Date of Award

Spring 2016

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Kimberly Dennis and Dr. Amy McClure

Committee Member

Dr. Jill Jones

Committee Member

Dr. Rachel Newcomb


Past research on rape and sexual assault on college campuses has largely overlooked how students perceive of retaliation and incidents of acquaintance rape among their peers. This mixed methods study examines retaliation and barriers to rape reporting at Rollins College. Through surveys of 170 students and one-on-one interviews with 15 others, I analyze which forms of retaliation are perceived to be the most pervasive and how those perceptions impact survivors, perpetrators, and their peers. The study also seeks to understand how tight-knit social communities shape reporting and labeling behaviors amongst students. Findings reveal that perceived threats of gossip and social exclusion targeted at victims and perpetrators, while seemingly harmless, create the largest and most threatening forms of retaliation among college students. There seems to be a double standard among what perceived forms of retaliation survivors and perpetrators may experience, with students believing perpetrators are at higher risk of experiencing violence and long-term consequences to their reputation and/or future career than survivors. Finally, students believe that the close relationship between college dating and alcohol consumption creates a dynamic which rape where alcohol is present to go unquestioned. These findings provide further evidence that students believe there is an existing skeptical and, perhaps, hostile environment on college campuses towards both survivors and perpetrators, especially when an alleged rape involves two acquaintances.

Rights Holder

Hanna Cody