“I Need to Be the Person Who Will Know to Do the Right Thing”: Perspectives of Arab and Jewish Teachers Confronting Child Sexual Abuse

Laura I. Sigad*, Dafna Tener, Efrat Lusky-Weisrose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Teachers hold significant potential to influence children’s coping with child sexual abuse (CSA). Their beliefs and behaviors in this role are largely constructed by their sociocultural contexts, including their status as members of majority or minority groups. The purpose of the present study was to analyze, compare, and describe the experiences and perceptions of Jewish and Arab teachers in Israel coping with CSA in their everyday work. Method: Forty elementary school teachers (20 Arab [12 Muslim and eight Christian] and 20 secular Jewish) were recruited as part of a purposeful sample. Semistructured interviews and qualitative thematic analysis were conducted using a descriptive phenomenological-psychological approach. Results: While there is universality when contending with the CSA of pupils, Arab and Jewish teachers fundamentally differed in their perceptions of their role, responsibility, agency, and efficacy. Two interrelated themes emerged: (a) Perceptions of efficacy and agency when contending with CSA and (b) Perceived roles in cases of CSA (“soloists” vs. “team players”). Conclusions: The discussion highlights the Arab and Jewish teachers’ multifaceted, relational constructions of identity within their sociocultural, personal–professional, and sociopolitical contexts, which shaped their divergent understandings of and responses to cases of CSA while maintaining similar values and goals. The findings indicate the need to advance theory and promote interventions that take into account not only sociocultural contexts but also the intersectionality of power and the implications of majority and minority status.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Violence
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • child sexual abuse
  • child sexual abuse disclosure
  • culture
  • professionals’ perceptions
  • teachers

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