School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Suzie A. Johnson


tattoos, trauma, sexual trauma, sexual assault, hegemonic masculinity, self-determination theory, male survivors, identity


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


With the advancement of the feminist movement, our society typically views the experience of sexual trauma as a female issue. The male perpetrator–female victim dyad is the most academically researched and socially recognized experience of sexual trauma. The continued focus on that dyad leaves the male experience of sexual trauma underrepresented in scholarly literature and socially misunderstood. When seeking post-trauma clinical treatment & social support, the shame and stigma associated with male rape myths may represent significant barriers. These barriers leave male survivors to exercise autonomy in finding effective means of identity reformation and coping. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the use of tattoos as mechanisms for identity restoration and coping among male survivors of sexual trauma. The study used Deci and Ryan’s Self-determination Theory (SDT) as its theoretical framework. Self-determination therory addresses motivation. Under SDT, motivation is either autonomous or controlled. This study focused on autonomous motivation. Specifically, the study explored tattoo acquisition as an autonomous act to promote self-healing among male survivors of sexual trauma.

Available for download on Friday, August 23, 2024

Included in

Counseling Commons