Date of Award

Fall 8-29-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Sarah L. Cook, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Layli Maparyan, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Erin Tone, Ph.D.


Sexual minority women have been repeatedly overlooked in violence against women research. As a result, we know little about the experiences and needs of non-heterosexual or gender non-conforming survivors. Given the paucity of information available on this topic, this study was exploratory in nature and used a phenomenological approach. Open-ended, unstructured interviews focused on the lived experience of surviving sexual violence and the impact that this experience has had on the survivors’ same-sex sexuality.

While a number of reoccurring themes generated from this project are well represented within the broad and well-developed canon of sexual violence research, participants also introduced features unique to LBQ and same-sex attracted women. Results from this project are intended to begin a long overdue dialogue about the needs of this understudied community of survivors.