Date of Award

Summer 8-9-2022

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Laura Salazar

Second Advisor

Kristie Seelman

Third Advisor

Dennis Reidy

Abstract

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations experience high rates of sexual violence victimization, particularly in comparison to heterosexual and cisgender populations. While SGM identity has been identified consistently as a predictor of risk for sexual violence victimization, the mechanisms underlying this risk relationship are unknown. Literature examining the relationship between sexual orientation, gender identity, and negative health outcomes is limited in general. Literature that takes into account the wide spectrum of identities, labels, and experiences of SGM populations over time and across geography is even further limited. The aims of this work are threefold: Aim 1: To identify and analyze the extent and ways in which SGM populations have been included in sexual violence literature through a systematic review of Public Health literature published between 2002 and 2020; Aim 2: To document and analyze first-hand narratives to contextualize the experiences of SGM populations with sexual violence using in-depth interviews with 20 SGM-identifying individuals; and Aim 3: To identify and quantify risk and protective factors that explain the elevated rates of sexual violence victimization experienced among SGM college student populations using cross-sectional survey data from a sample of n=374 SGM college students.

Primary results from each study indicate the following: 1) The amount of peer-reviewed, Public Health literature investigating sexual violence victimization among SGM populations is extremely limited in both quantity and the breadth of documented experiences, 2) Sexual orientation and gender identity play a wide range of direct and indirect roles in the ways that SGM-identifying individuals experience sexual violence, and 3) Further research is needed to improve understanding of the mechanistic role of SGM identity in sexual violence victimization.

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