Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Communication, Professional

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Amber Kinser

Committee Members

Wesley Buerkle, Stacey Williams


This research analyzes campus discourse at a university in south central Appalachia in an effort to highlight the role of communication in the prevention of sexual assault and its powerful effects on communities and individuals. Using a critical feminist lens, this qualitative case study identifies the communication goals, interpretations, and strategies of two important speech communities who participate in sexual assault discourse on college campuses—campus professionals who communicate about the issue of sexual assault (issue managers) and sexual assault survivors whose identity is shaped by sexual assault (identity managers). While both groups talk about the problem, the parties diverge on the core function of sexual assault communication. Findings from these speech communities suggest the need for targeted efforts to decimate rape myths on university campuses, as well as the necessity to create safe spaces for survivors to report and talk about sexual assault and form solidarity with other survivors.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.