Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Lauren Henley


Understanding the existence of sexual violence requires an investigation of the actions and contexts that either permit or prevent this form of violence. There exists a desire to draw a strict line between adolescence and adulthood, especially in relationship to sexual engagement, and in particular its implications for sexual violence. Utilizing Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Human Development and the concept of sexual citizenship—one’s right to sexual self-determination as well as the equivalent right of others—this thesis evaluates the perpetuation of sexual violence within the contexts of two crisis points. First, the moral panic during the Progressive Era surrounding female sexuality, specifically the reform of age of consent laws. Second, the present day ‘rape crisis’ on college campuses in the United States surrounding the prevalence of sexual violence in these spaces, in particular the implementation of Title IX as a violence prevention measure. This thesis argues that at both of these crisis points, the violence prevention measures enacted increased policing and restriction on sex and sexuality, perpetuating rape culture through a neglect of other’s sexual citizenship and a lack of care as a social value; it then turns consider alternative approaches to addressing sexual violence that instead center care.