Document Type

Honors Project


I would like to thank my advisor, Joan Ostrove, for her immense support and mentorship during this project. It would not have been possible without her. I would also like to thank Myrl Beam for his continuous insight and knowledge especially in the writing portion of my project. I would also like to thank the other member of my honors committee, Jen Jacobsen, for her excitement and engagement in my project.


Institutional Betrayal reflects the failures of an institution to accurately prevent or respond to students after sexual violence has occurred. Previous literature shows that survivors of sexual assault are at an increased risk of PTSD and anxiety. The goal of this study was to understand what supportive services Macalester survivors want/need and to analyze if students feel supported by their institution. Grounded in analyses of the domestic violence movement, hookup and rape culture, the neuroscience of trauma, the history of Title IX, and commonly used survivor support services, the goal of this study was to understand what survivors of sexual assault at Macalester want from the institution. This study is based on an analysis of data provided by 79 undergraduate college students (41.7% of whom reported having experienced sexual violence), who reported their opinions anonymously about Macalester’s role in supporting survivors of sexual assault and feelings of institutional betrayal. Students who identify with a marginalized identity expressed high levels of institutional betrayal; especially those who identity as 1) Lesbian, 2) Black, Asian, or LatinX, and/or 3) having a disability. Findings highlight that Macalester should invest in more supportive services for survivors that are not directly linked to Title IX. Findings result in a call of action to the college to implement policy changes consisting of, but not limited to: using the Hamre Center’s $300,000 grant to fund transformative and restorative justice initiatives and student health services, cultivating campus-wide cultural change surrounding sexual violence, and focusing on transitioning into anti-carceral activism in the years to come.



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