Angela’s Story of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Ajayi, Chinyere orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8098-5676 (2022) Angela’s Story of Childhood Sexual Abuse. The British Journal of Social Work . ISSN 0045-3102

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The aim of this article was to gain an in-depth understanding of one woman’s experiences of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). The analysis presented in this article is grounded in the voice-centred relational or the listening guide (LG) method of narrative analysis developed by Gilligan and colleagues. The LG is an analytical framework that allows for the systematic consideration of the many voices embedded in a person’s story. Analysis illuminate, 1) how the religious practice of “spiritual baths” served as a risk factor for the CSA Angela experienced and 2) how the patriarchal family structure and gendered expectations provided the contexts for the perpetration of CSA and the silencing of her voice. Angela speaks of her on-going struggles with her experiences of CSA, a voice which represents her voice of psychological distress. Nonetheless, her coping strategies are understood through her voice of resilience speaking of embracing her Christian faith and the role of motherhood in her journey to resilience. Findings highlight the need for effective safeguarding policies within religious settings, and for social workers to apply cultural sensitivity when working with or planning intervention for Nigerian children who experience CSA.

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