Concerning child abuse, the political stance seems to be protecting the rights of children from abuse whereas statistics on child abuse illustrate that child abuse is an enormous problem in South Africa, as well as other countries, today. I have thus undertaken research to try to understand how a female person who has been abused as a child has coped with that abuse in her life. In this regard, I have attempted to bring into focus the individual meanings and understandings of child abuse perceived by a person who has been abused so that a different dimension of understanding can be created. This dimension can then possibly generate a richer description of the seemingly contradictory political and statistical dimensions. The literature review that I have undertaken focuses on definitions of abuse, implications and different theoretical dimensions concerning abuse. I also revised literature on coping and other relevant research. In undertaking this research, I have worked from a narrative position that can be seen in the experiences that occur in people’s lives on a continuous basis and their narrative expression that allows them to make sense of their experience. History and culture also play a role in this position by shaping the way people narrate their experiences through different contexts and over time. The methodology that I have utilised can be seen in the attending, telling, transcribing, analysing and reading processes relating to the participant’s experience of abuse. This took place over six sessions of conversation with the participant, psychologist and myself as part of the reflection team. I have also made use of the concept of trustworthiness to create and maintain quality, and ethics were upheld through letters of confidentiality and consent communicated to the participant and psychologist. During the session, the metaphor of a bicycle and its movement was used to explore different aspects that appear to have helped and/or hindered the participant’s coping with abuse. The findings were then included in closing letters that were sent to the participant.
Dissertation (MA (Counselling Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.