Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Distrust and disconnect: a comprehensive analysis of the sexual assault environment at the University of Pittsburgh

Babu, Christopher (2019) Distrust and disconnect: a comprehensive analysis of the sexual assault environment at the University of Pittsburgh. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (1MB) | Preview


Sexual assault is a complex issue that affects countless individuals across the United States, including college students. Though what constitutes sexual assault is difficult to define, the experience of survivors following an assault can be just as complex. Survivors may reach out to friends and family for immediate support, but they may also request therapy, medical interventions, or legal recourse. In the university setting, these institutions and agencies are uniquely designed with the intention of meeting the needs of students, but how effective are they in achieving this goal? This study focused on analyzing the experiences of survivors of sexual assault and assessing the efficacy of campus resources for survivors. A mixed methods approach was used to gather both quantitative and qualitative data for analysis. In the first phase, an online survey was administered to the general student body to assess the prevalence of sexual assault at the University of Pittsburgh, risk factors for assault, and student opinion of the efficacy of campus resources. The second phase of the study involved conducting interviews with students who were survivors of assault and administrative personnel involved in providing support. These administrators included representatives from the Title IX office, Pitt Police, and the Counseling Center.
Results of this analysis showed that 26.57% of respondents experienced sexual assault in college and 81.94% knew someone who had been assaulted. These results were analyzed in the context of masculinity, patriarchy, male privilege, and substance use to contextualize prevalence and risk factors for assault at the University of Pittsburgh. The interviews also revealed the systematic ways in which students experience structural violence and a “second assault” due to tolling investigative procedures, racial background, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Throughout this analysis, the themes of distrust and disconnect underscore the varied ways in which student needs and institutional perceptions misalign. The study concludes with recommendations for future research, areas of improvement for campus policy, and an analysis of potential legislation that could fundamentally alter the present sexual assault environment.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Babu, Christophercsb49@pitt.educsb490000-0001-6203-0481
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberAlter, Josephjsalter@pitt.edujsalter
Committee MemberSmith,
Committee MemberConstable,
Committee ChairYearwood,
Date: 29 April 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 April 2019
Approval Date: 29 April 2019
Submission Date: 18 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 135
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Structural Violence, Toxic Masculinity, Patriarchy, Race, Gender, Anthropology
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2019 15:19
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2019 15:19


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item