Publication Date


Faculty Advisor

Jeff Kerssen-Griep


Communication Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


The epidemic of sexual violence is a far too common occurrence within the United States. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010), an estimated one in five women and one in 71 men are raped in their lifetime. This problem is perpetuated by a variety of factors, including lack of reporting. According to the Department of Justice (2003), rape is the most under-reported crime, with an estimated 63% of sexual assaults not being reported to police. Even when reports do occur, many survivors have negative experience in their reporting encounters, due in part to the responses of those to whom they choose to disclose. This in turn creates a complicated series of obstacles for survivors of this particular form of trauma and often lengthens their road to recovery. Informed by scholarship in communication and related fields, this project communicatively examines the impact of those responses to sexual violence disclosures. It further proposes theory-supported means to improve responders’ trauma-informed responses to abuse survivors’ disclosures. Standpoint, facework, communication privacy management, and muted group theories are consulted to help shape improved interpersonal interactions between support providers and survivors.


Information theory in psychology; Sexual abuse victims; Sex crimes; Communication and sex

Publication Information

CST 431: Intercultural Communication & Identity

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

Document Type

Student Project