Experiences of Sexual Violence Among Latinx College Students: Exploring Disclosure and Reporting to Law Enforcement and Other Formal Outlets



There is a limited evidence base on prevalence of sexual violence among Latinx students and rates for formal disclosure and reporting to law enforcement among survivors. This lack of information presents a major challenge to prevention and intervention efforts, particularly at institutions with significant Latinx populations, such as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). The proposed project aims to address the gap in our understanding of sexual violence rates among Latinx students and their rates of, and experiences with, disclosure and reporting to law enforcement. We will directly address these aims through a comprehensive literature review and secondary data analyses, both with an emphasis on Latinx students and those attending HSIs.


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Associated faculty

Principal Investigator: Kevin Swartout

Kevin Swartout is an Associate Professor at Georgia State University. His current research program can be broken down into three main areas: (1) social influences on individuals’ aggressive attitudes and behaviors; (2) person-centered approaches to analyze longitudinal data on violence and victimization; and (3) exploring the relation between substance use and violence.


Co-Principal Investigator: Rita Seabrook

Dr. Seabrook's research focuses on intimate partner violence. She is especially interested in masculinity and how the pressure to “be a man” (e.g., by having several sexual partners) contributes to sexual violence against women. Currently, she is working on projects related to fraternity membership and sexual violence perpetration, sexual violence among LGBTQ college students, and opioid misuse and intimate partner violence. 


Co-Principal Investigator: Eli Silva-Martinez

Elithet (Eli) Silva-Martinez is an Assistant Professor at the University of Puerto Rico. In the last fifteen years, Silva-Martinez has focused her work on understanding the multiple dimensions of violence against women, especially intimate partner violence (IPV), among women from Latin America and the Caribbean. Her experience as a social worker in direct practice with survivors of IPV in the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico has allowed her to learn of the dynamics around IPV. From 2007-2009, Silva-Martinez served as a Project Coordinator at the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, for the Office of Violence Against Women Grant to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program at the University of Iowa. Silva-Martinez has also worked extensively with immigrant communities in the United States and Puerto Rico, which has allowed me to develop knowledge and skills to work directly with vulnerable populations, especially Spanish-speaking women. Among her many skills, Silva-Martinez offers the Consortium a rich background in cultural competency and qualitative interviewing with women from Spanish-speaking backgrounds.


Consultant: Leila Wood

Leila Wood is a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Dr. Wood has three degrees (BSW, MSSW and PhD) in Social Work. Her scholarship areas are intimate and interpersonal violence in the campus context, intimate partner violence and sexual assault service evaluation, and occupational stress related to interpersonal violence work. Wood’s research focuses on survivor-centered approaches and establishing evidence for community and campus-based practices in the intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault (SA) field, including housing programs. 

Associated faculty

Primary Investigator, Laura Johnson, PhD, Rutgers University

Laura Johnson is an Assistant Research Professor at the Center on Violence Against Women and Children at the Rutgers School of Social Work. Her research interests include coordinated community responses to violence against women, with a focus on the criminal justice system, and program evaluation. Her dissertation examined the effectiveness of a financial literacy intervention on intimate partner violence survivors’ financial empowerment over time. Laura also sits on the New Jersey Child Fatality & Near Fatality Review Board Northern Regional Community-Based Team

Co-Primary Investigator Amanda Stylianou, PhD, Safe Horizon

Amanda M. Stylianou, is a social worker who focuses her career on improving services at the intersection of trauma, mental health and poverty. In her role as Associate Vice President of Quality and Program Development at Safe Horizon, the nation's leading victim services agency, she works with her team to ensure the organization is providing the most effective and efficient services to clients throughout NYC. Her current research focuses on understanding the needs of victims/survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking and on understanding and evaluating practices in the field. In addition to her work at Safe Horizon, Dr. Stylianou teaches in the MSW program at Rutgers University and offers several CEU trainings throughout New Jersey with Rutgers University's Institute for Families. Dr. Stylianou has published in a variety of journals including Social Work, the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Violence against Women, Violence and Victims, Affilia and Children and Youth Services Review.