sexual abuse

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in | 0 comments

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  • Narrative Ways of Working with Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse— Sue Mann and Shona Russell


    The following practice-based paper describes narrative ways of working with women survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Through the paper, stories from women survivors are shared. The authors also make links between the work they are doing and a range of commitments informed by feminism and poststructuralism.

  • The Questions Posed by Our Work with Women Who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse— Sue Mann


    This paper is one in a series by Sue Mann focusing on some of the most complex and challenging questions that arise in work with women who have experienced sexual abuse as children. In this paper the author describes the principles which shape her approach in this work, as well as responses to questions about sex work and sexual identity that have arisen in her conversations with women. This paper was delivered as a keynote at the second International Summer School of Narrative Practice in November 2004.

  • Talking About Sexuality with Survivors of Sexual Trauma: An interview with Elsa Almaas and Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad


    The following interview focuses on work with survivors of sexual trauma. The reason we approached Elsa and Esben Esther on this topic is that they are trying to bring together knowledge and experience from the sexology field and the realm of queer experience to their work with people who have been subjected to sexual trauma and abuse. The form of therapy that Elsa and Esben Esther engage in is informed more by sex-therapy models than by narrative practices; however, the perspectives they offer on this topic seem very relevant to the readership of this journal and we are pleased to include this interview here.

  • ‘Rescuing the Said from the Saying of It’: Living Documentation in Narrative Therapy— David Newman


    This article explores some creative ideas about using therapeutic documents in narrative practice. After a discussion of the theoretical background, important principles, and ethical issues in employing documents, the author gives examples of emails used to recruit a ‘care team’, and keeping care teams informed of developments in people’s lives. The main part of the paper explores the idea of ‘living documents’: therapeutic documents that are added to by various clients over time. This new departure in therapeutic documents is different from the existing practices of ‘archives’ held by various leagues – which tend to simply be collections of different individual’s documents; and of collective documents, which are usually produced by a group in a collective voice.

  • Taking a Journey with Young Women Who Are Subjected to Sexual Abuse within Families— Delphine YAU Cheuk-wai


    For many years in my work setting, I have been responding to young women who have been subjected to sexual abuse. One challenge for me is how to respond to the effects of abuse in these young women’s lives in ways that are not pathologizing or re-traumatizing. Apart from addressing the direct effects of the abuse, another challenge in therapy involves addressing the context of telling and its effects on these young women As an alternative, I think it is important to locate the effects of abuse in the particularities of the broader context of their lives.

  • ‘Standing Together on a Riverbank’: Group Conversations about Sexual Abuse in Zimbabwe— Sipelile Kaseke


    This brief article outlines a community response to sexual abuse in a rural community near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Local community workers developed a culturally-appropriate methodology for exploring young people’s responses to sexual assault in ways that did not rely on individual disclosure or public shaming and, instead, contributed to a collective voice which would question, resist, and protest against sexual abuse. This methodology employed the technique of a ‘personified’ externalisation; one of the community volunteers ‘played’ the role of Sexual Abuse, allowing children to ask about its various purposes, histories, and effects – and ways of limiting its effects in the community.

  • Combining Relaxation and Guided Imagery with Narrative Practices in Therapy with an Incest Survivor— Razi Shachar


    This paper explores the use of relaxation and guided imagery in conjunction with narrative therapy, with a woman dealing with the effects of trauma related to sexual abuse. The work took place in Israel, with a woman who was abused in childhood by her brother, yet she was still on good terms with him and the rest of her family. The woman was also part of a religious community that placed certain expectations on women regarding sexual relationships with their husbands. This paper explores some of the more complex issues around sex and intimacy, along with ways of unpacking sex, body image, and dominant cultural norms, in a complex and nuanced context.

  • Women’s outrage and the pressure to forgive: an interview with Jussey Verco



    Because of the ways in which forgiveness is spoken about in the broader Christian-influenced culture and also in the mental health field, survivors of childhood sexual abuse are often placed under strong pressure to forgive the person who perpetrated abuse against them. Many women report that when they have accessed a group or counselling, that there has been an emphasis on forgiving the perpetrator and that this step is seen as necessary for healing.

    As a worker, I am conscious that everyone goes through their own unique process in relation to coming to terms with the effects of sexual abuse. For a small number of women with whom I have worked, forgiveness has played an important part in their healing process and for them, the pressure to forgive may not have negative consequences. It may have been a process of their own choosing.

    However, for most women with whom I’ve worked, the pressure to forgive can be oppressive. For many women survivors, there has been no acknowledgement of guilt or even of any wrongdoing by the person who perpetrated the abuse. In many situations the women have not been believed or have been viewed as in some ways culpable for the abuse to which they were subjected.

  • Almost twenty years on … reflecting on ‘Father Daughter Rape’ — Elizabeth (Biff) Ward


    In 1984, Biff Ward wrote ‘Father Daughter Rape’ (The Women’s Press) one of the first books to address the issue of childhood sexual abuse. In this short reflection she looks back at the writing of this book and the question of forgiveness.

  • Forgiveness and child sexual abuse: A matrix of meanings— Alan Jenkins, Maxine Joy & Rob Hall



    he concept of forgiveness, along with notions of apology and atonement for wrongs, can constitute highly significant preoccupations for individuals and communities whose lives have been affected by abuse. People who have been abused, those who have acted abusively and members of their families and broader communities may all have concerns and hopes about forgiveness and atonement. In the aftermath of sexual abuse, concerns about forgiveness may range from, ‘I’ll never forgive’ to ‘Why can’t I forgive?’ and these concerns may be met with preoccupations like, ‘I’ve said I’m sorry, surely it’s time for her to forgive me’ and ‘You must learn to forgive and forget’.

  • Some Reflections on the Use of the Journey Metaphor in Working with Young Women Who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse— Delphine YauCheuk-wai


    In this short piece, the author offers reflections on a group she facilitated with young women who have experienced sexual abuse. This group was shaped by the use of a metaphor of a journey, by externalising conversations, and by the use of artistic expression.


  1. Thank you to Tileah for a wonderful presentation. I love hearing the word “yarn” used in this powerful way (Americans also have that term). The practice of “translating”, of shifting concepts into language that can be more usefully heard, is very powerful. As coaches we can make good use of this to help clients uncover their hidden or forgotten resources.

  2. These stories are amazing examples of what we can discover when we hold onto our “beginner’s mind” and remember that the other person (client, patient) has the information and understanding, not us. We talk a lot in leadership development about “co-creating” and I think this is a beautiful example of two very complementary roles: the person who has the story and the person who helps to explore and shape it.

  3. I like the idea of narrative – there is something about giving people the power to create a narrative, rather than simply appearing in a story told by someone else. Within the narrative metaphor, I especially enjoy the fabric metaphor – the idea of strands. These may touch each other, or not, may go well together in tone or color, or not. But again, there is some power in creating and weaving the narrative.
    In my own work with coaching and leadership development, I find that the emphasis on narrative(s) helps make things more tangible, and therefore brings them to their true scale, instead of letting them take on imaginary and unclearly described proportions.

  4. I love this. Telling our stories in ways that make us stronger. Such a powerful sentiment. Sometimes through trauma, it is hard to access the words that really encapsulate that experience – though using the written word does help us access those hard to utter parts of our memories … in those cases though perhaps the story we tell ourselves is not one that makes us feel strong in the first instance – so finding a way to tell that story in a way that focuses on the strength of surviving to tell that story is just amazing!