Gender issues in child sexual abuse

Harwell, Amy (2002) Gender issues in child sexual abuse. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

Academic interest in the field of child sexual abuse remained consistently high during the latter part of the twentieth century. The research undertaken at this time
demonstrated the relationship between child sexual abuse and gender; that is to say that men are the primary perpetrators of the sexual victimisation of children. Given this preponderance, it is of central importance to keep the significance of gender focal. Paradoxically, it is for this very reason that gender remains significant in cases where women sexually abuse children - because they represent the minority of cases. It is this disparity which provides a basis for this
work.

The purpose of this work is to examine and demonstrate that gender is significant in: the way in which an abuse experience is defined and made sense of; the process by which an individual becomes a survivor; and how abuse experiences are responded to by others. The foci of defmition, interpretation, subjectivity and ambiguity led to the utilisation of symbolic interactionism as an appropriate theoretical perspective in which to ground the study and to guide the research analysis.

Designed as an exploratory study, the work combines qualitative and quantitative research methods aimed at survivors of abuse and relevant professionals (the latter
drawn from both the 'therapy industry' and the criminal justice arena). In-depth interviews were carried out with survivors and analysed to examine survivors' subjective realities and interpretations of their experiences of abuse. Semi-structured
interviews and questionnaires were used to explore the significance of gender in the responses of professionals to abuse experiences. The issues that arise from this work have profound implications for the way in which the significance
of gender in child sexual abuse can be thought about and understood.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13592
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2015 14:22
Last Modified: 31 May 2019 14:16
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13592

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