Feminist Perspectives on Child Sexual Abuse

Authored by: Sam Warner

Routledge International Handbook of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138490260
eBook ISBN: 9781351035620
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter draws on an inclusive knowledge base about child sexual abuse and utilizes a feminist framework to unfold developments in theory and practice in respect of girls and women survivors. A historical overview is used to trace the role of language in structuring understandings about child sexual abuse and practices that marginalize feminized victims. Psychosocial ‘grooming’ mechanisms through which sexually abused and exploited girls and women are controlled and silenced are explicated. Physical and mental health impacts of child sexual abuse are described and the predominant ways in which survivors cope with abuse-trauma are explored. Key aspects of feminist therapy for sexually abused girls and women are illuminated; addressing grooming, abuse-trauma impacts and survivor coping strategies. The ways in which feminism’s attention to power inequalities is used to inform wider practices around child sexual abuse is demonstrated.

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