This study is an explorative, qualitative study on how mothers experience the defilement of their own children by a church leader in the Zambian context. The aim of the study is to get some insight into how the defilement affect the mothers, and the challenges that occur in their lives regarding their relationships with their defiled children and other people who are around them. The researcher also looks at how the role of motherhood has been affected by the defilement.
Qualitative research methodology was employed in this research study. This enabled the researcher to understand the social constructions of mothers and how they experience the disclosure of defilement of their children by a church leader. The researcher used semi-structured interview to collect data from the eight mothers affected by child defilement who were selected from within Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. Thematic Analysis as a method of data analysis was employed in this research study. In employing this form of analysis, the researcher identified major concepts or themes that came up during the discussions with the interviewed mothers. The following are the themes that came out of the data that was provided by the affected mothers: Loss of religious faith, less trust in the church leaders, dissatisfaction of their parenting role, Feelings of anger towards the perpetrator, feelings of guilt, feelings of shame, marital problems, relationship problems with their daughters, concerned that their children might have contracted HIV and AIDS, and worried that their children have lost their virginity.
In this research study, the researcher has used Gerkin‘s shepherding method of pastoral care to address the emotional experiences of the mothers following disclosure of defilement of their children by a church leader. This methodology is helpful because it provides an integrated approach to healing that is enculturated in the African belief system and culture, which views healing as taking place within the community and not in isolation. Gerkin‘s shepherding methodology is augmented by Waruta and Kinoti‘s work, Pastoral Care in African Christianity and Pollard‘s evangelism method of positive deconstruction. These three methodologies have been employed to help in empowering the mothers to come to terms with the effects of child defilement by a church leader.