Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Womens Studies

Major Professor

Michelle Hughes Miller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kim Golombisky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David A. Rubin, Ph.D.


domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, African American, federal grant, resistance, mission statement, feminist, intersectionality, storytelling, neoliberalism


This thesis uses feminist critical discourse analysis to find and understand the discourses embedded in the mission statements and program documents of three domestic violence and/or rape crisis centers that primarily serve Black/African American populations in three distinct geographic locations in the United States. Existing literature addresses the discourses present in domestic violence and sexual assault service provision, but no literature addresses the discourses present in the mission statements of domestic violence and rape crisis centers, leaving a considerable gap in the literature. This project uses frameworks of feminist understandings of Foucauldian discursive patriarchal power, intersectionality and material feminism to analyze the mission statements and put them in conversation with each other. The three organizations chosen, Our House, Jenesse Center and Black Women’s Blueprint, each are 2015 award grantees of one of two federal Office of Violence Against Women’s grants to provide services to culturally specific populations. I argue the mission statements of Our House, Jenesse Center, and Black Women’s Blueprint have a discourse of resistance articulated through embedded discourses of Black feminism, neoliberalism, community and cultural competency, and storytelling. This larger discourse of resistance draws on Black/African American historical structures of resistance. Understanding Black/African American serving domestic violence and rape crisis centers as sites of resistance allows for a deeper understanding of Black/African American women’s unique expression of power and domination.