The process of recovery from childhood sexual abuse for female survivors in Taiwan
The dislocation between the literature on the recovery process from sexual abuse and
my clinical experience led me to develop three research questions about the recovery
process from childhood sexual abuse: these concern the experience of sexual abuse
itself, the process of recovery from the experience of sexual abuse and the difference
in recovery process between the participants who received counselling and those
participants who did not.
I invited ten female survivors of sexual abuse, who received counselling and three
female survivors who did not to participant in this study. Each participant had four to
eight hours in-depth interview and the data had been analysed according to the
principles of grounded theory. I analysed the available literature of recovery process
and compared this with the findings in this study. Finally, I developed an account of
the process of recovery from sexual abuse according to the findings of this study and
comparison with the available literature review.
There are three main findings in this study:
1. There were four reasons the participants used to explain why the abuse happened.
Firstly, they perceived their family dynamics as a cause of abuse. Secondly, the
abusers might use the offensive behaviour to satisfy their emotional needs. Thirdly,
the abusers felt curious about sex but the family did not have adequate sex education
to satisfy the curiosity. Finally, the abuse was not a physically painful experience for
some of the participants so they did not disclose or run away from it.
2. Five systems interact with each other in the process of recovery: (1) The positive
and vulnerable parts of the self. (2) Four areas (surviving, issue of self, issue of
external world, and integration) of the recovery process. (3) Five outcomes (issue of
self, emotions, cognition, sexuality and relations) of the recovery process. (4) Three
areas (issues of self, emotions and relations) of unresolved issues. (5) Nine elements
(the abuse, family situations, childhood, nature, adulthood, relations, counselling,
society's of sexuality, and religions) affecting the above systems.
3. There are different perceptions about the experience of abuse between Group A,
who received counselling, and Group B, who did not.