“It Probably Hurt More Than It Helped”

LGBTQ Survivors of Sexual Assault and their Experience with the College Title IX Reporting Process


  • Sarah Nightingale Eastern Connecticut State University




sexual assault, LGBQ college students, institutional betrayal, institutional courage, Title IX


Sexual assault in the college context disproportionately impacts lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students. Title IX law requires that college campuses have a mechanism in place to respond to reports of sexual assault, and professional social workers are often embedded throughout this process as advocates on-campus and in the community. This study explores the experience and perceptions of LGBTQ survivors with the Title IX reporting process. A sample of 409 LGBTQ survivors of college sexual assault were recruited via social media. Results of bivariate analysis indicate that LGBTQ survivors who reported had less trust in college officials and a more negative perception of the reporting climate than those who did not. Further thematic analysis suggests that students who reported faced issues related to mandatory reporting policies and accountability in sanctioning. To improve the experience of survivors with reporting sexual assault to college officials, social workers can advocate for transparency at the institutional level and less stringent mandatory reporting policies.


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