Resilience and Resistance in the Campus Sexual Assault Literature



Many researchers have focused on documenting the consequences of campus sexual assault (CSA), but there is a dearth of research on students’ post-assault lived experiences. Specifically, there is a lack of scholarship exploring how student victim-survivors of CSA may view, understand, resist, or experience resilience as they navigate post-assault life on campus. The purpose of this paper is to explore the question, “How is resilience described and defined in the literature of CSA?” To respond to this question, I explore other related but distinct concepts that appear in the literature around resilience, including posttraumatic growth, meaning-making, and recovery. Although the focus is on CSA literature, I include scholarship broadly related to trauma, given the limited research specific to resilience and CSA. As a social work scholar and practitioner, I also introduce the significance of this topic within the social work field. Finally, I briefly introduce two theoretical perspectives that have informed and guided the conceptualization of this paper, including socio-ecological and intersectional feminist theoretical perspectives. This conceptual paper was a result of preparation for a qualitative inquiry using phenomenology that aimed to explore the phenomenon of resilience among undergraduate students who had experienced CSA. Suggestions for future work are included.

Keywords: Campus sexual assault, resilience, social work

How to Cite: Driessen, M. C. (2022) “Resilience and Resistance in the Campus Sexual Assault Literature”, Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis. 11(2). doi: