Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Rape-Prevention, Parent and child, Rape victims-Counseling of, Assault, Rape, Prevention, Intervention, Parents, Discourse, Parent-child communication, Primary prevention, Risk reduction, Sexuality, Qualitative methods, Childhood (birth-12 years), Adolescence (13-17 years), Young adulthood (18-29 years), Social identity, Health personnel, Family work relationship


This original empirical research study explores the discourse that parents who work in sexual assault-related fields create with their own children about sexual assault. The experience and perspectives of these parents was elicited through self-developed, semi-structured interviews composed of questions that encouraged parents to reflect on their parenting practices that they relate to or could be influenced by their professional knowledge and understanding of sexual assault, as well as how they navigate their dual roles as members of this field and as parents. Major findings were that parents do create a discourse about sexual assault, composed of communication about sexual assault, the continuum of sexual violence, sexuality, gender constructs, and safety, with themes of respect, consent, and healthy relationships interwoven among all of these topics. While there was variation in emphasis and specificity in each participant's discourse and often within the discourse among an individual participant's children, the majority of participants actively communicated about all of these topics. This study was conceived of as having the potential to contribute to sexual assault prevention and early intervention efforts. Implications of this study suggest that this area represents fertile ground for sexual assault prevention and that further exploration is warranted.




iii, 173 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 154-165)