Sexual Violence and College Masculinities within the U.S. Higher Education System, with an Emphasis on the University of Texas at Austin

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2016

Authors

Zhang, Amy

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Abstract

Sexual violence is one of the most prevalent crimes that occurs on college campuses, even taking into consideration underreported cases due to negative stigmas around reporting. Even on large campuses like the University of Texas at Austin with ample prevention programs and resources for survivors, a culture of sexual violence has quietly perpetuated, allowing for nearly 20 percent of female undergraduates to experience penetrative assault during their time on campus, despite University statistics that say otherwise. Overall, a contributing factor to this statistic may be the perpetuation of negative, hegemonic masculinities. Accordingly, this thesis seeks to answer the following: What do we know about the cultures of masculinity that exist at UT-Austin, and in what ways do all-male organizations promote cultures of masculinity that prompt the risk of sexual assault and interpersonal violence?

Firstly, I will give an overview of the history of sexual violence at UT-Austin before analyzing 2015 statistics to get a summary of the state of sexual violence on campus, according to survivors and bystanders. Following this, I will examine masculinities as they are seen through men's social groups on campus, overall assessing West Campus culture and potential strategies for improvement. Thirdly, I will look at existing prevention and intervention programs, offering solutions for improvement. Lastly, I will use a case study of a homicide that occurred on campus to illustrate how UT-Austin responded to heightened concerns about campus safety.

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