Date of Thesis



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.


transgender, gender, sexual assault, domestic violence

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts


Women's and Gender Studies

First Advisor

Thelathia Nikotris Young

Second Advisor

Erica Delsandro