Date of Award
Master of Science
Robert A Neimeyer
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has experienced widespread violence, including sexual violence. Sexual violence toward women includes rape, genital mutilation, and sexual slavery. Many Congolese have sought to escape such conditions as refugees in the United States. In the present study, we examined lived spiritual experiences of nine Congolese refugee women, survivors of sexual violence. Overall, this study provides new insights into participants' experiences of spirituality in the aftermath of sexual trauma and in living as a refugee. Consensual qualitative research (CQR) methods were used to analyze participants' responses to a semi-structured interview protocol. Participants endorsed faith that God was in control, reliance on prayer, gratitude toward God, and difficulty practicing their in the U.S. relative to Africa. Results indicated that religion/spirituality is an integral part of the women's lives and that it appears to facilitate coping. Clinical and community mental health implications are discussed.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Smigelsky, Melissa Anne, "'My Heart Is In His Hands': The Lived Spiritual Experiences of Congolese Refugee Women Survivors of Sexual Violence" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1260.