Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Stephen A. Zanskas
Lisbeth A. Berbary
N. Dewaine Rice
Although there is vast research on child sexual abuse survivors, the literature often focuses on those survivors in the dominant discourse, with scant research on survivors of child sexual abuse within marginalized groups, such as African American women. Moreover, the limited amount of research on African American child sexual abuse survivors and how they "cope" with experience(s) of child sexual abuse often creates an assumption of shared or similar experiences of "coping" as survivors within the dominant discourse. While there may be similarities between African American female child sexual abuse survivors and those survivors within the dominant discourse, without such information, misperceptions may be made, thus perpetuating dominant beliefs of child sexual abuse survivors and the survivors' coping strategies. Therefore, based in the need to expose these misconceptions, this qualitative research used narrative inquiry informed by Black feminism in an effort to better understand racial differences as well as individualized coping strategies for child sexual abuse survivors. Data was collected using unstructured life-story interviews with six individuals who self-identified as over the age of 18, female, African American, and as a child sexual abuse survivor. This research was guided by the following broad questions: (a) How do coping strategies of African American women who are survivors of child sexual abuse relate to dominant discourses on coping strategies of child sexual abuse survivors?; (b) How do African American women who are survivors of child sexual abuse perceive the usefulness of their individualized coping strategies?; and (c) Based on the experiences of African American women who are survivors of child sexual abuse, what recommendations do they have for other child sexual abuse survivors and professionals working with survivors? Using Creative Analytic Practice (CAP), the findings of this study were presented through loosely chronological journal entries and a zine that was constructed from the data in order to illuminate the diverse experience(s), perspectives, and coping strategies of African American female child sexual abuse survivors. These constructed narratives may sensitize the reader to African American women's experience(s) and coping strategies as it relates to being subjected to child sexual abuse.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Williams, Mary Claire, "Coping Strategies as Seen Through the Eyes of Select African American Female Child Sexual Abuse Survivors" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1166.