"My Story is Different"?: Centering Women of Color Student Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault
Jessica Harris

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Los Angeles

Primary Discipline

Higher Education
Despite federal and institutional efforts to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault, this form of violence remains endemic to U.S. college and university campuses. I, along with other scholars, have posited that the persistent failure to eradicate campus sexual assault is influenced by the race-evasive framework, or a frame that denies and evades the significance of race, many researchers and policy-makers apply to the issue of sexual assault on campus. Through this study, I demonstrate how focusing on the intersections of students� identities, specifically race and gender, in sexual assault research can inform more holistic and effective institutional prevention and response efforts and is a critical step toward eradicating campus sexual assault. Using qualitative inquiry, I will focus on over 60 Women of Color students who have experienced campus sexual assault while attending one of six higher education institutions located in one state in the U.S. I center survivors� stories of how their institution aimed to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault. I will also collect and analyze institutional documents and interview key faculty and staff who influence the discourse and decisions around sexual assault at each institution. Using the Multicontextual Model for Diverse Learning Environments and intersectionality, I position participants� individual experiences within institutional and sociohistorical contexts and identify oppressive systems that structure the experiences of Women of Color survivors of campus sexual assault.
About Jessica Harris
Jessica C. Harris is an assistant professor of Higher Education in the Graduate School of Education at University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Harris? research agenda focuses on racial in/equity in post-secondary contexts and is animated by three research strands: (1) Multiraciality in Postsecondary Contexts, (2) Women of Color and Campus Sexual Assault, and (3) The Mis/Use of Theory to Advance Racial Equity in Higher Education. The purpose of her research is to analyze and disrupt racism and its intersecting systems of domination, such as sexism and classism, that are embedded throughout U.S. education and that influence People of Colors? educational experiences. Her work has recently appeared in the Journal of Higher Education, the Review of Higher Education, and Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. Dr. Harris received her B.A. in Critical Theory and Social Justice from Occidental College, her M.Ed. in College Student Affairs from Pennsylvania State University, and her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Indiana University.

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