sources demonstrated higher levels of PTSD, fewer
future disclosures, and lower rates of mental health service utilization.
While the unique environment of college campuses leads to increased risk for
sexual assault, many provide intervention services for survivors. In an attempt to
address the issue of sexual assault, college campuses around the country have
instituted a number of programs and policies. Federal statutes such as the Student
Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990 and the Campus Sexual Assault
Victims Bill of Rights of 1992 have also provided both guidance and mandates for
such policies (Carr, 2005; Payne, 2008). Advocacy programs, multidisciplinary
response teams, and 24-hour rape crisis hotlines are common services provided by
campus programs. Additionally, many campuses utilize peer support programs
(Karjane, Fisher & Cullen, 2002).
3


The Current Study
This study explores sexual assault survivors disclosure patterns and how
these disclosures impacted their decisions to seek formal services or to make formal
reports to the police or to campus authorities. The sample is comprised of survivors at
one western university who experienced sexual assaults after enrollment. The study
examines the relationship between the initial disclosure and later decisions to seek out
formal services and make formal reports. This study also determines what responses
were most and least helpful from support providers. The purpose of the research is to
explore and better understand how the nature of the initial disclosure impacts later
decisions to engage formal systems. The research also seeks to understand the ways
in which survivors experience sources of support as helpful and not helpful when
responding to disclosures.
Chapter one provides an overview of this study. Chapter two provides an in-
depth review of relevant social science literature concerning sexual assault on college
campuses, relevant federal legislation, impact of sexual assault, and disclosure
patterns. Chapter three discusses the response of college campuses in terms of
multidisciplinary response to sexual assault and Colorado State Universitys program
in particular. Chapter four provides an overview of the methodology for this study,
and chapter five presents the results. Chapter six includes a discussion of the results
and their implications, the limitations of the study, and the conclusions drawn from
the research.
4


CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
Incidence of Sexual Violence on College Campuses
Sexual assault is an epidemic on college campuses. One of the first studies to
explore this issue was conducted by Koss and colleagues; this landmark study
indicated that one in four women experienced an attempted or completed rape during
her college years (Koss, Gidycz & Wisniewski, 1987). Since that time, additional
studies estimate the percentage of college women that experience sexual victimization
to be between eight and 38% (Carr, 2005; Fisher et al., 2003; Nasta et al., 2005;
Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). Additionally, between five and 15% of college men
report engaging in acts that meet the legal definition of sexual assault (Carr, 2005). In
general, colleges and universities can anticipate a rate of 350 sexual assaults per
10,000 women on campus (Fisher et ah, 2003). Estimates vary across studies due to
differences in methodology, sampling, and operational definitions of incidents
(Gover, Kaukinen & Fox, 2008).
Fisher, Daigle, Cullen, and Turner analyzed data from the National College
Women Sexual Victimization study, a national-level sample of 4,446 female college
students (2003). These women were enrolled at 233 different institutions, and the data
were collected during spring 1997. The sample was randomly selected within each
institution. The data were collected through telephone surveys. The measure
5


measurement strategy was patterned after the National Crime Victimization Survey
(NCVS; Fisher et al., 2003). However, the operational definition of sexual assault was
broader than that used in the NCVS, and behaviorally specific screening questions
were used in conjunction with the two-stage measurement process used in the NCVS
to obtain the most accurate method of measuring sexual victimization (Fisher et al.,
2003, p. 17). Results showed that within the previous seven months, 11.9% of the
sample reported rape, 16.8% reported sexual coercion, 54.9% reported unwanted
sexual contact, and 16.5% reported receiving threats of a sexual nature. Only 6.3% of
the victims in the sample reported that they considered the incident to be rape,
compared to 11.9% reporting an experience that meets the definition of rape. Among
this group of women, 79% of the victims knew the offender (Fisher et al., 2003).
Nasta and colleagues (2005) conducted a study at Brown University to
determine incidence of sexual violence and resource use of female students on
campus. The research team recruited second, third, and fourth year undergraduate
female students in the lobbies of the libraries and computing center on campus to
participate in a written questionnaire. The questionnaire was based on two previously
published instruments: the Sexual Experiences Survey and the National Survey of
InterGender Relationships (Nasta et al., 2005). Results showed that 38% of the
sample reported some type of sexual victimization in the previous academic year. The
types of victimization reported included completed rape (six percent), attempted rape
(four percent), sexual coercion with completed sexual activity (32%), attempted
6


sexual contact with force (12%), unwanted sexual activity because of inability to
communicate due to illness (2%), and unwanted sexual activity because of inability to
communicate due to alcohol or drugs (15%; Nasta et al., 2005).
There are several notable patterns related to incidents of sexual assault on
college campuses. Approximately 79% of sexual assault survivors know their
perpetrators (Carr, 2005). Between 50 and 75% of sexual assaults that occur in
college environments involve alcohol use on the part of either the victim or
perpetrator; often, perpetrators intentionally supply their intended victims with
alcohol or other drugs in order to lower their inhibitions and ability to resist or engage
help (Armstrong, Hamilton & Sweeney, 2006; Carr, 2005). Further, sexual assaults
are more likely to occur in social situations where mens disrespect for womens
sexual boundaries enhances the mens social status and where alcohol consumption is
expected and socially enforced, such as at house parties and fraternity parties
(Armstrong et al., 2006). Other environments that have been shown to support high
rates of sexual assault include male peer group support for and lack of sanctions for
abusing women, rape myths, extensive use of pornography, and stereotypical gender
role socialization (Carr, 2005).
Uniqueness of Campus Settings The Context of Higher Education
College campuses encounter unique issues in providing services to survivors
of interpersonal violence and in responding to reported interpersonal violence
incidents. The dilemmas reported by university staff are significantly different from
7


those discussed by community rape crisis center staff (Payne, 2008). In a qualitative
study comparing the work experiences of community and campus advocates, Payne
identified factors that influenced the uniqueness of the setting, including federal
legislation and the existence of campus authorities, such as judicial affairs offices, as
a reporting option for survivors (2008). While the generalizability of these findings is
limited due to the study being conducted in one community, Paynes findings point to
the importance of seeing college campuses as communities with distinct cultures and
issues (2008).
The Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, commonly
called the Clery Act in honor of a student who was raped and murdered at Lehigh
University, has had profound implications on how universities address overall crime,
and specifically sexual assault (Lowery, Sokolow & Tuttle, 2002; Payne, 2008;
Sloan, Fisher & Cullen, 1997; Waryold, 1996). The literature contains significant
analysis of the impact of this legislation on interpersonal violence reporting. The
Clery Act has four main purposes: 1) to require colleges and universities to report
crime statistics to both the federal government and the public; 2) to compel the
reporting of crimes on campus by anyone deemed to be a campus security authority;
3) to develop strategies designed to protect the rights of victims of sexual assault;
and 4) to require colleges and universities to disseminate crime prevention
information to the campus community (Lowery et al., 2002; McMahon, 2008; Payne,
2008). Additionally, the passage of the Campus Sexual Assault Victims Bill of
8


Rights in 1992 (amended in 1998) further clarified the rights campuses needed to
assure for sexual assault survivors (Carr, 2005).
Further, the Clery Act, when interpreted in conjunction with the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act, holds that the campus community must be
notified if campus security authorities believe there is a threat to the university
community (Carr, 2005; McMahon, 2008). Campus security authority generally
includes all university staff with responsibility for receiving reports of crimes or any
official of the institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus
activities with the exception of those who have legal privilege such as counselors,
victim advocates (in some states) and religious leaders (Lowery et al., 2002, p. 34).
These mandatory reporting policies impact the context in which interpersonal
violence survivors disclose their experiences to professionals and formal sources of
peer support (e.g., resident assistants, peer mentors) in higher education environments
(Carr, 2005).
An additional factor impacting the uniqueness of college campuses is the
existence of campus judicial affairs units. Perpetrators who are also students are
generally in violation of the institutions student code of conduct and may be held
accountable by the university independent of or in conjunction with the legal system
(Carr, 2005). In a study examining the number of student-athletes reported for sexual
assault on college campuses, Crosset, Benedict and McDonald (1995) determined
than survivors may be more willing to disclose to campus judicial affairs than to the
9


police. However, this study simply examined the number of reports to judicial affairs
compared to police and did not contact survivors or explore reasons for disclosure, so
the results should be interpreted with caution (Crosset et ah, 1995).
Impact of Sexual Assault
The impact of sexual assault on survivors can be significant and pervasive.
Survivors experience both physical and psychological impacts in the short and long
term (Bryant-Davis, Chung & Tillman, 2009; Guerette & Caron, 2007; McMahon,
Goodwin & Stringer, 2000; Ullman & Filipas, 2001b).
Physical effects of sexual assault include genital injury, exposure to sexually
transmitted infections, contracting HIV/AIDS, and for female survivors, pregnancy
(McMahon et al., 2000). However, according to McMahon and colleagues (2000),
these outcomes are relatively rare. Sexual assault survivors may be more at-risk for
engaging in behaviors that would cause adverse effects on their reproductive health,
such as using substances (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs), engaging in high risk
sexual behavior, and avoiding regular gynecological care (McMahon et al., 2000).
For many survivors, the emotional impact of sexual assault is no less than
devastating. The most common emotional impact is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD), a disorder that is characterized by symptoms of re-experiencing the trauma
(flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts and memories), attempting to avoid
reminders of the trauma and a constant state of heightened anxiety (Ullman & Filipas,
2001b). Research indicates that as many as 94% of survivors may experience PTSD
10


within 2 weeks and 47% of victims within 3 months postassault (Ullman & Filipas,
2001b, p. 369). Many survivors describe a period of attempting to go on with life as
normal as if the assault did not happen, and then experiencing a reminder (often
called a trigger) which launched a period of emotional crisis. Others describe a period
of emotional crisis immediately following the assault (Guerette & Caron, 2007).
Many survivors struggle with PTSD long-term, some for years following the assault.
In addition to PTSD, survivors of sexual assault may experience additional
emotional and behavioral effects such as depression, anxiety, increased substance
abuse, difficulty with intimacy and relationships, increased thoughts of suicide, self-
harming behaviors, and somatic symptoms (Bryant-Davis et al., 2009; Guerette &
Caron, 2007; McMahon et al., 2000; Ullman & Filipas, 2001b). Appropriate mental
health care and support systems are crucial to helping sexual assault survivors
navigate the path to healing and recovery.
Ullman and Filipas conducted a study with a sample of 323 adult sexual
assault victims from community residents, college students and mental health agency
clients in the study community (2001b). Respondents completed an anonymous mail
survey and were paid $10. The survey used a modified version of the Sexual
Experiences Survey to assess lifetime incidence of sexual violence and were then
asked questions about their support network, disclosure to their support network, and
reactions they received to their disclosures. The final part of the survey included Part
3 of the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (Ullman & Filipas, 2001b).
11


Ullman and Filipas found that additional factors, such as greater physical
injury, greater perceived life threat at the time of assault, and negative reactions
received upon disclosure were related to more severe PTSD symptoms (2001b). More
specifically, being treated differently or receiving stigmatizing responses from others
most strongly predicted PTSD symptom severity (Ullman & Filipas, 2001b, p. 379).
Interestingly, higher educational level was related to less severe PTSD symptoms
(Ullman & Filipas, 2001b).
Guerette and Caron conducted a qualitative study with 12 college women who
were survivors of acquaintance rape (2007). The researchers posted notices on
campus inviting women who had been sexually assaulted by someone they knew to
participate in interviews. They conducted private interviews comprised of 30 open-
ended questions. Their interview questions centered around three research questions,
which focused on sexual assault disclosure and survivors choices to follow or not
follow suggestions made by disclosure sources, responses from disclosure sources
and the impact of sexual assault (Guerette & Caron, 2007). Results indicated that the
assault had impacted the survivors trust of others, and feelings of guilt and anger.
Fifty percent reported feeling depressed, and 58% reported an impact on their
sexuality. Other impacts included feelings of isolation, sadness, low self-esteem,
strained relationships with others and suicidal thoughts. In addition to negative
outcomes, however, 75% of the respondents were able to identify positive outcomes,
including feeling stronger, feeling more focused, being closer with others in their life,
12


raising sexually aware children, and being able to empathize with other survivors
(Guerette & Caron, 2007).
Bryant-Davis, Chung, and Tillman (2009) discuss the cultural factors that
impact the mental health effects of sexual assault for women of color and the
systemic barriers to care that may exist for these women, which can exacerbate
mental health consequences. It is essential to consider the sociohistorical context of
intergenerational trauma in the lives of ethnic minorities as a part of the context for
the contemporary experience of sexualized violence (Bryant-Davis et al., 2009).
Sexual assault of ethnic minority women does not occur outside of this context.
Considering the impact of this historical trauma for an individual as well as a culture
group is critical to understanding how an individual may experience her healing
journey after a sexual assault. In addition, ethnic minority women have higher rates of
PTSD, substance abuse and depression following a sexual assault (Bryant-Davis et
al., 2009). Ethnic minority sexual assault victims also experience higher rates of
negative responses following disclosures (Ullman & Filipas, 2001b). Finally, ethnic
minority women experience systemic barriers in accessing services including
discriminatory policies, financial constraints, social stigma around mental health
issues, language issues, and mistrust of agencies based on personal and historical
experiences of violations (Bryant-Davis et al., 2009, p. 330). It is essential to
consider how these individual, sociohistorical, and systemic factors may intertwine to
impact ethnic minority women.
13


Disclosure of Sexual Assault
Common Disclosure Patterns
Most survivors of sexual assault on college campuses do not report the
incidents to police or other authorities. Studies estimate that between two and five
percent of sexual assault survivors report the crime to the police (McMahon, 2008;
Thompson et al., 2007). One study reports the reporting rate for college sexual assault
increases to between 17 and 22% when the reporting authorities are expanded to
include campus judicial systems (Sloan et al., 1997).
Disclosure of sexual assault to informal sources of support is significantly
higher than disclosure to formal sources. Studies report that between 70 and 75% of
college sexual assault survivors told someone other than police or campus authorities
(Fisher et al., 2003). The National College Women Sexual Victimization study found
that the disclosures were to friends (87.9 %), family members (10%), and intimate
partners (8.3%). Only between one and 16% reported disclosing to confidential
campus services such as womens centers, victim advocacy programs, counselors or
religious leaders (Fisher et al., 2003; Krebs, Lindquist, Warner, Fisher & Martin,
2007). These results have high external validity due to the random sampling
techniques and research design modeled after the National Crime Victimization
Survey (Fisher et al., 2003). Similar results have been obtained by other studies,
supporting the conclusion that college students turn first and foremost to other
students with whom they already have a trusting relationship (Ahrens, Campbell,
14


Temier-Thames, Wasco & Sefl, 2007; Krebs et al., 2007; Ullman & Filipas, 2001a).
How do survivors decide when and to whom to disclose their experiences of
interpersonal violence? There are a multitude of factors that impact this decision.
Individual and Incident Related Factors. Often, survivors of interpersonal
violence choose not to disclose an incident that occurred because they perceive it was
not serious enough to warrant police or other intervention (Fisher et al., 2003; Krebs
et al., 2007). Factors that impact survivors perception of the seriousness of an
incident include whether or not a weapon was used, whether or not the incident
resulted in physical injury, and whether or not force was used by the perpetrator.
Additionally, many survivors do not feel that their experience meets the definition of
a crime (Fisher et al., 2003; Sloan et al., 1997; Thompson et al., 2007). In addition,
survivors who know the perpetrator are less likely to disclose. The closer the
relationship between the survivor and perpetrator or the more that the survivor and
perpetrators social networks overlap, the less likely disclosure will occur (Fisher et
al., 2003; Thompson et al., 2007). Survivors that are assaulted on campus are also
more likely to disclose than survivors of assaults occurring off campus (Sloan et al.,
1997).
Additionally, many survivors have a belief in the phenomenon described by
Fisher and colleagues as the classic rape (Fisher et al., 2003, p. 13). This scenario is
the stereotypical rape in which a male assaults a female stranger by jumping out from
behind the bushes and dragging her into a deserted alley. Because this rape narrative
15


is dominant in the U.S., and because the media supports this stereotype by covering
stranger rapes with much more frequency than acquaintance rapes, survivors whose
experiences do not fit this picture may be less likely to report the incident (Fisher et
al., 2003).
Identity Factors. In addition to factors specific to the incident, a survivors
social identities often impact disclosure. Social identities have the most impact on
formal reporting decisions (as opposed to disclosure to informal sources such as
friends and family). Numerous studies have found that survivors who are younger in
age and have lower socioeconomic statuses are less likely to report (Fisher et al.,
2003; Sloan et al., 1997; Thompson et al., 2007). This pattern holds true for college
students, as first year students are less likely to disclose than upper class students
(Fisher et al., 2003; Krebs et al., 2007). Survivors who do not identify as heterosexual
are also less likely to report due to concerns about systemic homophobia and being
outed (Carr, 2005).
When examining the impact of race on disclosure experiences, two patterns
emerge. First, survivors assaulted by perpetrators of a different race than themselves
are more likely to report than those assaulted by perpetrators of the same race
(Armstrong et al., 2006; Fisher et al., 2003). In addition, survivors of color are less
likely to engage formal reporting structures as opposed to white survivors (Fisher et
al., 2003; Washington, 2001). One explanation for this trend may be the differential
treatment of people of color by police and historical distrust that exists among
16


communities of color when interacting with law enforcement (Fisher et al., 2003;
Washington, 2001).
Community Expectations & Norms. College campuses provide unique social
environments in which sexually aggressive behavior and supplying women with
alcohol are common and socially sanctioned (Armstrong et al., 2006). Men gain
social status by having sex with women at all costs, and women are considered
sexually promiscuous if they engage in such behavior. This double standard creates a
social environment where sexual assault incidents are minimized and those who
report them are ostracized and ridiculed (Armstrong et al., 2006). This environment
has been coined as a rape culture in feminist literature (Armstrong et al., 2006;
Crosset et al., 1995). When survivors perceive an incident as socially sanctioned by
peers, and the result of disclosure may be social ostracization, disclosure is less likely.
This is particularly true when the survivor and perpetrator are engaged in closely knit
social networks (Fisher et al, 2003).
Systemic Response Factors. An additional factor in disclosure patterns is that
of systemic response. Largely, this is related to survivors perception of the systems
response to a disclosure. Some of these perceptions may be based on false
information about the system, but many are grounded in witnessing the experiences
of other survivors who disclose or in valid concerns about a system that often re-
traumatizes survivors (Fisher et al., 2003; Krebs et al., 2007). Some of these
perceptions include the survivors fear that their identity or situation will be made
17


public, either through the media or the rumor mill, that the system will not respond or
hold the perpetrator accountable, and that the process will become all-consuming and
will impact academic performance and social interaction for several semesters (Fisher
et al., 2003; Waryold, 1996). Often, survivors who are under legal drinking age fear
legal consequences for their alcohol use (Fisher et al., 2003; Krebs et al., 2007). For
survivors who do choose to formally report, over half are unhappy with how the case
is handled, and 17% report wishing they had not reported (Krebs et al., 2007).
Mandatory reporting policies, such as those that rise out of the Clery Act, can
also impact survivors decisions about disclosure. These policies can have unintended
consequences:
Any policy or procedure that compromises, or worse, eliminates the students
ability to make her/his own informed choices about proceeding through the
reporting and adjudication process such as mandatory reporting
requirements that do not include an anonymous reporting option or require the
victim to participate in the adjudication process if the report is filed not only
reduces reporting rates but may be counter-productive to the victims healing
process. (Carr, 2005, p. 307.)
Additionally, when systemic prevention messages focus on risk reduction,
survivors receive the message that they should have prevented their assault. Risk
reduction prevention refers to strategies that teach rape-avoidance techniques to
potential victims. According to Carr, higher education institutions unintentionally
condone victim-blaming when they circulate materials that focus primarily on the
individual victims responsibility to avoid sexual assault without balancing this risk
management information with prevention education that stresses the perpetrators
18


responsibility for committing the crime (2005, p. 307). Numerous studies indicate
that institutionally supported victim-blaming messages increase survivor self-blame,
which decreases disclosure rates (Carr, 2005; Fisher et al., 2003; Krebs et al., 2007;
Thompson et al., 2007).
Impact of Disclosure
The impact of the disclosure itself is critical for the survivor on several levels.
First, it matters because of the survivors expectation for the experience of the
disclosure. This expectation involves their own part of the disclosure (e.g., how did it
feel to say it out loud) and the reaction of the other person. Second, it matters because
of the reaction of the other person. The combination of these two factors is what
determines the impact of the disclosure experience (Ahrens et al., 2009). If the
survivor receives a negative reaction, but expected to receive a negative reaction, then
this will have a less devastating impact overall than if the survivor expected to receive
a positive reaction.
Ullman (2000) designed a Social Reactions Questionnaire (SRQ) to
specifically measure individuals reactions to sexual assault victims. She proposes
seven types of social reactions:
1. Emotional Support, which includes supportive reactions such as
listening, believing, or telling survivors it wasnt their fault;
2. Tangible aid, which includes providing information or actual
assistance;
3. Blame, which involves telling survivors that they are at fault or
accusing them of not being cautious enough;
19


4. Taking control, which includes making decisions for the survivor or
treating the survivor like a child;
5. Distraction, which includes trying to get the survivor to stop thinking
or talking about the assault;
6. Treating differently, which includes pulling away from the survivor or
acting like the survivor is damaged goods; and
7. Egocentric reactions, which pertain to support providers who focus on
their own needs or become so emotionally upset that they cannot
support the survivor (Ahrens et ah, 2009, p. 82).
Researchers frequently discuss these and other social reactions in terms of
negative and positive reactions (Ahrens et al., 2009; Guerette & Caron, 2007; Ullman
& Filipas 2001a). In general, while most survivors receive at least one positive social
reaction, they more frequently receive negative reactions (Campbell, Ahrens, Sefl,
Wasco & Barnes, 2001; Ullman & Filipas, 2001a). Additionally, survivors are more
likely to receive negative reactions from formal sources of support (e.g., police,
medical personnel) and positive reactions from informal sources of support (e.g.,
family, friends; Ahrens et ah, 2009; Ullman & Filipas, 2001a). Ahrens and colleagues
(2007) also point out that it is important to include a category where the support
providers reaction has no identifiable impact.
Several studies documented that the delivery of the assistance was equally
important as the type of assistance offered. Survivors consistently reported that
assistance offered without empathy, warmth or emotional support, particularly from
formal support providers was more harmful than helpful (Ahrens et ah, 2007; Ahrens
et ah, 2009; Ullman & Filipas, 2001a). Additionally, when survivors received positive
reactions, they were more likely to continue disclosing to others in the future (Ahrens
20


et al., 2009; Guerette & Caron, 2007), and particularly more likely to disclose to
mental health professionals (Starzynski, Ullman, Townsend, Long & Long, 2007).
The nature of the relationship to the support provider also seems to be
significant in predicting the impact of the reaction to the disclosure. Most social
reactions were viewed more positively when coming from friends and counselors
than from other individuals, while reactions such as being distracted and being treated
differently were viewed more negatively when coming from family members and
romantic partners (Ahrens et al., 2009). As one survivor said of her partners
response, his reaction was worse than the actual rape (Guerette & Caron, 2007, p.
41). Negative reactions from romantic partners, in particular, are associated with
more negative recovery outcomes (Ullman & Filipas, 2001a).
Race and ethnicity also seem to affect the impact of the disclosure. Women of
color received more support from mental health professionals and medical
professionals than from other support sources and received significantly less support
from informal sources than from formal sources (Ullman & Filipas, 2001a). However,
African-American women interviewed for a qualitative study often felt like the White
dominated formal services available to them were adequate but frequently not
culturally competent (Washington, 2001).
Summary & Conclusion
Sexual assault is a widespread problem on college campuses, and the impact
on survivors is no less than devastating. Disclosing the assault to others can be a
21


protective factor; however, the nature of the response from the disclosure source is
critical in determining its impact on the survivors future healing process. Multiple
barriers also exist to disclosure and to accessing formal services, including
community expectations and norms, identity factors, individual and incident related
factors, and systemic response factors. These barriers are significant because of the
critical nature of disclosure for most survivors in moving toward a place of resolution
with the assault.
The following chapter examines specific responses of college campuses to the
issue of sexual assault and types of services available for survivors on college
campuses. In addition, the chapter examines in detail the survivor advocacy program
at Colorado State University, the institution where this study was conducted.
22


CHAPTER 3
CAMPUS PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS SEXUAL ASSAULT
Most colleges and universities have programs specifically designed to address
the needs of survivors of sexual assault. These programs can be housed in multiple
locations including womens centers, health centers, counseling centers and police
agencies. The programs can also be free-standing (Carmody, Ekmohu & Payne, 2009;
Payne, 2008). Legislation such as the Clery Act and the Campus Sexual Assault
Victims Bill of Rights encourage the provision of advocacy services to survivors as
part of a comprehensive response to sexual assault on campus (Carr, 2005; Karjane et
al., 2002). These programs can be essential in assisting survivors in accessing
emotional support and other resources on campus.
Best Practices
In 2002, Karjane and colleagues published a congressionally mandated report
about the response of colleges and universities in the U.S. to the issue of sexual
assault. In addition to identifying how schools are already responding, they published
a list of promising practices to guide schools in developing benchmark programs for
the response to sexual assault.
Of primary importance is the development of programs and practices that
allow survivors to retain control and choices whenever possible. The act of sexual
assault takes control away from a victim, and a goal of intervention programs should
23


be empowering survivors to make decisions in order to return that power. When this
is not possible, such as in cases where university staff are mandated reporters, the
process should still proceed with the survivors involvement and should still give
choices when possible (Karjane et al., 2002).
Additional promising practices for survivor support services include
collaboration between university and community services so that survivors have
support from an array of service providers. Campus-based advocacy programs need to
coordinate with medical, legal, and psychological providers both on and off campus
in order to ensure that a comprehensive array of services are available to survivors.
The campus-based advocate can act as a resource coordinator to help the survivor
connect with other providers as necessary to minimize the feeling of being bounced
from agency to agency (Karjane et al., 2002).
Multidisciplinary Collaboration
Working in a campus setting means operating in a multi-layered system
involving offices and individuals from student affairs, academic affairs, and the
community. In order to respond effectively to sexual assault situations on campus, it
is essential to have an intentional, systemic plan for coordinating across campus and
community disciplines (Karjane et al., 2002; Payne, 2008). It has now become
standard practice to operate from a multidisciplinary response model in community
settings, and this model is beginning to be used on campuses as well (Karjane et al.,
2002).
24


One way multidisciplinary collaboration is beginning to emerge in campus
settings is through behavioral intervention teams. These teams, usually coordinated
through the Dean of Students office, have become a clearinghouse for staffing at-risk
students and situations (Van Brunt, 2009). Including victim services professionals on
behavioral intervention teams ensures that the needs of survivors are being taken into
account and allows for immediate follow-up with those who may be affected by a
sexual assault incident. It also allows for a victim services perspective when
discussing the risk level of the perpetrator (Payne, 2008; Van Brunt, 2009).
Ensuring that victim services professionals voices are heard on behavioral
intervention teams and in other collaborative forums is essential in reducing the
miscommunication and other collaboration issues that can commonly occur on
college campuses (Payne, 2008). Campus based sexual assault advocates identify that
keeping these lines of communication open, in particular between advocates and
police, can be challenging (Carmody et al., 2009; Payne, 2008).
Colorado State Universitys Program
This study focuses specifically on survivors who received services from the
victim advocacy program at the Office of Womens Programs and Studies at
Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, CO. Student enrollment for the Fall
2008 semester was 25,011. The entering class of first year students totaled 4,404
(Institutional Research, 2008). Considering that colleges and universities can
anticipate a rate of 350 sexual assaults per 10,000 women on campus and that 13,072
25


of the students attending CSU in Fall 2008 were women, it can be extrapolated that
458 sexual assaults occurred among the CSU student population in 2008-2009 (Fisher
et al., 2003; Institutional Research, 2008). During that same year, the Office of
Womens Programs and Studies served 52 survivors of sexual assault (Woods,
2009b). Therefore, the victim advocacy program served approximately 11% of the
survivors on campus during that year.
In academic year 2006-2007, the Office of Womens Programs and Studies
experienced a dramatic increase in the number of survivors requesting services. This
number has continued to increase every academic year since that time. Staff in the
office attribute this increase to a concurrent increase in sexual assault prevention
programming on campus, and not to an increase in sexual assaults on campus
(Woods, 2009b).
The victim advocacy program, which is housed in the womens center,
includes both crisis and ongoing advocacy provided by professional staff members
and a peer support, volunteer-staffed 24-hour rape crisis hotline, which has been in
existence for over 30 years. In fact, CSU was one of the first four universities in the
U.S. to offer 24-hour sexual assault advocacy services. The program obtains all of its
funding internally from the university (Woods, 2009a). The Center is staffed with
four professional staff members, only one of whom, the Assistant Director, provides
full-time support to the victim advocacy program. The Assistant Director is
responsible for coordinating all advocacy services, supervising the 60 student and
26


faculty/staff volunteers who staff the hotline, and providing advocacy services to
survivors. In addition, the other three staff members are trained as advocates and can
provide services to survivors when needed. Volunteer advocates complete a 40-hour
training program before starting on the hotline, and attend regular in-service trainings
throughout the semester. The training program meets standards generally accepted by
state sexual assault coalitions for rape crisis center advocate training programs
(Woods, 2009a).
Advocates offer support and resources in five areas: medical, legal, emotional,
academic, and campus disciplinary. They assess the survivors needs in each of the
five areas, connect to needed resources, and provide accompaniment to resources as
appropriate (e.g., to make a police report or obtain a forensic medical exam). The
program also offers a support group for survivors. In addition to the direct advocacy
services, the program participates in the universitys behavioral intervention team and
other multidisciplinary collaborations in order to enhance services available for
survivors. The Office of Womens Programs and Studies also maintains collaborative
relationships with the community domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, and
other community agencies in order to provide cross-referrals and to maintain open
communication across community-campus boundaries (Woods, 2009a).
All CSU employees are considered university officials and therefore are
mandatory reporters when students disclose they have been sexually assaulted
(Woods, 2009a). This mandatory reporting requirement, in place as a result of the
27


Clery Acts Campus Security Authority provision, provides an additional level of
notification to authorities (judicial affairs and police) of potential threats to the
university community but can create dilemmas with regard to survivor relationship-
building and empowerment (Carr, 2005). Victim advocates, however, are exempt
from this provision at CSU because Colorado law grants legal privilege to victim
advocates. Therefore, at CSU, both professional staff and volunteers who act in the
role of a victim advocate are not considered mandatory reporters. For staff and faculty
on campus who may be mandatory reporters in their normal roles but serve as
volunteers on the Victim Assistance Team, they are only exempt from the mandatory
reporting requirement when they are actually carrying the on-call pager as a victim
advocate (Woods, 2009a). This exemption allows CSU employees to provide a
referral to a confidential resource for students who want to talk with someone who is
not a mandatory reporter, preserving an option where the victim retains choices and
control over the process.
Summary & Conclusion
It is common for universities to provide services for survivors of sexual
assault, and there are multiple models that have shown to be effective. What is
essential is that universities follow best practice guidelines that allow survivors to
retain control of options and provide for collaboration between community and
campus agencies. Colorado State Universitys program, which has been in existence
for over 30 years, includes components of these best practice guidelines. This study
28


provides valuable information about survivors experiences with receiving services at
CSU.
The following chapter provides an overview of the studys methodology
including research questions, recruitment and study procedures, sampling structure,
confidentiality measures, data analysis, and limitations.
29


CHAPTER 4
METHODOLOGY
This study analyzes both qualitative and quantitative data to examine the
nature of survivor disclosure and service engagement. The researcher distributed an
email invitation to 28 students requesting their participation in an internet based
survey. The survey is designed to explore the participants disclosures of their
experiences of sexual assaults and how the responses they received to these
disclosures impacted their formal help seeking behaviors and formal reporting of the
assaults. The research design utilizes a convenience sample of students who have
accessed services from Colorado State Universitys Office of Womens Programs and
Studies (OWPS; which houses the victim advocacy services on the CSU campus)
during academic years 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. The researcher is the Assistant
Director of the office and the coordinator for the Victim Assistance Team, and
therefore has access to contact information for the participants. The researcher has
served as an advocate for some of the survivors who were invited to participate in this
research project.
Research Questions
This exploratory descriptive study will look at the following three research
questions:
30


1. Does the nature of the initial disclosure influence college students' decision to
seek out formal services related to their experiences of sexual assault? If so,
how?
Nature of the initial disclosure is defined as the survivor's expectation
from the disclosure, identity of the disclosure source, and the response
from the disclosure source
2. Does the nature of the initial disclosure influence college students' decision to
make a formal report about their experiences of sexual assault? If so, how?
Formal report is operationalized as making a report to either the police
or to campus authorities (judicial affairs or equal opportunity and
diversity).
3. What responses are most and least helpful from sources of support following
college students' disclosures of sexual assault?
Sources of support include informal individuals such a family
members, friends, roommates and intimate partners and formal
individuals such as counselors, police officers, campus judicial affairs
officers, victim advocates and medical personnel.
These research questions will allow for exploration into the core concepts being
examined by this study.
Procedure
The researcher obtained approval from the Institutional Review Boards at both
Colorado State University and the University of Colorado at Denver to conduct this
study. The approval of both IRBs was needed for the protection of the research
participants; UCD is the home institution of the researcher, and CSU is the institution
at which the study is taking place.
The selection criteria for this study include current CSU students who
experienced a sexual assault while enrolled at CSU. The sample was drawn from
31


students who received advocacy services from the Office of Womens Programs and
Studies during academic years 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. The researcher reviewed
189 survivor files for possible inclusion in the study. Of the 189 files reviewed, 66
were student sexual assault survivors. Of these 66, 28 met the study criteria and
received email invitations. Note that the IRB-approved informed consent form
contained in Appendix B indicates that approximately 75 people will participate in
the study. The initial estimate for the sample size, which was determined from
numbers of survivors who access services at the office in general before IRB approval
was obtained to access files, was much higher than the number of survivors who
actually met study criteria once files were reviewed.
Initially, email invitations (see Appendix A) explaining the research project
were sent to all survivors that fit within the selection criteria. Email is a common
mode of communication between CSU students and staff; in addition, survivors are
asked if they feel comfortable receiving email communication from OWPS at the
time of initiating advocacy services. Invitations were not sent to survivors who have
left the university, those who have refused further contact from an advocate, those
who have requested not to receive email communication, and those whose assault
occurred before they enrolled at CSU.
Survivors interested in participating in the study clicked on the link in the
email to access the survey. Participants were given three weeks from the time they
received the email invitation to complete the survey and received one email reminder
32


which includes the link to the survey two weeks after the initial email was sent.
Potential respondents received an informed consent notification before beginning the
survey that reviewed the purpose and risks of the study and provided two 24 hour
hotline resources that are accessible at any time if they become distressed during the
survey. One resource is telephone based and one is internet (live chat) based.
Potential respondents indicated their consent to participate in the survey by clicking
past the informed consent page (see Appendix B).
The consent form describes the study itself, the possible risks and benefits and
the anonymous nature of the research. It also describes who may see the research
information and the voluntary nature of the study. Participants were told they can skip
any question with which they feel uncomfortable, and could stop the survey at any
point by simply closing their browser window. To ensure that sufficient support is
available for survivors who may feel distressed while completing the survey, the
consent also lists (in 2 different places) telephone and online hotline resources
available 24 hours a day. There is also a list of community and campus resources
related to sexual assault. Finally, the consent lists contact information for the
researcher, supervising professor, Director of OWPS, and IRB officials.
Survey Instrument
The survey (see Appendix C) contains a mixture of quantitative and
qualitative questions. Each participant was asked closed-ended questions to measure
demographics (race, gender, sexual orientation, age and year in school by number of
33


credits). The survey also included closed-ended questions that identify the length of
time since the assault, their relationship to the perpetrator, whether the assault
occurred on or off campus, and whether the perpetrator was a CSU student or CSU
employee at the time of the assault. A series of closed and open ended questions
examined aspects of their first disclosures, their formal help seeking behavior, and
their formal reporting behavior.
Confidentiality
Given the sensitive nature of the study, addressing participant confidentiality
in the study design is of primary importance. The email invitations were stored on the
researchers secured server for the two weeks following the initial distribution, and
were then deleted following the reminder email. The server is maintained by
Colorado State University and the researchers email is accessible only by username
and password. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and researcher abiding by the
standards of both the University of Colorado Denver and Colorado State University,
the researcher has maintained utmost confidentiality with information obtained by
this research. Since all data were obtained electronically, paper records were not kept
for this study.
The survey data were collected using the online survey software Survey
Monkey. The survey data were captured anonymously online and were not linked to
individual participants by the researcher. The participants IP addresses were be
accessed by the researcher. All Survey Monkey employees have signed
34


confidentiality agreements as part of the conditions of their employment, and the
survey site uses https encryption, which means that data are encrypted during
transmission over the internet. This is a commonly used security tool for the
electronic transmission of confidential information.
Data Analysis
Independent and Dependent Variables
For the first research question, the independent variable was the nature of the
disclosure and the dependent variable was the decision to seek out services. Similarly,
the second research question explored the nature of the disclosure as the independent
variable and the decision to make a formal report as the dependent variable. Finally,
for the third research question, the dependent variable was the helpful and not helpful
responses from the sources of support and the independent variable was the
disclosures of sexual assault.
Quantitative Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics provided a picture of the demographic data and assault
characteristics as reported by the survey respondents. Quantitative data were analyzed
using SPSS. Univariate and bivariate statistics were examined across a number of
variables, and the researcher examined levels of significance for correlations among
measures. Additional examinations utilizing t-tests determined whether mean values
differ significantly when comparing groups across demographics and characteristics
35


of assault. The researcher also utilized bivariate analyses to determine whether
disclosure patterns varied by respondent characteristics.
Qualitative Data Analysis
The qualitative data analysis involved identifying a coding scheme based on
major themes in the open-ended responses. These responses were then analyzed for
themes and variations. Particular themes for analyzing qualitative responses to
disclosure of sexual assault survivors can be found in the literature (Ahrens, Cabral &
Abeling, 2009; Ahrens et al., 2007). Responses were analyzed by question and
quotations that are representative of major themes are presented to highlight these
points. The closed-ended demographic and disclosure information also allowed for
comparison of response themes across demographic characteristics utilizing
descriptive statistics analyzed with SPSS. Additionally, the researcher created a visual
representation of each participants disclosure network based on her experiences.
These visual representations, which demonstrate to whom each survivor disclosed
and whom they told next based on that disclosure sources recommendation, allowed
the researcher to more easily identify how and when survivors are referred across
informal and formal helping networks.
Limitations
The researchers professional relationship with many of the study participants
may influence the findings from this research. Initially, survivors may feel more
comfortable participating in the study when the invitation comes from someone with
36


whom they already have a relationship. However, individuals who did not have a
positive experience with the researcher or OWPS may be less likely to participate in
the study. This could result in sample bias as those individuals whose experiences
were not positive with formal victim advocacy services on campus may have different
experiences overall than those who did have positive experiences. This sample bias
would impact the generalizability of the results because of the inherent differences
between the groups.
An additional limitation is the use of a convenience sample. By using a
convenience sample of survivors who have already accessed services, the results are
limited in scope. Sexual assault survivors who have not accessed formal services are
likely to be substantially different from those who did; this research cannot speak to
the experiences of those who did not access services. Their experiences with initial
disclosures may be very different. The convenience sample also limits the
generalizability of the results only to this group of CSU students and cannot be
expanded beyond this study population.
A third limitation is the self-reported nature of the data. Self-report data can
contain flaws due to the commonly unreliable nature of human memory, particularly
when the subject involves the recall of traumatic memories. In addition, participants
may experience the phenomenon of social desirability and provide the answers they
believe the researcher wants to hear. For this study, this may be a particular concern
for feedback provided about services received from OWPS, as the participants know
37


that the researcher is also an OWPS staff member. Finally, participants may fail to
provide full answers to qualitative questions because they find the nature of the
material too uncomfortable.
Additionally, participants in this study may be more likely to have had
positive initial disclosure experiences, since the literature indicates that those with
negative disclosure experiences are less likely to continue disclosing and to disclose
to formal sources (Ahrens et al., 2009; Starzynski et al., 2007). Since all participants
in this study sought out formal victim advocacy services, their initial disclosure
experiences may have been more positive than those survivors who did not seek out
services (and therefore are not included in this study).
A final limitation of this study is the small sample size. The researcher had
additionally hoped for a larger sample based on office statistics, but the retention rate
of sexual assault survivors from the study period was lower than anticipated. The
small sample size further limits the generalizability of the results.
Despite these limitations, the current study contributes to the sexual assault
literature in the following ways. First, it addresses a gap in the literature by exploring
the relationship between the nature of the initial disclosure and the later accessing of
formal services and making formal reports. The current literature examines disclosure
to formal and informal sources independently, but does not explore the relationship
between the two. Additionally, it explores the networks of referrals made by
disclosure sources to other disclosure sources and formal services, which helps to
38


determine how one disclosure impacts future disclosures. Finally, it explores the
helpful and not helpful responses from service providers at CSU. These results
provide valuable information to the university community about survivors
experiences of the services they are receiving on campus, and may assist university
staff in determining which responses survivors find beneficial.
39


CHAPTER 5
RESULTS
A total of 28 survivors were recruited for this study. In total, ten survivors
responded to the survey, with seven of the ten completing the survey. This yielded a
25% response rate. This chapter presents a summary of the data from these seven
respondents.
Quantitative Data Analysis
Demographics & Characteristics of Sexual Assault
All seven of the respondents identified as white women. Seventy-one percent
(n=5) identified their sexual orientation as heterosexual, while 29% (n=2) identified
their sexual orientation as other. In terms of age, 29% (n=2) were 19, 29% (n=2) were
21, 29% (n=2) were 22 and 14% (n=l) identified their age as other. They also
identified their year in school by credits: 29% (n=2) were sophomores, 14% (n=l)
were juniors, 43% (n=3) were seniors and 14% (n=l) were graduate students.
The majority of respondents (86%; n=6) were assaulted off campus, with 14%
(n=l) reporting that their assaults occurred on campus. All respondents were
undergraduates at the time of the assault; 29% (n=2) were first year students, 29%
(n=2) were sophomores, 14% (n=l) were juniors, and 29% (n=2) were seniors.
Consistent with national statistics, the majority of respondents were assaulted by
40


someone they knew; with only 29% (n=2) reporting their perpetrator was a stranger.
Fourteen percent (n=l) were assaulted by a current dating partner, 14% (n=l) by a
former dating partner, 14% (n=l) by a friend, and 29% (n=2) by an acquaintance. In
71% (n=5) of the cases the perpetrator was a CSU student, and in 14% (n=l) of the
cases the perpetrator was a CSU employee.
Initial Disclosure
The majority of respondents disclosed to informal disclosure sources initially.
Only one respondents (14%) initial disclosure was to a professional; 57% (n=4)
initially disclosed to friends, 14% (n=l) to significant others, and 14% (n=l) to
parents/guardians. The respondents disclosed rapidly to their initial disclosure source.
Most (86%; n=6) disclosed within 0 to 72 hours of the assault, with 14% (n=l)
disclosing within 73 hours to 1 week of the assault. Only 29% (n=2) of respondents
characterized the response from their first disclosure source as helpful, and both of
those responses came from friends. All other initial responses were characterized as
not helpful (29%; n=2), neither helpful nor unhelpful (14%; n=l) or the respondent
was not sure (29%; n=2).
Most initial disclosure sources (86%; n=6) offered referrals to other resources,
whether informal or formal. The most common referrals were to friends (43%; n=3),
parents/guardians (71%; n=5), counselors/therapists (43%; n=3), police (43%; n=3),
and victim advocates (43%; n=3). Fifty-seven (n=4) percent of respondents contacted
at least one of these referrals.
41


Disclosure to CSV Staff/Faculty
The survey also explored the extent to which survivors disclosed to CSU staff
or faculty members. The most common disclosure was to victim advocates from the
Office of Womens Programs and Studies (43%; n=3), followed by medical staff
from the CSU Health Network (29%; n=2) and Residence Life staff (14%; n=l).
Disclosure to CSU staff was also relatively rapid, with 100% of respondents
disclosing within 1 month of the assault; 14% (n=l) disclosing within 0-72 hours,
57% (n=4) within 73 hours-1 week, and 14% (n=l) within 1 week-1 month.
Respondents experienced CSU staffs responses as much more helpful than initial
disclosure sources; 71% (n=5) described the CSU staff members response as helpful,
and 14% (n=l) indicated they were not sure whether or not the response was helpful.
According to the respondents, most CSU staff members (67%; n=4) referred
respondents to other resources. The most common referrals were to a
counselor/therapist (57%; n=4) and a victim advocate (29%; n=2). Fewer respondents
(29%; n=2) contacted the CSU staffs referrals compared to the referrals made by
initial disclosure sources.
Formal Reporting
A high number of respondents engaged formal systems to report their assault.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported to police (n=4), 43% (n=3) reported to
Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services (judicial affairs; only an option
42


when the perpetrator is a student), and 14% (n=l) reported to the Office of Equal
Opportunity (only an option when the perpetrator is an employee; this percentage
represents 100% of the respondents who had the option to report to OEO). All of the
respondents who reported to police worked with the local police services (as opposed
to campus police) because their assaults occurred off campus. There is a significant
correlation between the reaction of the initial disclosure source and making a report to
the police (r=.910, p<0.01).
In terms of outcome of the case, 29% (n=2) did not report, the perpetrator was
found guilty/responsible in 29% (n=2) of cases, and the case was dropped before
charges were filed in 43% (n=3) of cases. Overall, 43% (n=3) of respondents were
satisfied with their decision to report, 43% (n=3) were not satisfied with their decision
to report, and 14% (n=l) were not sure if they were satisfied or not.
Service Engagement
The most frequently engaged service on campus for these respondents was
victim advocacy from the Office of Womens Programs and Studies (71%; n=5),
which is not surprising since the sample was recruited from survivors who had
received these services prior to this study. Additional services engaged by these
respondents include CSU Health Network Medical Services (29%; n=2), CSU Health
Network Counseling Services (43%; n=3), and Residence Life staff (29%; n=2).
43


Qualitative Data Analysis
The qualitative data revealed several common themes. The major themes
include intent of disclosure, response of disclosure sources, the response of the
disclosure sources impact on seeking services and reporting, response of formal
reporting systems, response of formal services, and patterns in visual representations
of disclosure networks. Each theme is discussed in detail below.
Intent of Initial Disclosure
In general, respondents intent of disclosing was to receive support and
comfort or to determine what to next and receive connection to resources. When
disclosing to informal disclosure sources such as friends, significant others, and
parents, respondents hoped for both support and connection to general resources.
When responding to the question, what were you hoping for when you chose to
share with this person? respondents who disclosed to informal sources provided
responses such as, comfort, mostly... [and] help in deciding what to do; that she
would be able to help figure out what to do; and wisdom and compassion, just
someone to listen. When disclosing to formal sources, respondents were more likely
to be hoping for specific, targeted assistance related to resources, such as results
from the [STD] tests; to get a little slack from my teachers for missing so much
class; and I needed him to advise me in getting help in coping. For one
respondent, putting trust in a formal resource was an important choice, I just knew it
44


was the right choice for me. I needed to be empowered and knew that an advocate
could help me.
Response of Disclosure Sources
Respondents indicated that for the most part they received what they were
hoping from both formal and informal disclosure sources, but they found the formal
disclosure sources more helpful than the informal sources. As noted above in the
quantitative data analysis, the majority of respondents characterized the response
from their initial disclosure source (all informal sources but one) as not helpful,
neither helpful nor unhelpful or not sure, whereas the majority indicated the response
from CSU staff members (all formal sources) was helpful.
The most common reaction from the initial disclosure source was minimizing
the incident or the respondents reaction to it. Examples of responses include told me
that I would eventually get over it; and told me to try to forget about it. The other
common theme among respondents was feeling as if they had to manage the
disclosure sources strong or blaming emotions. For example, one respondent
commented, he couldnt quite hold his anger back. It was hard telling someone who
was angry about it because I kept wanting to leave things out so he would seem less
angry. Another respondent indicated, he freaked out at first and said some awful
things.. .he also kept asking why I went to this persons house, and I wish he hadnt
because I was dealing with enough remorse for what happened.
45


Despite indicating that they were hoping for concrete assistance, the most
helpful responses from CSU staff members were listening, believing the respondents,
and telling them the assault was not their fault. Examples of the most helpful
responses include, first person to believe me, tell me it was not my fault; and they
just listened and empowered me. They understood what happened and that it wasnt
my fault. Almost universally the respondents indicated that the CSU staff members
did not respond in unhelpful ways and that there was nothing they wish the CSU staff
members had said or done differently.
Response of Disclosure Sources Impact on Seeking Services & Reporting
Most respondents indicated that the initial disclosure sources response had a
significant impact on their decision to seek formal services and/or make a formal
report. Most disclosure sources encouraged respondents to seek out formal services,
and in some cases accompanied the respondent to the service or called for them.
While some respondents felt as if this took their choices away, most were
appreciative of the support to seek services. Responses include, the person that I told
was the one who tracked down the resources for me. That was why I disclosed the
information to them in the first place; I did end up calling my parents, my mother
worked as a probation officer and a victims advocate and encouraged (forced) me to
talk to the womens services; and we both kind of decided. I wanted to go see an
advocate more for his sake than mine. He didnt handle the assault well personally.
46


The majority of respondents also indicated that the initial disclosure source
either pushed or strongly encouraged them to make a formal report. Most disclosure
sources focused on reporting to the police. In the case of reporting, respondents
language seemed to indicate much more forcefulness on the part of disclosure sources
about making a report than about seeking formal services. Examples of responses
include, .. .My friend.. .came over and called the police. His girlfriend has been in a
similar situation before and had not reported it, and he had seen the psychological
effects and urged me to report it; .. .he kept pressuring me to go to the police and go
to the hospital, even though it was the last thing I wanted; and they really pushed
me to make a formal report. Because my living conditions were affected they told me
it would be best.
Response of Formal Reporting Systems
Many of the respondents had negative experiences with reporting their
assaults. All respondents who reported to police worked with the local police (as
opposed to campus police) because their assaults occurred off campus. In addition,
one respondent discussed her experience in reporting to campus reporting avenues
such as Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services or the Office of Equal
Opportunity. The most helpful responses from reporting sources were the connections
respondents received to advocates and feeling as if they had a voice. The least helpful
responses included feeling blamed and feeling as if the officials were insensitive and
did not take them or their case seriously. One respondent noted, I am not satisfied
47


with my decision to report because the process.. .was very hurtful. I felt like I was the
one being accused. It wasnt that they were trying to prove that he had done
something wrong, it was like they were trying to prove whether or not I was lying.
Another respondent discussed her experience with reporting to the police:
The police office in Fort Collins was possibly the most disappointing
encounter I have ever had with a police department in seeking justice. They
were not helpful in any way. They had me call the perpetrator with my own
cell phone and cell phone number so they could tap the line, and they had me
stand in an office room half clothed getting my bruises captured in
photographs. They never followed up.. .when my dad followed up, they
informed us the case had been dropped and we had not been informed...then
two months down the line, they asked me again to repeat the same process I
had before with a completely new officer. It was a mess, and I know that it
was supposed to be helpful, and I would suggest it to other women, but not
the Fort Collins police department. I felt as if they were more concerned with
my partying activities that night then what had actually happened.
Several respondents also mentioned negative experiences with making pretext phone
calls, an investigative tool where the survivor calls the perpetrator on a recorded line
in an attempt to elicit incriminating statements. When asked what they wish had
happened in the reporting process that did not happen, several respondents indicated
they wished that charges had been filed or something had been done to respond to
their case.
Response of Formal Services
For the most part, respondents had positive experiences with the formal
services they received across CSUs campus. The most helpful responses were
concrete connections to relevant resources. Responses included, It directed me to
48


SAVA Center where I have received help talking about the assault; womens
advocate, so nice, took me to the police station herself; and The health center was
FABULOUS. They gave me some plan B and some STD prevention pills for free.
They didnt even insist on an exam. The nurse just talked to me and helped me feel
better. When asked about least helpful responses, respondents referred to feeling
judged or feeling as if the service provider was standoffish. Another respondent
mentioned, having multiple people in the room when seeking help. One respondent
discussed her experience with formal services:
I hardly even remember those days. I wasnt listening to anyone. No one
sincerely told me it wasnt my fault. I guess that would have been nice. I
guess they all just assumed I knew it but I didnt.. .1 wonder if anyone thinks
Im sane or believes me. I tried to kill myself six months after the rape. Then
CSU highly encouraged me to withdraw. They gave me the option of seeing
really expensive doctors or being kicked out. The doctors tried to put me on
way too many medications until I was out of it and didnt even know where I
was. The whole situation is just so fucked up. I wish there was more education
about the actual rates of falsely accused rape. Girls dont cry rape, they GET
raped and even level-headed people dont always understand that.
When asked if there were things the respondents wish service providers had done that
they did not do, the majority indicated there were not.
Patterns in Visual Representations of Disclosure Networks
In order to examine patterns of referrals from disclosure sources, the
researcher created visual representations of disclosure networks for six of the seven
respondents (one respondent left the disclosure network questions blank; see
Appendix D). The most common referrals were to counselors/therapists and
49


parents/guardians. Referrals to parents/guardians were followed about half of the
time. Referrals to counselors/therapists were usually not followed; the only time a
respondent followed through on a referral to a counselor/therapist was when it was
made by a friend. Friends were the most likely disclosure sources to make multiple
referrals, and respondents were most likely to follow through on referrals made by
friends. Respondents who described the response of the initial referral source as not
helpful did not follow through on referrals to counselors/therapists.
Concluding Results
Respondents were asked what was the most helpful thing anyone said or did
of all the people they told. Common responses included receiving support and being
told it was not their fault. Examples of responses include, That it was in no way my
fault. He was the one to make the choice to violate me; and Listen. Support.
Empower. Believe. These four things are the best anyone can do. When asked about
the least helpful response overall, respondents referred to minimizing and not being
believed. Responses include, Oh well he probably doesnt deserve to go to jail for
that. Or you made it up for attention; and that I would get over it and that it
happens to everyone so its not that big of a deal.
The following is a final thought from a respondent:
Thank you for asking me these questions. I have a story and no one wants to
hear it. Its too sad, too messed up. I want people to understand how hard it is
for someone when she is raped. She doesnt get over it right away. Its always
there.
50


CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION
The impact of sexual assault can be pervasive and long-term, and survivors
experiences of their disclosures significantly affect their healing process (Ahrens et
al., 2009; Guerette & Caron, 2007; Starzynski et al., 2007; Ullman & Filipas, 2001a).
This study examined the relationship between the nature of the initial disclosure and
survivors seeking out formal services or making formal reports, as well as helpful and
not helpful responses from disclosure sources. These responses are an essential
component to understanding how to most effectively respond to survivors of sexual
assault.
Research Question 1
The first research question in this study explores the relationship between the
nature of the initial disclosure and survivors decisions to seek out formal services:
Does the nature of the initial disclosure influence college students decision to seek
out formal services related to their experiences of sexual assault? If so, how? The
following sections explore and discuss the findings related to this research question.
For the purposes of this study, the nature of the initial disclosure is defined as
the survivors expectation from the disclosure, the identity of the disclosure source,
and the response from the disclosure source. Consistent with literature, this study
found that most survivors initially disclose to informal sources of support such as
51


friends, parents/guardians, and significant others (Fisher et al., 2003; Guerette and
Caron, 2007). However, they disclosed more rapidly than survivors in the general
literature. All survivors in this study had made their initial disclosure within 1 week
of the assault, with 86% (n=6) disclosing within 72 hours. According to research,
between 58 and 62% of survivors disclosed within weeks of the assault, with the
remainder waiting months to years to disclose (Guerette & Caron, 2007; Ullman &
Filipas, 2001a). Survivors initially reach out to those with whom they have trusting
relationships and to those who they believe can provide support/comfort and help
them decide what to do, which is their expectation from their initial disclosures.
Survivors discussed feeling as if they wanted to talk with people they believed could
connect them with needed resources.
In general, survivors in this study did not receive helpful responses from their
initial disclosure sources. This is a departure from the literature, which indicates that
survivors are more likely to receive positive responses from informal sources and
negative responses from formal sources (Ahrens et al., 2009; Ullman & Filipas,
2001a). In fact, the survivors in this study experienced just the opposite, receiving
more positive responses from campus service providers (not including formal
reporting sources) and more negative responses from informal sources. The negative
responses from informal sources were related to minimization, not being believed,
and having to manage the strong emotions of the disclosure source. Several survivors
discussed shifting their own needs to consider the needs of the disclosure source;
52


these adaptations included a range from leaving out parts of the story to seeking out a
formal resource for themselves because of the needs of their disclosure source.
Despite the fact low number of respondents who characterized the response
from the initial disclosure source as helpful, 57% (n=4) of them still contacted at least
one referral provided by that source. This reaction may be related to the desire of the
survivor to connect to resources, as this was one of the most commonly stated
expectations from the initial disclosure. Additionally, some survivors indicate they
felt pushed by the disclosure source to access the resources; Guerette and Caron
(2007) discuss the fact that survivors often seek out formal services at the urging of
family or friends. Interestingly, referrals to counselors/therapists were followed the
least often. Perhaps this resulted because all survivors in this study disclosed fairly
rapidly, and literature suggests that many survivors wait for some time before
engaging mental health services (Starzynski et al., 2007). Reluctance to report is a
common reaction; survivors want life to return to normal and delay the realization of
the impact the assault has had on their life (Ullman & Filipas, 2001b). As a result, the
survivors in this study who disclosed rapidly may have felt as if they did not need a
referral to counseling. In addition, survivors have varied coping strategies and
accessing formal mental health services may not be helpful for all individuals.
Another notable pattern was that friends were most likely, of all disclosure
sources, to make multiple referrals. This may seem as if it would be overwhelming to
survivors, but those who received referrals from friends were most likely to report
53


their initial disclosure experience was helpful and they were also most likely to
contact referrals made by friends. Ahrens and colleagues (2009) discuss the
intersection between the identity of the disclosure source and the survivors
experience of that disclosure; survivors were most likely to be receptive to support
and suggestions from friends and romantic partners. However, they were also more
likely to experience less positive recovery outcomes when negative reactions were
received from friends and significant others (Ahrens et al., 2009).
Survivors in this study stated that the reactions from their initial disclosure
source had a significant impact on their decision to seek formal services. Influences
on this decision included that the disclosure source found out what resources were
available and that disclosure sources strongly encouraged (and in some cases pushed)
the survivor to seek services. Some survivors felt disempowered by the disclosure
sources strong desire for them to seek services. They appreciated encouragement to
seek resources when they felt as if they were not being pushed into the decision and
appreciated when the disclosure source accompanied them to the resource. None of
the survivors who described their initial disclosure experience as not helpful
followed through on a referral to counseling, which may be another indication of why
counseling referrals were less successful. This conclusion is supported by research,
which indicates that survivors who experience negative reactions are less likely to
seek counseling, and survivors who experience positive reactions are more likely to
disclose to mental health professionals (Ahrens et al., 2009; Starzynski et al., 2007).
54


Research Question 2
The second research question examines the relationship between the nature of
the initial disclosure and making a formal report to police or university authorities:
Does the nature of the initial disclosure influence college students decision to make a
formal report about their experiences of sexual assault? If so, how? Results from this
study support such a relationship.
This studys rates of reporting to the police were significantly higher than
those reported in the literature. In general, 2-5% of survivors report their assault to the
police; in this study, 57% (n=4) reported to police (Fisher et al., 2003; McMahon,
2008; Nasta et ah, 2005; Thompson et ah, 2007). The positive correlation between the
reaction of the initial disclosure source and reporting to the police indicates that when
a disclosure source reacted more positively, the survivor was more likely to report to
the police. This is consistent with literature that indicates that negative responses
from disclosure sources make survivors less likely to disclose anyone else, and
especially to the police (Ahrens et ah, 2009). However, this factor does not account
for the high rate of reporting in this study. In fact, since so many survivors
experienced their initial disclosure as not helpful, it would be likely that the rate of
reporting in this study would be low. The high rate of reporting may be due to the
number of survivors who felt strongly pressured to report by the initial disclosure
source. The high reporting rate may also be indicative of the fact that survivors
55


experienced some aspects of their disclosures as helpful even if the overall experience
was not helpful, or that they subsequently disclosed to other sources with whom they
had more positive experiences.
Survivors in this study felt that their initial disclosure sources strongly pushed
them to make a formal report. This pushing was experienced as negative by the
survivors; several expressed feeling disempowered, angry, or discouraged. Several
survivors made a formal report specifically because the disclosure source was so
forceful, and one indicated the disclosure source made the call to police on her behalf.
One survivor also indicated that her initial disclosure sources reaction was
instrumental in her decision not to report, stating, I wasnt going to after talking with
her, since she made me feel like it wasnt worthy of being reported.
The clear relationship between the disclosure sources reaction and the
survivors decision to make a formal report is also supported in the literature. Studies
show that survivors who receive negative reactions are less likely to make formal
reports, and those who feel pressured to report by informal sources are more likely to
make formal reports (Guerette & Caron, 2007; Washington, 2001).
Research Question 3
The third research question focuses on helpful and unhelpful responses from
disclosure sources: What responses are most and least helpful from sources of support
following college students disclosures of sexual assault? The survivors in this study
reported multiple helpful and unhelpful responses from disclosure sources.
56


Informal Sources
Helpful responses from informal disclosure sources included listening,
empowering the survivor to make choices, believing the survivor, telling the survivor
the assault was not her fault, and connecting the survivor to resources. These
responses are consistent with those identified as helpful in the literature (Ahrens et
al., 2009; Campbell et al., 2001; Guerette & Caron, 2007). Survivors in this study
identified least helpful responses as minimizing, blaming, and having to manage the
disclosure sources strong emotions. Minimizing and blaming were also identified as
unhelpful in the literature (Ahrens et al., 2009; Campbell et al., 2001; Guerette &
Caron, 2007). However, not all survivors in the literature perceived the disclosure
sources strong emotions as unhelpful. Some survivors indicated that a disclosure
sources strong emotions felt validating to them (Campbell et al., 2001; Guerette &
Caron, 2007). Nonetheless, all of the survivors in this study who received this
reaction characterized it as unhelpful.
Formal Sources Reporting Systems
Survivors in this study showed no a consensus about whether they were
satisfied with their decision to report. Forty-three percent indicated they were
satisfied with their decision, 43% (n=3) were not satisfied, and 14% (n=l) were
unsure whether they were satisfied or not. This finding is consistent with literature
that indicates that half of survivors are unhappy with how their cases were handled
and 17% wish they had not reported (Krebs et al., 2007). However, they did provide
57


multiple responses that were helpful and not helpful from reporting sources. Helpful
responses from formal reporting sources were connection to advocates and feeling as
if they had a voice. Unhelpful responses included minimizing, blaming, and general
insensitivity. Most survivors who reported to formal sources in this study received
negative responses from the reporting source. Literature supports this finding, with
multiple studies indicating that police and physicians are the disclosure sources most
likely to provide negative responses (Ahrens et al., 2009; Campbell et al., 2001;
Fisher et al., 2003; Ullman & Filipas, 2001b).
Formal Sources Services
In general, survivors in this study experienced their interactions with CSU
service providers as helpful. Unhelpful responses from service providers included
being aloof, being judgmental, and having too many people in the room when seeking
assistance. Helpful responses included connection to resources, concrete assistance,
listening, believing the survivor, and telling her the assault was not her fault. A theme
in this study appears to be that connection to formal resources was perceived as
helpful from all types of disclosure sources. Despite reports that connection to
resources was one of the most helpful responses, only 29% (n=2) of survivors
followed through with referrals provided by CSU staff. The perception that resources
are available (whether or not the survivor contacts them) may be the helpful
component, as well as a feeling that the disclosure source is making extra strides to be
58


helpful. Literature indicates that survivors feel validated when they perceive the
disclosure source is making a significant effort to be helpful (Ahrens et al., 2009).
Limitations
This study has a number of limitations. One limitation is that all survivors in
this study identified as white, and therefore an analysis of data on the basis of
race/ethnicity was not possible. Literature indicates that there are differences in
disclosure patterns and how support sources respond to survivors based on ethnicity
(Ullman & Filipas, 2001b; Washington, 2001).
The convenience sample and the small sample size limit generalizability
beyond the study population. Statistically, the small sample size created very small
populations to compare across variables. In addition, because all survivors in this
sample sought formal services, it is possible that they are different than those
survivors who did not seek formal services.
Additionally, 10 respondents started the survey and only seven completed it.
The three respondents who did not complete the survey stopped responding after
providing demographic information and basic information about the assault. They did
not respond to questions about disclosure or reporting. These three respondents may
be different from the seven that completed the survey.
Despite these limitations, the study provided numerous beneficial findings. In
particular, the findings about patterns of referrals as well as survivors willingness to
engage services or report based on the nature of the initial disclosure is significant.
59


Implications
A significant implication of the results of this study is that more training is
needed for informal disclosure sources about how to respond effectively to sexual
assault survivors. Survivors are disclosing to friends, significant others, and family
members initially; and the response of these disclosure sources is often not helpful.
This is particularly important considering the crucial role of the initial disclosure
sources response in a survivors future likelihood to seek out services or report the
assault. In a campus environment, this means that training for students on how to
respond is crucial, since any student has the potential to be a friend or significant
other of a survivor. Students need training on accurate facts about sexual assault, how
to respond empathetically to survivors, and resources available on campus for both
the survivor and for them as a support person. Education about resources is
particularly important since survivors are much more likely to follow through on
referrals made by friends than by other referral sources. Students also need to know
that despite their own emotions and desire for the survivor to take action, it is
essential to let survivors make their own decisions about accessing formal services
and making formal reports. It may also be helpful for parent and family programs to
include information on how to respond in orientation packets, or for these materials to
be readily available online.
In general, results from this study indicate that CSU service providers are
doing a good job in responding to sexual assault survivors. When asked how CSU
60


disclosure sources could have responded more effectively, most survivors indicated
there was nothing they wish the disclosure source had done that they did not do.
Based on the responses survivors indicated were least helpful from service providers,
CSU staff can benefit from an awareness of rapport building strategies to minimize
the appearance of aloofness or being judgmental. Literature indicates that assistance
from service providers is perceived as more helpful when it is delivered with
compassion and empathy (Ahrens et al., 2009). In addition, it is important to limit the
number of individuals in the room when survivors are seeking services to only those
essential to the interaction.
This study also has implications for the police response in Fort Collins. Of the
57% (n=4) of survivors in this study who reported to police, all reported some sort of
negative response from the officers. Survivors used words such as horrible and
disappointing to describe their interactions with police. They felt blamed,
minimized, and disrespected. Several also mentioned the additional trauma of
participating in a pretext phone call. It is important to note that survivors felt that
connection to advocates through the police reporting process was a helpful response
from police. Additional training for Fort Collins police officers on how to effectively
respond to sexual assault survivors is clearly warranted.
Conclusion
The results of this study clearly show a relationship between the nature of the
initial disclosure and survivors decisions about seeking formal services or making
61


formal reports. The study also examines patterns in helpful and unhelpful responses
from informal and formal disclosure sources. These results provide vital direction for
CSU and Fort Collins police on improving response to sexual assault survivors and
training community members to be more effective support sources.
62


CHAPTER 7
CONCLUSION
Sexual violence in the United States has become an epidemic, and is
especially problematic on college campuses. The impact of sexual assault on a
survivor can be life-changing, and the nature of their disclosures is significant in
determining how their healing path will be shaped. Survivors who receive positive
responses from disclosure sources are more likely to experience positive physical and
mental health outcomes and are more likely to seek out formal services and make
formal reports (Ahrens et al., 2009; Campbell et al., 2001; Guerette & Caron, 2007).
Negative responses can be experienced as even more traumatic than the assault itself
(Ahrens et al., 2009; Guerette & Caron, 2007).
This study examined the relationship between the nature of survivors initial
disclosures and their decisions about making formal reports or accessing formal
services. The research also explored positive and negative responses from formal and
informal disclosure sources. The results indicated that the nature of the initial
disclosure, and in particular the identity of the disclosure source and their response to
the survivor, does have a strong impact on the survivors decision to engage formal
services or make a formal report. Survivors are more likely to perceive their friends
responses as positive and are more likely to follow through on their referrals. In
63


addition, survivors who receive helpful responses from initial disclosure sources are
more likely to make a formal report.
Several themes emerged when examining positive and negative responses
from disclosure sources. Helpful responses from informal and formal sources
included believing the survivor, providing emotional support, helping decide on next
steps, and referring to helpful resources. Additionally, concrete assistance with
specific concerns was characterized as helpful from formal disclosure sources.
Unhelpful responses included minimizing, blaming, having to manage the disclosure
sources strong emotions, and insensitivity or judgment on the part of the disclosure
source. In particular, responses from informal disclosure sources and responses from
formal reporting sources were perceived to be the least helpful to survivors.
These results have significant implications for training of students, service
providers and formal reporting sources on how to respond more effectively to
disclosures of sexual assault. Since most survivors disclose to informal sources
initially, and since these reactions have such a strong relationship to more positive
healing outcomes and to seeking out services or reporting, the training of the general
student population is particularly important. In addition, training for formal reporting
sources and particularly for police officers on how to respond more effectively is
warranted.
64


Directions for Future Research
This study provides multiple directions for future research. Due to the
limitations of this study including sample size and convenience sample, further
research is necessary that can be generalized beyond the study population. In
particular, it is important to explore the high reporting rate found in this study
population to see if it this is a trend in the larger CSU community or in other
populations of college students nationwide. This study explored survivors
experiences with reporting, but did not ask for reasons for reporting. This factor may
also provide some insight into rates of reporting. It would also be valuable to further
explore the correlation between the reaction of the initial disclosure source and
reporting to police.
It would also be valuable to explore more survivors experiences with
reporting to campus authorities. Even though 43% (n=3) of respondents reported to
Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services and 14% (n=l) reported to the
Office of Equal Opportunity, only one survivor discussed these reporting experiences
in the qualitative data. Since research indicates there may be higher rates of reporting
to campus authorities and survivors experience reporting to judicial affairs as
different from reporting to police, the distinctions between these experiences may be
important to explore (Crosset et al., 1995).
Survivors in this study disclosed about their experiences rapidly compared to
those in the literature, and were also not likely to follow through on referrals to
65


counselors. However, the relationship between these two factors is outside of the
scope of this study. It may be valuable to explore whether survivors are less likely to
follow through on referrals to counselors when they receive the referral soon after the
assault.
Further exploration is also necessary on the basis of social identity, and in
particular race/ethnicity. Because all of the survivors in this study identified as white,
it was impossible to analyze the results for differences based on race/ethnicity. Since
the literature indicates that there are differences based on choices about disclosure
and reactions from disclosure sources based on race/ethnicity, this is an important
distinction to explore (Ullman & Filipas, 2001 b; Washington, 2001).
An additional area for further research is to explore the experience of
disclosure from the perspective of the disclosure source. Little research has been done
to look at the disclosure experience from the support persons perspective, which
could provide important information about the reasons why support providers respond
in the way they do and how the disclosure impacts them. This may yield more
information about why the majority of survivors do not experience their initial
disclosure as helpful.
A final area for further research is further exploration into the visual
representations of disclosure networks. The use of this technique was limited in this
study due to the single-layered nature of the questioning; the survey only asked about
referrals from the initial disclosure source and the CSU staff/faculty member. The
66


connection between these two sources was not always clear, nor did this study allow
for complete mapping of referral patterns. The replication of this tool in future studies
will lend valuable information about patterns of referrals and survivors follow
through on these referrals.
Final Thoughts
This study provided valuable information about the nature of survivors
disclosures, their engagement of formal services and reporting avenues, and ways to
respond most effectively to disclosures of sexual assault. It also has implications for
the training of CSU students, staff/faculty, and Fort Collins police officers. It is
essential to train all community members to respond to survivors disclosures in
caring, compassionate ways in order to enhance their healing processes. In this way,
CSU can create a community where survivors are valued, heard, believed, and
supported through the life-changing aftermath of sexual assault.
67


APPENDIX A
EMAIL INVITATION
Dear***,
I am conducting a research project to learn more about sexual assault survivors' experiences
with talking about the violence with others and accessing services on and off campus. You
may know me as the Assistant Director of the Office of Women's Programs and Studies at
CSU, but I am conducting this research project for my master's thesis at the University of
Colorado at Denver. The goal of this project is to better understand when survivors choose
to talk about their experiences and who they reach out to for support. This information will
help people become better informed about how to sensitively and effectively respond when
survivors share their experiences.
I am contacting you because you have previously received services from the Office of
Women's Programs and Studies and have said it is OK to receive emails from us. I am hoping
that you would be willing to spend about 20 minutes filling out an online survey about your
experiences. The questions will be about who you told about your experiences and if those
people's responses were helpful or not. The survey will also ask about services you received.
Know that your participation in this project is completely voluntary and will not impact your
services from the Office of Women's Programs and Studies in any way. Your response to the
survey will be anonymous, and it will not be possible to know whether or not you choose to
participate. If talking about the experiences for which you sought services at the Office of
Women's Programs and Studies is too emotional for you right now, you should not
participate in this survey.
If you are willing to participate in this survey, please be sure you are in a safe and
comfortable location and then click on this link:
If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them before you make a decision. I
appreciate your time and willingness to share your experiences.
Thanks so much, Kathryn Woods
68


APPENDIX B
INFORMED CONSENT
Date: 11/10/09
Valid for Use Through: 1/7/2011
Study Title:
Sexual Assault Survivors Experiences with Engaging
Services on a College Campus
Kathryn Woods
09-1114
1/5/10
3
Principal Investigator:
HSRC No:
Version Date:
Version No:
Title of Study:
Sexual Assault Survivors' Experiences with Engaging Services on a College Campus
Why is this study being done?
This research project is designed to learn more about sexual assault survivors'
experiences with talking about the assault with others and accessing services on and off
campus. The goal of this project is to better understand when survivors choose to talk
about their experiences and who they reach out to for support. This information will help
improve campus services and training for members of the campus community on
supporting survivors. Approximately 75 people will participate in this study.
Why am I being invited to take part in this research?
You have been selected to participate in this study because you have previously received
services from the Office of Women's Programs and Studies and you indicated you were
willing to receive further contact from us.
What happens if I join this study?
If you agree to participate, you will complete an online survey that will take about 20
minutes. Your participation in this project is completely voluntary and will not impact
your services from the Office of Women's Programs and Studies in any way. The
questions will be about when and with whom you shared your experiences, your reasons
for sharing and the services you received on and off campus. You may stop the survey at
any time by closing your browser window. If you decide to participate in the study, you
69


don't have to answer any questions that make you feel uncomfortable. Just skip the
question and go on to the next question.
What are the possible discomforts or risks?
Answering questions about experiences of sexual assault can be difficult. A risk to your
participation may be experiencing discomfort or emotional distress as a result of the
questions in the survey. If you feel upset while completing the survey questions, feel free
to take a break at any point. You may also choose to stop the survey at any point by
closing your browser window. If you need to talk with someone right away, you can use
one of these 24-hour hotline resources:
RAINN 24-Hour Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
RAINN 24-Hour Online Hotline www.rainn.org (live chat with a trained volunteer)
It is not possible to identify all potential risks in research procedures, but the
researcher(s) have taken reasonable safeguards to minimize any known and potential,
but unknown, risks.
What are the possible benefits of the study?
While you may not experience any direct benefits from the study, the information and
experiences you share will help people become better informed about how to sensitively
and effectively respond when survivors share their experiences.
Is mv participation voluntary?
Taking part in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to take part in this
study. If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time. If you refuse or
decide to withdraw later, you will not lose any benefits or rights to which you are
entitled.
Who will see mv research information?
This study is anonymous. That means that no one, not even members of the research
team, will know that the information you give comes from you. The data collected for
this study may be reviewed by:
Federal agencies that monitor human subjects research
People at the Human Subjects Research Committee (HSRC) at the University of
Colorado Denver or the Institutional Review Board at Colorado State University.
The research study team
70


We might talk about this research study at meetings. We might also print the results of
this research study in relevant journals. We will always keep the names of research
subjects like you private.
Who do I call if I have questions?
This research is being conducted as a thesis project for the Master of Public
Administration program at the University of Colorado at Denver and is supported by
Colorado State University. If you have questions or concerns, you may contact:
The researcher, Kathryn Woods, at kathryn.woods@colostate.edu or 970-491-
6384.
The supervising professor at UC Denver, Angela Gover, at
angela.gover@ucdenver.edu or 303-315-2474.
The Director of the Office of Womens Programs and Studies, Chris Linder at
chris.linder@colostate.edu or 970-491-6384.
If you have any questions about your rights as a volunteer in this research, contact JanetI
Barker, Human Research Administrator, Colorado State University at 970-491-1655 or the
Human Subject Research Committee at University of Colorado at Denver at 303-315-
2732.
Resources for Support (print these resources or email them to yourself)
CSU Campus:
Office of Women's Programs and Studies 970-491-6384
www.wps.colostate.edu
24-Hour Sexual Assault Victim Assistance Team 970-491-7111
CSU Health Network Counseling Services 970-491-6053
www.counseling.colostate.edu
Fort Collins Community:
Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center (24 hours) 970-472-4200
www.savacenter.org
National Resources:
National Sexual Assault Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Online Sexual Assault Hotline (24 hours) www.rainn.org
Contact a trained advocate online through live chat
71


Consent
I agree that I have read the informed consent form for this project. I understand that my
answers to the questions will be anonymous and that I may withdraw from the project at
any time. I also understand that I don't have to answer any questions that I find
uncomfortable.
By clicking on "Next" below, you are giving your consent to participate in the survey.
"This consent form was approved by the CSU Institutional Review Board for the protection of
human subjects in research on 1/5/10.
72


APPENDIX C
SURVEY
Please respond to the following questions. If you choose to skip a question,
just move on to the next one. You may exit the survey at any time by closing
your browser.
Demographics
1. Race:
Asian American/Pacific Islander, Black/African American, Latino/a,
Multi/Biracial, Native American, White, Other
2. Gender:
Man, Transgender/Gender Queer, Woman, Other
3. Sexual Orientation:
Gay, Heterosexual, Lesbian, Queer, Other
4. Age:
18, 19, 20, 21,22, 23, Other
5. Year in School (by credits):
First Year, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate Student
Information about the sexual assault you experienced
6. How long ago did the sexual assault occur?
Within the past month, 1 6 months, 7-12 months, 1 3 years, 4-6 years, More
than 6 years
7. Did the assault occur on or off campus? On, Off
8. What year in school (by credits) were you at the time the assault occurred?
73


First Year, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate Student
9. What was your relationship to the perpetrator at the time of the assault?
Spouse/Life Partner, Dating Relationship, Formerly Partnered/Dating, Friend,
Acquaintance, Stranger, Parent/Guardian, Sibling, Other family member, Other
At the time of the assault, was the perpetrator a:
10. CSU student? Yes, No, I dont know
11. CSU employee? Yes, No, I dont know
Information About Who You Told
12. Who was the first person you told about your experience? (Choose one)
Friend, Roommate, Significant Other, Parent/Guardian, Sibling, Other Family
Member, Resident Assistant (RA), Counselor/Therapist, Police Officer, Victim
Advocate, Teacher/Professor, Medical Professional, Other Professional, Other
(Who?______________)
13. How long after the assault did you tell that person?
0-72 hours, 73 hours-1 week, 1 week- 1 month, l-3months, 3 months-1 year, 1-3
years, 3-5 years, more than 5 years
14. What made you choose to share with this person?
15. What were you hoping for when you chose to share with this person?
16. Overall, was this persons reaction: Helpful, Not helpful, Neither helpful nor
unhelpful, Not sure
17. What was the most helpful thing they did?
18. What was the least helpful thing they did?
19. Is there anything you wish they had said or done that they did not?
74


20. How did this persons response impact your decision to seek out services?
Services means going to talk to a professional like a counselor or victim
advocate.
21. How did this persons response impact your decision to make a formal report?
Make a formal report means reporting to the police, to Conflict Resolution
and Student Conduct Services at CSU or to the Office of Equal Opportunity
and Diversity at CSU.
22. Did they suggest that you tell or contact anyone else? (Check all that apply)
Friend, Roommate, Significant Other, Parent/Guardian, Sibling, Other Family
Member, Resident Assistant (RA), Counselor/Therapist, Police Officer, Victim
Advocate, Teacher/Professor, Medical Professional, Other Professional, Other
(Who?_____________)
23. Did you contact any of these people because of their suggestion? Yes, No
24. If Yes, Who? (Check all that apply)
Friend, Roommate, Significant Other, Parent/Guardian, Sibling, Other Family
Member, Resident Assistant (RA), Counselor/Therapist, Police Officer, Victim
Advocate, Teacher/Professor, Medical Professional, Other Professional, Other
(Who?_____________)
If the first person you told about your experience was a CSU staff or faculty
member, click here to skip to question 38.
25. Who was the first CSU staff or faculty member you told about the assault?
Resident Assistant (RA) or other Residence Life staff, Counselor/Therapist at CSU
Health Network, CSU Police Officer, Victim Assistance Team/Office of Womens
Programs and Studies, Teacher/Professor, Medical Professional at Hartshorn
Health Services, Academic Advisor, Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct
Services, Other (Who?_____________)
26. How long after the assault did you tell that person?
0-72 hours, 73 hours-1 week, 1 week- 1 month, l-3months, 3 months-1 year, 1-3
years, 3-5 years, more than 5 years
75


27. What made you choose to share with this person?
28. What were you hoping for when you chose to share with this person?
29. Overall, was this persons reaction: Helpful, Not helpful, Neither helpful nor
unhelpful, Not sure
30. What was the most helpful thing they did?
31. What was the least helpful thing they did?
32. Is there anything you wish they had said or done that they did not?
33. How did this persons response impact your decision to seek out services?
Services means going to talk to a professional like a counselor or victim
advocate.
34. How did this persons response impact your decision to make a formal report?
Make a formal report means reporting to the police, to Conflict Resolution
and Student Conduct Services at CSU or to the Office of Equal Opportunity
and Diversity at CSU.
35. Did they suggest that you tell or contact anyone else? (Check all that apply)
Friend, Roommate, Significant Other, Parent/Guardian, Sibling, Other Family
Member, Resident Assistant (RA), Counselor/Therapist, Police Officer, Victim
Advocate, Teacher/Professor, Medical Professional, Other Professional, Other
(Who?_____________)
36. Did you contact any of these people because of their suggestion? Yes, No
37. If Yes, Who? (Check all that apply)
Friend, Roommate, Significant Other, Parent/Guardian, Sibling, Other Family
Member, Resident Assistant (RA), Counselor/Therapist, Police Officer, Victim
Advocate, Teacher/Professor, Medical Professional, Other Professional, Other
(Who?_____________)
76


38. Did you choose to report the assault to any of the following places?
The police? Yes, No
If Yes, Which police Department?
CSU Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services? Yes, No, Doesnt
apply because the perpetrator was not a CSU student
CSU Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity? Yes, No, Doesnt apply
because the perpetrator was not a CSU employee
39. Are you satisfied with your decision about whether or not to report? Yes, no,
Im not sure
40. Why or why not?
41. If you reported, what was most helpful about the process? (if you did not report
leave blank)
42. What was least helpful about the reporting process? (if you did not report leave
blank)
43. Are there things that you wish had happened in the reporting process that
didnt happen? (if you did not report leave blank)
44. What was the outcome of your case in the reporting process?
Did not report, Perpetrator found guilty/responsible, perpetrator found not
guilty/not responsible, still pending, other
If other, please explain
45. Have you received services related to the assault from any of these places on
campus at CSU? (Check all that Apply)
CSU Health Network Medical Services, CSU Health Network Counseling
Services, Office of Womens Programs and Studies/Victim Assistance Team,
Residence Life Staff, Student Case Manager, Center for Advising and Student
Achievement, Student Legal Services
77


46. What things were most helpful about the services you received?
47. What things were least helpful about the services you received?
48. Are there things you wish the service providers had done that they didnt do?
49. Of all the people you told, what was the most helpful thing anyone said or did?
50. Of all the people you told, what was the least helpful thing anyone said or did?
Thank you very much for taking the time to complete this survey. Your experiences
are extremely valuable and will help us improve services for survivors on campus.
Answering questions about difficult personal experiences can bring up disturbing
emotions. If you are feeling upset and would like to talk with someone, please contact
the RAINN 24 hour telephone hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE or RAINN 24 hour online
hotline (live chat) at www.rainn.org.
78


APPENDIX D
VISUAL REPRESENTATIONS OF DISCLOSURE NETWORKS
Respondent #1 Did not respond to disclosure network questions
Initiated Contact
Did Not Initiate Contact
Respondent #3
FIGURE D.2
First
Disclosure
Parent/ Referred to r \ Counselor/
Guardian Therapist
79


FIGURE D.3
Respondent ft4
Initiated Contact
FIGURE D.4
80


FIGURE D.5
Independently
Contacted
Victim Referred to f s Counselor/
Advocate Therapist
\________________7
FIGURE D.6
Respondent #7
First
= Initiated Contact
= Did Not Initiate Contact
81


REFERENCES
Ahrens, C.E., Cabral, G., & Abeling, S. (2009). Healing or hurtful: Sexual assault
survivors interpretations of social reactions from support providers.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33, 81-94.
Ahrens, C.E., Campbell, R., Temier-Thames, N.K., Wasco, S.M., & Sefl, T. (2007).
Deciding whom to tell: Expectations and outcomes of rape survivors first
disclosures. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31, 38-49.
Armstrong, E.A., Hamilton, L., & Sweeney, B. (2006). Sexual assault on campus: A
multilevel, integrative approach to party rape. Social Problems, 53(4), 483-
499.
Bryant-Davis, T., Chung, H., & Tillman, S. (2009). From the margins to the center:
Ethnic minority women and the mental health effects of sexual assault.
Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 10(4), 330-357.
Campbell, R., Ahrens, C.E., Sefl, T., Wasco, S.M., & Barnes, H.E. (2001). Social
reactions to sexual assault victims: Healing and hurtful effects on
psychological and physical health outcomes. Violence and Victims, 16, 287-
302.
Carmody, D., Ekhomu, J., & Payne, B.K. (2009). Needs of sexual assault advocates
in campus based sexual assault centers. College Student Journal, 43(2), 507-
513.
82


Carr, J.L. (2005). Campus violence white paper. Journal of American College Health,
55(5), 304-319.
Crosset, T.W., Benedict, J.R., & McDonald, M.A. (1995). Male student-athletes
reported for sexual assault: A survey of campus police departments and
judicial affairs offices. Journal of Social & Sport Issues, 19(2), 126-140.
Fisher, B.S., Daigle, L.E., Cullen, F.T., & Turner, M.G. (2003). Reporting sexual
victimization to the police and others: Results from a national-level study of
college women. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30(6), 6-38.
Gover, A.R., Kaukinen, C., & Fox, K.A. (2008). The relationship between violence in
the family of origin and dating violence among college students. Journal of
Interpersonal Violence, 23(12), 1667-1693.
Guerette, S.M. & Caron, S.L. (2007). Assessing the impact of acquaintance rape:
Interviews with women who are victims/survivors of sexual assault while in
college. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 22(2), 31-50.
Institutional Research. (2008). Facts at a glance 2008-2009. Fort Collins, CO:
Colorado State University.
Karjane, K.M., Fisher, B.S., & Cullen, F.T. (2002). Sexual assault on campus: How
Americas Institutions of Higher Education Respond. (NCJRS Publication No.
196676). Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.
83


Koss, M.P., Gidycz, C.A. ,& Wisniewski, N. (1987). The scope of rape: Incidence
and prevalence of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of
higher education students. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology,
55,64-170.
Krebs, C.P., Lindquist, C.H., Warner, T.D., Fisher, B.S., & Martin, S.L. (2007). The
campus sexual assault (CSA) study. Washington, DC: US Department of
Justice.
Lowery, J.W., Sokolow, B.A., & Tuttle, D.F. (2002). Complying with the Clery Act:
The advanced course. Campus Law Enforcement Journal, 52(1), 32-35.
McMahon, P.P. (2008). Sexual violence on the college campus: A template for
compliance with federal policy. Journal of American College Health, 57(3),
361-365.
McMahon, P.M., Goodwin, M.M., & Stringer, G. (2000). Sexual violence and
reproductive health. Maternal and Child Health, 4(2), 121-124.
Nasta, A., Brijen, S., Brahmanandam, S., Richman, K., Wittels, K., Allsworth, J., &
Boardman, L. (2005). Sexual victimization: Incidence, knowledge and
resource use among a population of college women. Journal of Adolescent
Gynecology, 18, 91-96.
Payne, B.K. (2008). Challenges responding to sexual violence: Differences between
college campuses and communities. Journal of Criminal Justice, 36, 224-230.
84


Sloan, J.J., Fisher, B.S., & Cullen, F.T. (1997). Assessing the Student Right-to-Know
and Campus Security Act of 1990: An analysis of the victim reporting
practices of college and university students. Crime and Delinquency, 43(2),
148-168.
Starzynski, L.L., Ullman, S.E., Townsend, S.M., Long, L.M., & Long, S.M. (2007).
What factors predict womens disclosure of sexual assault to mental health
professionals 2 Journal of Community Psychology, 35(5), 619-638.
Thompson, M., Sitterle, D., Clay, G., & Kingree, J. (2007). Reasons for not reporting
victimizations to the police: Do they vary for physical and sexual incidents?
Journal of American College Health, 55(5), 277-282.
Tjaden, P. & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, nature and consequences of intimate
partner violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women
Survey. (NCJRS Publication No. 181867.) Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
Ullman, S.E. (2000). Psychometric characteristics of the social reactions
questionnaire. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 257-271.
Ullman, S.E. & Filipas, H.H. (2001a). Correlates of formal and informal support
seeking in sexual assault victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 76(10),
1028-1047.
85


Ullman, S.E. & Filipas, H.H. (2001b). Predictors of PTSD symptom severity and
social reactions in sexual assault victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 14(2),
369-389.
Van Brunt, B. (2009). Best practices for mandated assessment of at-risk students.
Student Affairs Leader, 37(10), 1-4.
Waryold, D.M. (1996). Handling sexual assault and relationships with law
enforcement officials. New Directions for Student Services, 73, 79-88.
Washington, P.A. (2001). Disclosure patterns of black female sexual assault
survivors. Violence Against Women, 7(11), 1254-1283.
Woods, K. (Ed). (2009a). Sexual assault victim assistance team training manual. Fort
Collins, CO: Colorado State University Office of Womens Programs and
Studies.
Woods, K. (2009b). Victim assistance team statistics: Academic year 2008-2009. Fort
Collins, CO: Colorado State University Office of Womens Programs and
Studies.
86