Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Liberal Arts


English & World Languages


College of Arts & Humanities

Committee Chair

Dr. Sean Huss

Program Director

Dr. Deborah Wilson


Sexual assault on college campuses has recently grown into a national conversation. There has been a push for universities to examine sexual assault on their campuses, but much of this research has focused on major universities in metropolitan areas. This project extends current research by analyzing the sexual assault experiences and attitudes of students at a mid-sized rural public university. A new survey instrument based on validated campus climate surveys was completed by 522 students at this university. This study evaluates the rape-supportive attitudes of participants and how those attitudes might be impacted by various factors, specifically if sex, being a victim, knowing a victim, being unsure about victimization, and going through sexual assault training influenced the rape myth acceptance (RMA) of students. While most results were not generalizable, males and earlier-year students were significantly more likely to agree with rape myth statements than their counterparts. Victims and those who knew victims had lower RMA means than their peers, and “unsure” participants had higher means than their counterparts. Contrary to expectations, sexual assault training lowered RMA only slightly in one circumstance, and in other tests corresponded with higher RMA. Implications of the results and recommendations to the university are discussed.