Single Paper or Case Study
The Reconfiguration of Shame in Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by a Maternal Figure
Sunday, March 25
2:30 PM - 2:50 PM
Sexual abuse by a maternal figure has long warranted attention in the literature due to the need to further understand its impact and provide therapeutic interventions for survivors. Societal perceptions and gender norms that pertain to the role of a maternal figure influence the manner in which survivors are believed and provided support by others, including professionals. Shame is a core affect tied to the experience of childhood sexual abuse. In abuse perpetrated by a maternal figure, shame is complex, as the injury is caused by the person who is seen or felt as a caregiver or rescuer; hence, such a betrayal complicates how shame is managed. Shame affects the disclosure of abuse, which is often either minimized, denied, or dissociated.
In this paper, I explore the reconfiguration of shame in survivors of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by a maternal figure, focusing on the impact on attachments, including in treatment. The relationship of gender and shame in the sexual victimization of boys and girls by a maternal figure as well as the influence of sexual abuse characteristics, occurrence of other types of abuse, and adult revictimization on the reconfiguration of shame are also discussed. Finally, implications for treatment are presented.
- Describe the reconfiguration of shame and its impact on attachments in survivors of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by a maternal figure
- Describe the influence of gender, sexual abuse characteristics, other types of abuse, and adult revictimization on the reconfiguration of shame in survivors of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by a maternal figure
- Discuss implications for treatment