Secondary contact-sexual violence (CSV) victims are individuals such as friends, family, and romantic partners who experience emotional distress after learning someone they care for was the direct victim of unwanted sexual contact. Prevalence estimates suggest approximately 50% of women and 30% of men will experience primary CSV victimization in their lifetime, with American Indian, Middle Eastern, and Multiracial Transgender men and others incorrectly assigned female at birth reporting increased lifetime primary CSV victimization prevalence (47-71%); therefore, most people are or will be secondary victims of CSV. Existing work on secondary victims of CSV has yet to study this experience qualitatively without narrowing the scope by demographics, victim-perpetrator relationship, or assault characteristics. This exploratory study sought to provide an initial understanding of the experience of secondary CSV victimization from the perceptions of those who embody this inherently social identity. Analysis of in-depth semi-structured interviews and evocative narrative using constructivist thematic analysis and autoethnographic methods (respectively) revealed the importance of the interaction of shared identity and experience to the process of secondary CSV victimization. Results suggest secondary CSV victimization is a nonlinear, dyadic social process comprised of (1) Perceived Receipt of Disclosure, (2) Reaction, and (3) Response, each reciprocal microprocesses that are inextricably linked to and impacted by socially constructed identity and prior experiences of both primary and secondary victims. Additionally, primary and secondary CSV victim belief that they share one or more stigmatized identities and/or experiences fosters a sense of closeness and the expectation of acceptance born from assumed mutual understanding.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Mandes, Chelsea, ""All We Know Is All We Are": The Unseen Pain And Potential of Secondary Victims of Contact-Sexual Violence" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1801.
Restricted to the UCF community until August 2028; it will then be open access.