First Advisor

Marie Lo

Date of Award

Summer 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors






cultic studies, abolitionist feminism, linguistics, coercion, cults




Coercive abuse at its most extreme manifests in cultic groups. These groups abuse their members using the same tactics that a domestic abuser or totalitarian government would to make their victims completely dependent on and subservient to them. Cultic studies investigate these tactics to define cults, coercive control, thought reform, indoctrination, and group psychological abuse behaviors. This fairly recent area of study has significant overlap with abolition feminist studies, which compare interpersonal and systemic abuse to liberate oppressed Americans, such as Black and Indigenous people, queer and disabled people, and women. This thesis combines cultic studies and abolition feminist studies to discuss the importance of relationship literacy and coercive abuse education to create sustainable American communities. Reviewing abolition feminist and cultic studies' literature illustrates the importance of providing language to describe behavior as abusive or healthy in the process of relating. A focus on the linguistics of cultic recruitment and coercive abuse at interpersonal, familial, group, and government levels creates a framework for sustainable relationships in a post COVID-19 United States.


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