Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

John S. Westefeld

First Committee Member

Stewart Ehly

Second Committee Member

Valerie Keffala

Third Committee Member

William M Liu

Fourth Committee Member

Vilia Tarvydas


This dissertation describes a qualitative study that explored the perceived barriers to reporting military sexual assaults that servicewomen experienced following a sexual assault while on active duty. The study aimed to answer the following research questions: (1) What barriers to reporting did servicewomen who survived sexual assault in a military setting perceive?; (2) What role did betrayal (the act of going against a promise) play in their decision? Semi-structured interviews with three servicewomen who were sexually assaulted while on active duty and did not report the assaults were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four superordinate themes emerged from the data including (1) external factors, (2) internal processes, (3) interpersonal aspects, and (4) need for a cultural shift. A review of existing literature, research methodology implemented, a review of results including supporting quotes from participant narratives, and a discussion of the results will be presented in this dissertation. A minority stress model adapted for servicewomen will be explored, as well as implications for clinicians and suggestions for future research.


Betrayal Trauma, Military, Minority Stress, Sexual Assault, Sexual Trauma, Women


x, 161 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 149-161).


Copyright © 2016 Wendy Jo Rasmussen