“A Little Bit of Light Dispels a Lot of Darkness”: Online Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse by Authority Figures in the Ultraorthodox Jewish Community in Israel

Efrat Lusky-Weisrose*, Tzviki Fleishman, Dafna Tener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social media sites such as Facebook have become popular platforms for promoting public awareness of sexual abuse by encouraging user engagement around this issue. There is, therefore, currently emerging research on the functions and implications of social media as a platform for sexual abuse disclosure. However, as yet, no study has examined this phenomenon specifically through a religious-cultural lens. This study explores perceptions of, barriers to, and motives underlying online disclosure of child sexual abuse (CSA) by religious authority figures (RAFs) in ultraorthodox Jewish society in Israel. The data were gleaned from the popular Facebook page of a nonprofit devoted to raising awareness of CSA in the ultraorthodox community. The analysis was based on admins’ posts, anonymous and nonanonymous survivors’ shares, users’ comments, and in-depth interviews of eight page users. The findings suggest a culture-oriented model of online CSA disclosure (OCSAD), identifying four primary factors (safety, benefit, relevance, and legitimacy) that, weighed against cultural barriers, influence the decision to engage in online CSA disclosure. This context-informed understanding highlights the importance of social media as an alternative platform for CSA disclosure in an isolated but changing cultural arena such as the ultraorthodox community in Israel. The theoretical model is of international interest for its conceptualization of the unique characteristics and perceptions of OCSAD within religious-cultural contexts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)NP17758-NP17783
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume37
Issue number19-20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 SAGE Publications.

Keywords

  • child sexual abuse (CSA)
  • culture
  • religious authority figures
  • self-disclosure
  • social media
  • ultraorthodox community

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