Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This study sought to explore how the oppressions of race and gender intersect within the experiences of Black female survivors in the anti-rape movement, specifically in the experience of reporting rape. The experiences of twelve helping professionals, who work with Black female survivors, were collected to determine the prevalence of discrimination within the anti-rape movement and to examine how anti-oppression training could improve services for survivors of sexual violence. The first-hand experience of one survivor further enhanced an understanding of how discrimination affects the reporting experiences of rape survivors. Thirteen individual interviews were conducted with one survivor, seven helping professionals who work within the anti-rape movement, and five professionals who work at other agencies that provide services for survivors of sexual violence. The helping professionals were interviewed regarding their knowledge of the discrimination their clients had experienced while attempting to access services after experiencing rape. They were also questioned about whether they had received specific training regarding interventions with survivors with racial identities different from their own. Study findings show that, within the anti-rape movement, resistance to acknowledging discrimination is pervasive and is strongest in agencies with few women of color on staff. Findings prove a correlation between awareness of intersecting systems of oppression, the experience of anti-oppression training, and agencies that were staffed and led primarily by women of color. This study points to the necessary adoption of an anti-oppression lens, in order to more effectively work with survivors of sexual violence, especially Black female rape survivors.


iv, 94 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 80-83).