“We Try to Fix Things Quietly, and We Do Not Take Revenge”: Christian Arab Teachers’ Experiences Coping with Child Sexual Abuse Among Their Pupils in Israel

Laura Ilene Sigad*, Kathrin Shehadeh, Efrat Lusky-Weisrose, Dafna Tener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Teachers are at the frontlines of the fight to identify and cope with child sexual abuse (CSA) among their pupils. Their methods of coping with CSA cases, both personally and professionally, are strongly influenced by their socio-cultural contexts and religious beliefs. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the experiences of Christian Arab teachers in Israel coping with the CSA of their pupils. Twelve Christian Arab elementary school teachers in Israel were recruited for the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and a qualitative thematic analysis was employed based on a descriptive phenomenological-psychological approach. Two key themes emerged from the analysis: (a) The teachers’ intense emotional reactions regarding the CSA of their students and the empowerment some found in handling such difficult situations, and (b) The teachers’ Christian beliefs and identity strongly affected their understanding of CSA and their approach to intervention. The findings indicated the dialectical position of the teachers’ religio-cultural context, particularly the duality of the Christian value of forgiveness, a powerful resource for their coping, yet with adverse implications for children’s vulnerability. This unique risk should inform training teachers regarding CSA matters. Teachers must also have systems that support them and allow them to reflectively examine their coping styles.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)8862605231212419
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume39
Issue number7-8
Early online date20 Nov 2023
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Keywords

  • Arab Christian society
  • child abuse
  • child sexual abuse
  • disclosure
  • school systems
  • teachers’ coping

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