This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Your Experience on Your Terms: A survivor-based analysis of the impact caused by the miscommunication surrounding sexual violence on college campuses




Vedovelli, Lea

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication and Journalism


This thesis explores the perspectives of female survivors of campus sexual violence as they shed light on their disclosure and support seeking processes. Through the lens of communication privacy management (CPM) and social support theory, it is possible to understand the flaws in communication between the survivor and source of support as perceived by the survivor. An anonymous survey was conducted to gather primarily quantitative data as well as supplemental qualitative data regarding survivors’ disclosure and support seeking processes, and the data was utilized to identify frequencies and relationships between the communicative efforts of formal sources of support and those of informal sources of support. The main findings indicate that formal sources of support co-manage disclosure of sexual violence and provide support at a lower level of satisfaction than informal sources of support, though there is room for improvement for both forms of support. The findings support a variety of suggestions for future research, theoretical contributions, and practical contributions such as the recommendation for communications-based training that can improve support efforts of both formal and informal sources of support, thus improving survivors’ recovery experiences.