Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Health Risks in the Aftermath of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Strategies for Coping with Health Risks in the Aftermath of Childhood Sexual Abuse within the Context of a Norwegian Incest Center


Working with those who have experienced sexual abuse is a complicated matter because such abuse not only involves the violation of the victim’s body; it also often generates shame in those involved. Due to feelings of shame, those who have suffered this type of abuse often find it difficult, if not impossible to enter into therapeutic programs within today’s professionalized expert systems. Research shows that shame stemming from sexual abuse can affect the mental and physical health of victims. This article is based on empirical data from 26 hours of videotaped focus group interviews with 19 men and women at a Norwegian incest center (Pettersen, 2009). The interviewees speak openly of the shame they have experienced in relation to sexual abuse as children, as parents of sexually abused children, and as employees at the incest center. The interviews were transcribed and transferred to the computer program QSR NVivo (Gibbs, 2002) in order to isolate topics discussed in the focus groups. These topics were thereafter organized in seven “node trees” illustrating “categories of shame”. The categories reveal that these victims need to focus therapeutically on seven major topics: respect, inclusion, positive self-evaluation, recognition, disclosure of emotions, treating oneself and others as subjects, and new experiences to increase trust in others. The findings of this study indicate that the coping strategies focused on in incest centers can help to prevent or alleviate the health risks that threaten victims of childhood sexual abuse.

This is from my chapter in a new book:
Karen Patrick Knutsen, Sigmund Kvam, Peter Langemeyer, Anastasia Parianou, Kåre Solfjeld (Eds.)
Narratives of Risk/Narrative des Risikos
Interdisciplinary Studies/Interdisziplinäre Beiträge
2012, 520 pages, pb., 49,90 €
ISBN 978-3-8309-2803-4

I have contributed with a chapter in this new book. My chapter has the title:
"Strategies for Coping with Health Risks in the Aftermath of Childhood Sexual Abuse within the Context of a Norwegian Incest Center".
The book is available in bookstores or can be ordered here from the publishers.

Narratives of Risk: Interdisciplinary Studies is the result of an international project involving authors from institutions of higher education in Denmark, Greece, Malta and Norway. Twenty-one contributions, partly in German and partly in English, discuss stories of risk circulating within different fields of research: linguistics, translation studies, comparative literature, rhetoric, education, theology, psychology, sociology and political science. The concept of risk is multi-faceted. As these articles illustrate, stories can be about risk, but they can also be risky in themselves. For example, a technical manual can help people avoid dangerous situations; however, a faulty translation can lead to injury or even death. Likewise, a novel for young adults can persuade them to avoid risky behavior, while another may actually encourage them to take chances.

Narrative des Risikos. Interdisziplinäre Beiträge ist das Ergebnis einer Kooperation von Wissenschaftlern aus Dänemark, Griechenland, Malta und Norwegen. Der Band thematisiert Erzählungen über Risiken, aber auch Erzählungen, die ein Risiko in sich bergen. Beispielsweise können Gebrauchsanleitungen und ihre Übersetzung eine Hilfe für die Benutzer von technischen Geräten, aber auch eine Bedrohung für Leben und Gesundheit sein. Ebenso können Jugendromane vor riskantem Verhalten warnen, aber auch dazu verleiten. Die in diesem Band versammelten Beiträge, teils in englischer, teils in deutscher Sprache, entstammen verschiedenen Fachgebieten wie Literaturwissenschaft, Linguistik, Rhetorik, Erziehungswissenschaft, Theologie, Psychologie, Soziologie und Politikwissenschaft.

New Release
Bestellung mit diesem Formular oder per Fax/Order with this form or per fax:
+49 (0)2 51 / 2 65 04-26, Tel./Phone: +49 (0)251 / 2 65 04-0, E-mail: order@waxmann.com, www.waxmann.com
 Kaare T. Pettersen

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