Purdue University Graduate School
Crystal Dissertation Defense FINAL.pdf (692.57 kB)

Understanding the Attitudes Towards Reporting Sexual Violence Against Black Women

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posted on 2020-05-07, 12:30 authored by Crystal J ThornhillCrystal J Thornhill

Black women appear to be less likely than other groups to report sexual violence (Catalano et al., 2009). There are a number of factors that may potentially impact Black women’s reporting sexual violence, such as fear of shame or rejection from religious congregations or social groups, fear of police officers, and a history of violence amongst family members that may normalize sexual violence to the level of not reporting (Truman & Morgan, 2016). This study examined the connection between the strong Black women’s ideal, trust of law enforcement, and Black identity on Black women’s attitudes towards reporting sexual violence among 112 women. In this study, I also explored the impact of previous sexual violence on Black women’s attitudes towards reporting sexual violence. The responses from participants showed that whether or not someone had experienced sexual violence was a significant predictor of people’s attitudes towards reporting. The participants were significantly more likely to have negative attitudes towards reporting if they had previously experienced sexual violence. In addition, the relationship between mistrust of police and negative attitudes towards reporting sexual violence was more significant when the Black female participant had experienced sexual violence. Future studies should continue to explore the impact of experiencing sexual violence on Black women’s attitudes towards reporting.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Educational Studies

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Ayse Ciftci

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Blake Allan

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Amanda Case

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Natasha Watkins

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