“The most shocking thing was that I didn't respond to the abuse”: The peritraumatic responses and transitions as conveyed by survivors of continuous child sexual abuse

Afnan Attrash Najjar, Dafna Tener, Carmit Katz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a worldwide phenomenon with ongoing and far-reaching consequences for millions of children worldwide. It is a consensus among researchers that continuous CSA represents a unique challenge. Objective: The current study aimed to explore the peritraumatic responses of survivors of continuous CSA as described in their written narratives of abuse. The transitions between the peritraumatic responses will also be examined, highlighting the unique context of continuous CSA. Participants and setting: Written narratives of CSA were recruited via an advertisement in the media inviting CSA survivors to share their stories of abuse on an anonymous online platform. The data collection was carried out under the Israeli Independent Public Inquiry on CSA. Methods: A qualitative thematic analysis was applied to 32 richly written accounts of abuse. Results: Three peritraumatic responses were identified: the adaptive response, hinting, and attempts to fight and flight. Transitions between these responses were described by the survivors and addressed the heavy load of the abuse, realization of the abuse, fear of consequences and the central role of the survivor's environment. Conclusions: The current study provides a unique platform for the exploration of peritraumatic responses in continuous CSA. Alongside the identification of three peritraumatic responses described by the survivors, the current study provides an initial glance into transitions between peritraumatic responses. This insight strengthens the developing notion that peritraumatic responses in the unique context of CSA are a top-down process, often shaped by various contexts and multidimensional dynamics in the children's lives.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number105818
Pages (from-to)105818
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume132
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

Keywords

  • Continuous CSA
  • Peritraumatic response transitions
  • Peritraumatic responses

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of '“The most shocking thing was that I didn't respond to the abuse”: The peritraumatic responses and transitions as conveyed by survivors of continuous child sexual abuse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this