Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Ismael Muvingi

Second Advisor

Mary Hope Schwoebel

Third Advisor

Robin Cooper


black college women, black women, conflict resolution practice/ transformation, non-disclosure, sexual assault, sustain dialogue


This study focused on Black women, who were sexually assaulted in college, and the dilemmas they faced with disclosure between 1989 to 1999. The purpose of this study was to conduct an interpretative phenomenological analysis on the experiences of how Black women, who were sexually assaulted as college undergraduates, understood reasons for their non-disclosure while in college. Interviewing eight research participants, the researcher sought to identify, through one’s lived experience, the factors that created disclosure dilemmas for Black women who were sexually assaulted as college undergraduates. Through this effort, the researcher identified several intrinsic and extrinsic reasons and the leading cause for the participants’ non-disclosure. The emergent theme, Structural Factors, with its subordinate themes, were discovered as the lead causes of the participants’ non-disclosure for this study. With this information, the researcher recommended a conflict resolution practice focused on transforming environments where embedded, and protracted problems exist. The conflict resolution practice identified was Saunders’ sustained dialogue. It was the intent of the researcher that with the identification of the causes of non-disclosure, coupled with the understanding of sustained dialogue that there is not only an increase of the reader’s awareness of the unique dilemmas faced by Black women when contemplating disclosure, but a tool is available that could facilitate increased comfort for victims of sexual assault to discuss their experiences in a more socially receptive environment.