Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

James Thomas

Relational Format



Federal and state policy pertaining to sexual assault is broad in its guidelines. In some cases, it is vague. This ambiguity often leads to multifarious interpretations of policy, which can diminish the overall effectiveness. While we know a great deal about how changes in policy shape the outcomes of survivors, we know very little about the context between institutional policy and institutional outcomes: the interpretive practice of social problems within the arena of sexual assault. Therefore, this project will advance knowledge in an area that has very little existing insight. Throughout this research, I observe and document how organizations negotiate, interpret, and implement institutional policies centered on responses to sexual violence. I also consider how internal and external variables act as both barriers and enablers to policy implementation. This research design provides insight into the interactional dynamics of policy, organizations, and social actors in the field of sexual assault. I observed the behavior of employees within their work environment to better understand the overarching organizational framework. Throughout the case study, I documented procedures and analyzed institutional norms. Complementing my participant observation, I conducted four in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Findings demonstrate that this organization's framework and its going concerns directly impact policy implementation. In addition, the common themes found within the data include political and cultural environments and community resources. These emerging themes serve as both barriers and enablers to policy implementation.

Accessibility Status

Searchable text

Included in

Sociology Commons



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