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Following Sexual Abuse

Following Sexual Abuse: A Sociological Interpretation of Identify Reformation in Reflexive Therapy

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 192
  • Book Info
    Following Sexual Abuse
    Book Description:

    Sexual abuse is a subject that has received and continues to attract a considerable amount of scholarly attention. However, most studies tend to treat sexual abuse as strictly personal and isolated suffering.Following Sexual Abuseattempts to develop a broader perspective on this important issue via narrated accounts of women's experiences. It is a sociological investigation that looks at the connection between the intra-personal and social worlds of victims as revealed through reflexive therapy.

    Marie C. Croll explores the transformational space between intra-personal and social experiences of self, a dual perspective that allows room for both personal and collective experiences to enter into a discussion of sexual abuse and its effects. She argues that private and public interpretations need to be considered together as their influences on the individual are inseparable. Using individual case studies, Croll demonstrates the extent to which variable public perspectives on sexual abuse come to define victims? relationships to their own accounts.Following Sexual Abuseoffers vital sociological insights and contributes a necessary intra-personal vantage point to the experience of sexual abuse and reflexive therapy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8812-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-28)

    My former career as a therapist brought me into contact with numerous clients, most of whom were women. This clientele ranged in age from eleven to sixty-two. They represented a diverse educational background, and they reflected a socio-economic cross-section of the Newfoundland population. The great majority of them had sustained sexual exploitation in one form or another. The accounts of their injuries, a selection of which have been gathered here, were all well known to me before I embarked on this sociological study. And as these sequestered experiences accumulated into a collection of narratives in my private keeping, I aimed...

  5. 1 A Sociologist/Therapist’s View ‘from inside the Whale’
    (pp. 29-66)

    The therapeutic approach I developed over time is best summarized as a reflexive, feminist, and interpretative style that cultivated symbolic understanding and narrative expression. A mutual scrutiny of the narrative brought to light dominant social and cultural ideologies. The diverse nature of this process grew out of our combined efforts to understand the many levels of my clients’ fragmented selves, and eventually it yielded an effective therapeutic model. I began this therapeutic project from the grounded perspective of my clients’ accounts and worked outwards, inductively. In so doing, I continuously reviewed and modified my therapeutic skills to enable the narratives...

  6. 2 Locating the Self: The Language of Survival
    (pp. 67-88)

    Jesse sought therapy in order to address the effects of childhood incest by her alcoholic father and sexual assaults by other male relatives and neighbours. At the time of entering therapy she was approaching her fortieth birthday. Jesse then suffered from depression and sleeplessness, complicated by debilitating migraines. She had been attempting to suppress these afflictions with anti-depressant medication and painkillers for much of her adult life. Nevertheless she carried with her what she described as an almost bottomless sense of grief that she identified as stemming from ‘a many-edged loss.’ Such a pronounced feeling of loss as Jesse’s is...

  7. 3 Anguish, Dreams, and Remembering: The Reflexive Process
    (pp. 89-112)

    The previous chapter looked at one client’s endeavour to repair and reconstruct herself and her resulting shift away from popular descriptions that claimed to define her exploitation. It also demonstrated that recovery, for the majority of my clients, had compelled them to become experts or authorities on themselves instead of uncritically accommodating to the elucidations of others. In their gradual efforts to piece together their experiences and develop their own understandings, they developed a sustained sense of mastery. For most, the depth and breadth of analysis necessary for recovery from such deeply ranging private damage required internal initiation. Yet while...

  8. 4 From Silence to Narration: Exposing and Interpreting a Fragmented Self
    (pp. 113-134)

    The last chapter closed with Victor Frankl’s reflection, substantiated by my clients’ accounts, that being does not exist strictly within our psyches. It is interdependent upon meanings and relationships that we locate and create inside and outside of ourselves. This chapter expands that discussion and looks past the intrapersonal reflexive experience by examining one client who with great difficulty brought herself to speak and relay her account in therapy. Her perspective clarifies for us the value of narration itself as distinct from its specific content.

    The power and worth of the narrative, as medium, for helping to define and express...

  9. 5 Private Worlds, Public Worlds, and the Pursuit of Certainty
    (pp. 135-158)

    The previous chapter addressed the complex and often subtle process of a client’s externalizing her account. This chapter is concerned primarily with a subsequent phase – the relationship between a narrator’s self-perception and the story’s public reception. In therapy, this represents the juncture when the client’s intrapersonal self begins to scrutinize her public persona in order to locate a synthesis and reconciliation of the two selves, without sacrificing one to the other. How these intrapersonal and public elements interact to shape the narrative is, in part, what produces not only the unique quality of each story’s telling but also its therapeutic...

  10. Conclusion: Mind, Body, and Society
    (pp. 159-166)

    The main purpose of this study has been to apply another field of inquiry, most predominantly sociology, to my clients’ therapeutic accounts of sexual exploitation. Analytical therapy has traditionally placed its emphasis on the intrapersonal dimension of self-transformation. In contrast, sociology’s principal focus has historically been on collective transformations. My interest, as a practising analytical therapist and professional sociologist, has been to explore the transformational space between the intrapersonal and the social experiences of self and of finding other ways of perceiving and presenting it. This dual perspective, a fresh way of seeing my clients, has contributed to sociological knowledge...

  11. References
    (pp. 167-172)
  12. Index
    (pp. 173-179)