Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

Kelly Weathers

Second Advisor

Anne Marie Forrest

Third Advisor

Patti Borrello


From a very young age my mother always told me to yell, “Fire,” if I was ever in a situation where I needed help from a potential attacker, but I never understood why I couldn’t just yell, “Help.” Her reasoning was that many people will run towards a fire to help put it out or save potential victims, but when someone yells for help others will shy away because they don’t want to get involved. I would just nod and promise to yell fire not really understanding the underlying meaning she had just explained to me.

It wasn’t until I was nineteen years old that I would truly understand the rape culture in this country when I stopped at a gas station at one in the morning and was approached by a man. He started off with the usual compliment of how beautiful I was, but quickly tried to coax me into his car so we could go see a “movie” together. I told him to go away, to back off, to leave me alone. I told him, “No,” and yet he wouldn’t get into his car and go on his way, not without trying to grab my hand to get me to go with him. I put away my pump and got into my car to lock the doors and make for my getaway, but the part that bothers me to this day? There was another guy pumping gas opposite of me that could see and hear every little part of the altercation and not once stepped in to help or veer the conversation elsewhere.

We don’t talk about rape or sexual assault because we are made to feel like it is all our fault and we are made to feel embarrassed by it. We are told we shouldn’t have had so much to drink or that because of what we were wearing we were asking for it. Yet, no one ever stops to ask why the attacker thought it was okay to do what they did. Why they thought a blacked-out girl could possibly agree to have sex when she can’t even open her eyes; how they thought the outfit I was wearing was an invitation into my vagina. We need to stop victim blaming and start blaming the only thing that is responsible for sexual assault: the rapist. I interviewed a few ladies and transformed their stories into images to expose the rape culture we endure day to day.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

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