Date of Thesis

5-3-2016

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Women's and Gender Studies

First Advisor

Thelathia Nikotris Young

Second Advisor

Erica Delsandro

Abstract

Violence within the transgender community is a pervasive problem that has gained increasing attention in recent years. However, sexual assault and domestic violence are often overlooked in conversations and activism around anti-trans* violence. Furthermore, mainstream discourse around sexual assault and domestic violence consistently ignores trans* identities, and frequently creates further violence for trans* survivors. Institutional supports for survivors are often geared towards cis women, without consideration of survivors of other genders. This combined erasure has led to a dearth of research on the topic. However, there is evidence that sexual assault and domestic violence are prevalent in the trans* community, and that trans* survivors face significant barriers to support. This thesis draws on sociology, public policy, and transfeminist studies to examine sexual assault and domestic violence within the trans* community. I start with a literature review on existing studies involving trans* survivors, and consider the limitations to these studies, to frame the study with the little that is known. Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 examine interviews I conducted with sexual assault and domestic violence crisis centers in Pennsylvania and with trans* survivors of sexual assault and/or domestic violence. In Chapter 4, I analyze these findings through a transfeminist lens with four main sections: (1) Pathways to Healing, (2) Institutional, Individual, and Self Violence, (3) Masculinity, Cispatriarchy, and Violence Against Women, and (4) Boundaries and Borders. I argue that trans* survivors face barriers to services as a result of cycles of violence, and subsequently take unique pathways to healing. Finally, Chapter 5 considers how to apply what is learned in this study to institutional supports, such as legislation and crisis centers, to help achieve justice for trans* survivors.

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