Understanding College Sexual Assault in the 'Me Too.' Era: A Phenomenological Inquiry

Jennifer Emily Stewart, Fordham University


This study sought to understand the experience of college survivors of sexual assault during the ‘me too.’ movement through the use of phenomenological qualitative interviews. Sixteen women between the ages of 18 and 21 were interviewed using a constructivist approach with a critical-ideological framework. Participants’ experiences were organized along the following major themes: (a) drawn to advocacy work and directly supporting survivors, (b) feelings of resilience and empowerment post assault, (c)‘me too.’ encourages reporting because of community, (d) ‘me too.’ brings awareness and conversations about sexual assault, (e) ‘me too.’ increases empathy for other survivors, (f) ‘me too.’ decreases stigma and helps name assault, (g) ‘me too.’ makes participants feel part of something bigger, and (h) trauma-related symptoms as a result of assault. Implications of these findings for practice, including recommendations for how mental health providers can better support sexual assault survivors, and future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Stewart, Jennifer Emily, "Understanding College Sexual Assault in the 'Me Too.' Era: A Phenomenological Inquiry" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28315645.