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Coping skills of incest and sexual abuse victims Phillips, Cecilie Anne Bannatyne 1985

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COPING SKILLS OF INCEST AND SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS by C e c i l i e Anne Bannatyne P h i l l i p s Bachelor of Arts, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, May 1976 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGY We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1985 © C e c i l i e Anne Bannatyne P h i l l i p s , 1985 « In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Abstract Childhood incest and sexual abuse was explored i n depth to deter-mine the coping s k i l l s used by victims, based upon t h e i r d e s c r i p t i v e r e c a l l of these events. Eighteen adult women, who were group therapy members and l e a d e r s , were i n t e r v i e w e d about t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s as s e x u a l l y abused c h i l d r e n and a d o l e s c e n t s . The c r i t i c a l i n c i d e n t technique was used to i d e n t i f y what hindered or f a c i l i t a t e d the v i c t i m s coping in the eighty-one abuse experiences c o l l e c t e d . Each incident was categorized according to the i d e n t i f i a b l e stress, and the type of coping method used. Three categories of i d e n t i f i a b l e stress emerged from the data which were l a b e l l e d offenders, s i g n i f i c a n t others, and v i c t i m s . Of these, the largest number of incidents r e l a t e d to stress created by offenders. In t h i s sample, victims u t i l i z e d d i r e c t action, i n h i b i t i o n of action, and intrapsychic coping methods, but not information seeking. Of these, d i r e c t action was most frequently employed. Independent judges found these categories r e l i a b l e . Results are examined according to t h e o r e t i c a l frameworks i n coping theory and current perspectives on sexual abuse. i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i L i s t of Tables v i L i s t of Figures v i i Acknowledgements v i i i Dedication ix CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1 Overview 1 Research Questions 3 D e f i n i t i o n of Terms 4 CHAPTER I I . REVIEW OF LITERATURE 7 Theories of Coping Behaviour 8 Lazarus' Taxonomy of Coping Responses 8 Application to Sexual Abuse 11 Summary 16 Shontz' Theory of Reaction to C r i s i s 16 App l i c a t i o n to Sexual Abuse 17 Seligman's Learned Helplessness Model 18 Wortman and Brehm's Integrative Model 20 CHAPTER I I I . METHODOLOGY 24 The C r i t i c a l Incident Technique 24 J u s t i f i c a t i o n for the Choice of Methodology 24 C o l l e c t i o n and C l a s s i f i c a t i o n of Data 25 R e l i a b i l i t y and V a l i d i t y of the Technique 27 i i i Subjects 28 Selection of the Sample 28 P r o f i l e of the Par t i c i p a n t s 30 General Information 30 Sexual Abuse Information 30 Procedures and Data C o l l e c t i o n 35 Assumptions 35 Interview Structure 35 P i l o t Study 36 Data Analysis 38 R e l i a b i l i t y of Categories 39 CHAPTER IV. RESULTS 40 Stress Categories and Coping Modes 42 Offender 42 D e f i n i t i o n 42 Direct Action 46 Hindering 46 F a c i l i t a t i n g 48 I n h i b i t i o n of Action 50 Hindering 51 F a c i l i t a t i n g 53 Intrapsychic 53 Hindering 53 F a c i l i t a t i n g 55 S i g n i f i c a n t Other 56 D e f i n i t i o n 56 Dire c t Action 56 Hindering 57 F a c i l i t a t i n g 60 In h i b i t i o n of Action 61 Hindering 61 F a c i l i t a t i n g 61 iv Intrapsychic 62 Hindering 62 F a c i l i t a t i n g 63 Vi c t i m 64 D e f i n i t i o n 64 Direct Action 65 Hindering 65 Intrapsychic 65 F a c i l i t a t i n g 66 Cognitive Appraisals 67 Primary Appraisal 68 Secondary Appraisal 68 Emotions 69 Effectiveness 69 CHAPTER V. DISCUSSION AND SUMMARY 71 Discussion of Results 71 Si g n i f i c a n c e of the Study 77 Theoretical S i g n i f i c a n c e 77 P r a c t i c a l Significance 81 Recommendations for Future Research 83 Limitations of the Study 85 Summary 87 Appendix A. C l i e n t Consent Form 89 Appendix B. Demographic Questionnaire 90 Appendix C. The Interview Structure 92 References 95 v L i s t of Tables Table 1. Coping C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Scheme 12 Table 2. Demographic Data: General Information 31 Table 3. Demographic Data: Sexual Abuse Information 32 Table 4. R e l i a b i l i t y of C l a s s i f i c a t i o n System 39 Table 5. D i s t r i b u t i o n of Coping Modes within Stress Categories 41 v i L i s t of Figures gure 1. The Integrative Model v i i Acknowledgement I am deeply indebted to the eighteen women who endured the r e c a l l of such p a i n f u l memories to contribute to the knowledge about sexual abuse. Their s u f f e r i n g , t h e i r resourcefulness, and t h e i r recovery process profoundly moved me. From t h e i r experiences, I am l e f t with a great hope in the strength of the human s p i r i t i n overcoming adversity. I wish to thank Dr. Bob Armstrong for h i s consistent support and encouragement throughout the process of t h i s seemingly endless under-taking. Thanks also to Dr. Sharon Kahn and Dr. John Friesen for t h e i r challenging and valuable contributions. v i i i Dedication To P e t e r — f o r your sustenance along the " c r i t i c a l path." i x 1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Overview Sexual abuse, for many people, conjures up images of force, attack and intimidation by shadowy strangers and, consequently, how people cope with that s i t u a t i o n seems to be a very basic concern. C e r t a i n l y such traumatic events require extreme methods of coping and sometimes r e s u l t i n extraordinary feats of human emotional strength, and endurance. The more common r e a l i t y of childhood sexual abuse, however, i s a nonforcible or subtly coercive, s e c r e t i v e , ongoing sexual r e l a t i o n s h i p between a c h i l d and an adult i n a proximate caretaking authority p o s i t i o n (Sgroi, 1982, p. 13). Yet, s u r p r i s i n g l y , the question of how the c h i l d v i c t i m coped with t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s r a r e l y asked. How abused victims coped i s an important question to ask. The recent release of the Sexual Offenses Against Children (Committee of Sexual Offenses Against Children and Youths, 1984) revealed an alarming-l y pervasive incidence of childhood sexual abuse. Fifty-two recommenda-tions were made in the report to health s e r v i c e s , l e g a l systems, p o l i c e services and educational i n s t i t u t i o n s to increase professional knowledge and understanding of sexual abuse and to integrate resources to more e f f e c t i v e l y intervene for the protection of c h i l d r e n . A s p e c i f i c 2 recommendation (#40) was made for more systematic research i n the area of sexual abuse to f a c i l i t a t e education of the p u b l i c . This Committee's report l e g i t i m i z e d the concern of many pioneer workers i n t h i s f i e l d about the r e a l i t y of the abuse victim's experience i n sexual abuse, which had previously been either denied, minimized, or ignored. The .importance of understanding the victim's perspective toward the experience of sexual abuse i s highlighted with the recent focus of workers i n the f i e l d of coping theory which investigates how people respond to aversive l i f e events of serious magnitude. In the area of sexual abuse, the coping responses of adult rape victims have been systematically studied (Burgess & Holmstrom, 1974, 1976, 1979), whereas those of the victims of childhood sexual assault have not. However, unique c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of childhood sexual abuse such as r e l a t i o n s h i p to the offender, duration of abuse, secrecy, age of the v i c t i m , etc., make t h i s experience one that severely stresses the coping a b i l i t y of the v i c t i m . Consequently s p e c i f i c attention to the victim's subjective experience under these conditions i s v i t a l l y important. C l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the myriad of responses that occur under s i t u a -t ions of stress i s proving to be a challenging task for t h e o r i s t s of coping behaviour. The complexity of in t e r a c t i o n s of numerous va r i a b l e s such as motivation, cognition, and emotion, with the v a r i e t y of possible reactions people have to trauma has resulted i n a s h i f t i n the method-ology for research i n t h i s f i e l d . Increasingly, i n v e s t i g a t o r s are moving into natural settings and r e l y i n g on d e s c r i p t i v e accounts of personal experiences by victims themselves, as opposed to the h i s t o r i c a l focus on laboratory manipulation of v a r i a b l e s . Gradually these descrip-t i v e examinations of str e s s , emotion, and coping responses under a 3 v a r i e t y of c r i s i s s i t u a t i o n s are increasing understanding of coping behaviour when viewed in conjunction with speculative causation. P r i o r to Burgess and Holmstroiti's (1976, 1979) d e s c r i p t i v e examination of rape victims' experiences, knowledge of sexual abuse was l i m i t e d to the intimate d e t a i l e d accounts of a few i n d i v i d u a l s who broke the conspiracy of silence around the topic of incest ( A l l e n , 1980; Armstrong, 1980; Brady, 1979). With these works, the unique features of incest were i n i t i a l l y r e v e a l e d ; however, i n d i v i d u a l case s t u d i e s minimize the p o s s i b i l i t y of extracting more universal commonalities shared by victims i n t h i s experience, which i s a major goal in research. In addition to c l a s s i f y i n g common features of the experience, t h e o r i s t s and researchers are also r e a l i z i n g the importance of documenting victims' personal evaluations of how they coped with these c r i s e s ( S i l v e r & Workman, 1980 ). There i s also a growing recognition for the need to i d e n t i f y factors that f a c i l i t a t e or impair coping (Lazarus & Launier, 1978). Research Questions This research i s intended to contribute to the growing body of knowledge of coping behaviour i n aversive l i f e events, based on the d e s c r i p t i v e accounts of victims. Limited attention has been d i r e c t e d towards the coping behaviours of sexual abuse victims (Burgess & Holmstrom, 1974), and even less to the uniquely s t r e s s f u l experience of childhood incest and sexual abuse. While at present, no u n i f i e d theory of coping e x i s t s (Lazarus & Launier, 1978), t h i s study w i l l present a sampling of perspectives cu r r e n t l y being explored by prominent contribu-tors i n t h i s f i e l d . While explorative i n nature, the findings of t h i s 4 i n v e s t i g a t i o n w i l l be r e l a t e d to current theory concerning coping behaviour. In t h i s way, these r e s u l t s w i l l augment the l i m i t e d research now e x i s t i n g on coping behaviour i n the f i e l d of sexual abuse. To provide a focus for t h i s study, the following questions w i l l be s p e c i f i c a l l y addressed: 1 ) What common features concerning the dynamics of sexual abuse are derived from the d e s c r i p t i v e accounts of victims? 2) What, i f any, are the predominant coping methods used by these abuse victims? 3) What c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of these methods seem to hinder coping, and what seem to f a c i l i t a t e coping? 4) What s i m i l a r i t i e s , i f any, exist i n the appraisals and evaluations made by victims about t h e i r abusive experiences? D e f i n i t i o n of Terms Sexual abuse Sexual abuse i s generally defined as any sexual a c t i v i t y where "informed consent" on the part of a l l people involved as to the nature and implications of the a c t i v i t i e s i s lack i n g . Abuse may involve any type of sexual a c t i v i t y along a continuum ranging from sexually e x p l i c i t behaviour (e.g. nudity, disrobing, g e n i t a l exposure) to any manual, o r a l , anal or g e n i t a l sexual contact, and i s t y p i c a l l y progressive i n nature along t h i s continuum. Of primary importance i s that an abuse of power occurs whereby a person's v u l n e r a b i l i t y or powerlessness i s exploited without n e c e s s a r i l y r e q u i r i n g force or i n j u r y . Abuse may therefore occur between people of either s i m i l a r or d i f f e r e n t ages i f 5 the v i c t i m i s unable to give informed consent (Sgroi, 1982, p. 31). Children i n a l l cases are unable to give "informed" consent, which i s frequently exactly the advantage that a t t r a c t s the offender to them. Incest Incest involves the c r u c i a l psychosocial dynamic of a f a m i l i a l or proximate r e l a t i o n s h i p between the p a r t i c i p a n t s . S p e c i f i c a l l y , incest occurs within the context of a close r e l a t i o n s h i p between the offender and the v i c t i m ; incest i s often a pro-cess, not a single event; and victims see t h e i r f a m i l i e s at stake and are therefore l e s s l i k e l y to report the assault. (Butler, 1980) Coping Much confusion has centred around the d e f i n i t i o n of coping. The current p o s i t i o n appears to be that the d e f i n i t i o n of coping must be placed within the context of psychological s t r e s s . In other words, coping responses occur i n s t r e s s f u l s i t u a t i o n s i n which an adequate response i s unclear, uncertain, unavailable, or d i f f i c u l t to mobilize. To begin with, therefore, the prevalent d e f i n i t i o n of 'stress' i s , "any event i n which environmental or i n t e r n a l demands (or both) tax or exceed the adaptive resources of an i n d i v i d u a l , s o c i a l system or t i s s u e system" (Lazarus & Launier, 1978). Environmental demands are viewed as external events that produce negative consequences unless averted by a s u i t a b l e adaptive response. Internal demands are personal i n t e r e s t s , goals, and values, that likewise r e s u l t i n negative outcomes for the person, i f thwarted, denied or removed. A s t r e s s f u l s i t u a t i o n therefore i s determined by the balance of forces between these demands and the possible resources of the person. 6 Coping behaviour, therefore, i s defined as follows: coping consists of e f f o r t s , both action oriented and i n t r a -psychic, to manage (that i s , master, t o l e r a t e , reduce, minim-ize) environmental and i n t e r n a l demands, and c o n f l i c t s among them, which tax or exceed a person's resources. (Lazarus & Launier, 1978) This broad d e f i n i t i o n of coping has pe r s i s t e d as i t attempts to account for a vast range of possible cognitive, emotional and p h y s i o l o g i c a l responses i n addition to overt behaviours i n demanding s i t u a t i o n s . The issue of the effectiveness or in e f f e c t i v e n e s s of the coping response u t i l i z e d i s addressed by S i l v e r and Wortman (1980). According to them, e f f e c t i v e coping methods a l l e v i a t e the problem or reduce the r e s u l t i n g d i s t r e s s . I n e f f e c t i v e methods such as alcohol or drug abuse exacerbate the problem or become problems in themselves. Cognitive Appraisal F i n a l l y , a concept that i s emerging as central in stress and copng theory i s that of cognitive a p p r a i s a l . D i f f e r e n t assessments of p e r s o n a l and environmental v a r i a b l e s s i g n i f i c a n t l y i n f l u e n c e the outcomes of s t r e s s f u l encounters (Holroyd & Lazarus, 1982), therefore any study of coping must explore t h i s important dimension of the experience. Cognitive appraisal i s defined as: the mental process of placing any event i n one of a series of evaluative categories r e l a t e d either to i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e for the person's well being (primary appraisal) or to the a v a i l -able c o p i n g r e s o u r c e s and o p t i o n s (secondary a p p r a i s a l ) . (Lazarus & Launier, 1978) The importance of t h i s concept i s i l l u s t r a t e d by i t s rec u r r i n g presence i n research on divergent aspects of st r e s s (Abramson, et a l . , 1980; Holroyd & Lazarus, 1982; Lazarus & Launier, 1978; Seligman, 1975; Shontz, 1975; Wortman & Brehm, 1975). 7 CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Coping with severe stress has developed into a f i e l d of enormous complexity where frequently contradictory and c o n f l i c t i n g speculations about causal determinants of behaviour r e s u l t . D i f f e r e n t t h e o r i s t s have focused on s p e c i f i c , l i m i t e d aspects of behaviour under stress i n attempts to i s o l a t e component parts of the complex i n t e r a c t i o n s . Only recently has a s h i f t occurred towards searching for i n t e g r a t i v e and mediating r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n coping processes, i n an attempt to account for the seemingly opposing r e s u l t s of stress e l i c i t e d behaviours. Current t h e o r e t i c a l frameworks are struggling to account for i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a b i l i t y i n reactions to c r i s e s i n order to pr e d i c t the behavioural and psychological impact a r i s i n g from these experiences. Several t h e o r e t i c a l models are summarized here which are repre-sentative of the diverse speculative formulations e x i s t i n g i n the f i e l d . This s e l e c t i o n of theories i l l u s t r a t e s the h i s t o r i c a l trend towards the int e g r a t i v e , t r a n s a c t i o n a l view of the determinants of human action and reaction i n situa t i o n s of s t r e s s . In addition, they r e f l e c t the broad scope of d i s c i p l i n e s which must account for stress experiences from experimental psychology to c l i n i c a l psychology to medicine. There i s l i m i t e d research done on coping behaviour re l a t e d to sexual abuse. It i s c l e a r l y beyond the scope of t h i s paper to explore a l l the numerous severe stress s i t u a t i o n s that can be encountered i n l i f e . 8 The models presented here are: Lazarus' taxonomy of coping responses (Lazarus & Launier, 1978); Shontz's (1965, 1975) theory of reaction to c r i s i s ; Seligman's learned helplessness model (Abramson, et a l . , 1978; Seligman, 1975); and Wortman and Brehm's (1975) i n t e g r a t i v e model. Theories of Coping Behaviour Lazarus' Taxonomy of Coping Responses Lazarus has been the most prominent contributor to t h i s f i e l d for the past two decades and h i s extensive work includes many unique features. Breaking with t r a d i t i o n that laboratory research was the only v a l i d s c i e n t i f i c perspective (Lazarus & Launier, 1978), Lazarus pioneer-ed the movement toward d e s c r i p t i v e study of coping processes i n natural l i f e s e t t i n g s . In his perspective, attempts to create s t r e s s f u l conditions in an a r t i f i c i a l environment are l i m i t e d by e t h i c a l con-s t r a i n t s . Animal research i s not i l l u s t r a t i v e of the v a r i e d and uniquely human q u a l i t i e s that so greatly influence behaviour under these c o n d i t i o n s . L i k e w i s e , the l a b o r a t o r y i s r e s t r i c t i v e i n a l t e r i n g elements of the environment which so frequently occur i n c r i s e s to influence i n d i v i d u a l . reactions. Viewing the issue of experimental control as often i l l u s o r y i n respect to psychodynamic and s o c i a l processes, Lazarus considered compilation and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of data across numerous varied s t r e s s f u l s i t u a t i o n s as providing a r e l i a b i l i t y of r e s u l t s . In addition, t h i s material i s dynamic and r i c h i n revealing dimensions of human experience. P r i m a r i l y he sought to avoid the s t r u c t u r a l analyses frequently conducted i n laboratories that r e s u l t s i n 9 t r i v i a l , s t a t i c , i s o l a t e d conclusions about overt behaviours. Strong support continues for t h i s process oriented, d e s c r i p t i v e , e c o l o g i c a l approach, as a valuable prelude and adjunct to speculative determination of causal r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n stress, emotion, and coping processes. Uniquely, from the outset, Lazarus (1966) emphasized the c e n t r a l importance of cognitive appraisal as an i n f l u e n t i a l determinant of emotional responses, coping strategies and success of adjustment to a c r i s i s . Spontaneous assessments are made by i n d i v i d u a l s concerning both the element or degree of danger as well as p o s s i b i l i t i e s a v a i l a b l e to deal with i t . Appraisals are not n e c e s s a r i l y conscious, frequently occurring i n t u i t i v e l y without awareness, and depending on the circum-stances, continuously change with respect to the flow of events d e f i n i n g personal safety. Another remarkable feature of Lazarus' work i s the examination of a v a r i e t y of coping strategies and t h e i r common c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s (Lazarus & Launier, 1978). Expanding the focus of other researchers on overt actions exclusively, Lazarus i d e n t i f i e s four possible categories of coping responses: information seeking, d i r e c t action, i n h i b i t i o n of action, and intrapsychic methods. Information seeking i s designed to c o l l e c t more data for reappraisal or r e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of a s i t u a t i o n to a s s i s t i n coping, such as when a v i c t i m attends a sexual abuse le c t u r e thereby i l l u m i n a t i n g aspects of her experience. Direct action r e f e r s to overt behaviours used to cope such as screaming or s t r i k i n g out at an offender. Where overt actions could a c t u a l l y increase dangers, f r e -quently i n h i b i t i o n of action i s u t i l i z e d i n accordance with environ-mental or intrapsychic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . In the sexual abuse context, passive compliance such as pretending to be asleep while aware of the 10 occurrence of abuse i s representative of the i n h i b i t i o n of action category. F i n a l l y , the intrapsychic category includes a l l cognitive processes used to manage the s i t u a t i o n such as denial that the abuse occurred, or f a n t a s i z i n g at the time of the abuse to distance oneself. An extreme intrapsychic phenomenon frequently found i n v i o l e n t abuse cases l i k e rape i s an out of body proj e c t i o n where the v i c t i m claims to be consciously separate from the experience, yet aware of i t s occurrence and watching from a safe place. More study of t h i s d i s s o c i a t i v e experience i s required, yet the frequency of i t s reported occurrence a p t l y i l l u s t r a t e s the r i c h , complex, and dynamic resources a v a i l a b l e for coping with adversity which surfaces i n d e s c r i p t i v e research. Table 1 outlines the complex i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s of other features of coping responses elaborated by Lazarus and Launier (1978). In any stress context, the four i d e n t i f i e d coping modes can be u t i l i z e d regardless of t h e i r object, purpose or l o c a t i o n i n time. S p e c i f i c a l l y , in the context of sexual abuse, active compliant p a r t i c i p a t i o n with the sex can be considered as d i r e c t action. This response may function to avoid the use of violence thereby changing the nature of the stress between the v i c t i m and the p o t e n t i a l for harm, or i t may provide the v i c t i m with a sense of power and control thereby modifying the emotional experience. Likewise, both these purposes may be achieved simultaneous-l y with t h i s response. In the f i r s t s i t u a t i o n , the object of t h i s response i s d i r e c t e d toward the offender (or the environment), whereas in the second the object i s the v i c t i m (or the s e l f ) . Again the object (or instrumental focus) can be both the s e l f and the environment i f both functions are intended to be achieved. F i n a l l y , t h i s action i s aimed at dealing with the present which i s perceived as harmful, however the 11 response also i s designed to avert future threat, i f noncompliance would r e s u l t i n increased violence toward the v i c t i m . Temporal or i e n t a t i o n therefore influences the purpose of the coping response l a b e l l e d as the thematic character on the t a b l e , which i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s to t o l e r a t e the present harm and prevent future threat. In summary, use of t h i s scheme f a c i l i t a t e s extraction of common elements of unique s i t u a t i o n s i l l u m i n a t i n g s a l i e n t coping processes and minimizing the d i f f e r i n g environmental features. A p p l i c a t i o n to Sexual Abuse. The primary work i n examining the coping strategies used in sexual abuse has been done by Burgess and Holmstrom (1976, 1979) on the victims of rape. An extensive project was undertaken i n 1972-73 whereby a l l rape victims admitted to a Boston h o s p i t a l over a one year period were interviewed by the researchers within hours of the incident. Coping behaviours were analyzed before, during, and immediately following the attack based on the r e c o l l e c t i o n s of victims, volunteered in supportive counselling sessions. C o n s i d e r a b l e c o r r o b o r a t i o n f o r the predominant i n f l u e n c e of cognitive appraisal was obtained. Each stage of the attack i n i t i a t e d a unique cognitive appraisal requiring a d i f f e r e n t coping response i n conjunction with the immediate coping task. I n i t i a l appraisal of danger before the attack required a quick reaction to f l e e , however, once the assault was perceived as inescapable, the task became to survive. Upon assessing a termination of danger, the coping task was to escape from the a s s a i l a n t . Subsequent to the e n t i r e ordeal, new coping responses are required to deal with the job of recovery. The aftermath of the rape can be extremely traumatic depending upon support resources and the reactions of others. These findings are consistent with the t h e o r e t i c a l T A B L E 1 C O P I N G C L A S S I F I C A T I O N S C H E M E I n s t r u m e n t a l f o c u s P a s t - p r e s e n t T e m p o r a l o r i e n t a t i o n F u t u r e F u n c t i o n s A l t e r i n g t h e t r o u b l e d t r a n s a c t i o n ( i n s t r u m e n t a l ) 2. R e g u l a t i n g t h e e m o t i o n ( p a l l i a t i o n ) A l t e r i n g t h e t r o u b l e d t r a n s a t i o n ( i n s t r u m e n t a l ) 2. R e g u l a t i n g t h e e m o t i o n ( p a l 1 i a t i o n ) C o p i n g m o d e s E n v i r o n m e n t a . I n f o r m a t i o n s e e k i n g b . D i r e c t a c t i o n c . I n h i b i t i o n o f a c t i o n d . I n t r a p s y c h i c A l t e r i n g t h e t r o u b l e d t r a n s a c t i o n ( i n s t r u m e n t a l ) a . I n f o r m a t i o n s e e k i n g b . D i r e c t a c t i o n c . I n h i b i t i o n o f a c t i o n d . I n t r a p s y c h i c a . I n f o r m a t i o n s e e k i n g b . D i r e c t a c t i o n c . I n h i b i t i o n o f a c t i o n d . I n t r a p s y c h i c F u n c t i o n s R e g u l a t i n g t h e e m o t i o n ( p a l l i a t i o n ) C o p i n g m o d e s a . I n f o r m a t i o n s e e k i n g b . D i r e c t a c t i o n c . I n h i b i t i o n o f a c t i o n d . I n t r a p s y c h i c a . I n f o r m a t i o n s e e k i n g b . D i r e c t a c t i o n c . I n h i b i t i o n o f a c t i o n d . I n t r a p s y c h i c A l t e r i n g t h e t r o u b l e d t r a n s a c t i o n ( i n s t r u m e n t a l ) a . I n f o r m a t i o n s e e k i n g b . D i r e c t a c t i o n c . I n h i b i t i o n o f a c t i o n d . I n t r a p s y c h i c a . I n f o r m a t i o n s e e k i n q b . D i r e c t a c t i o n c . I n h i b i t i o n o f a c t i o n d . I n t r a p s y c h i c 2. R e g u l a t i n g t h e e m o t i o n ( p a l 1 i a t i o n ) a . I n f o r m a t i o n s e e k i n g b . D i r e c t a c t i o n c . I n h i b i t i o n o f a c t i o n d . I n t r a p s y c h i c A p p r a i s a l s T h e m a t i c c h a r a c t e r T h r e a t o r c h a l l e n g e ; m a i n t e n a n c e O v e r c o m i n g , t o l e r a t i n g , m a k i n g r e s t i t u t i o n , r e i n t e r p r e t i n g p a s t i n p r e s e n t P r e v e n t i v e o r g r o w t h - o r i e n t e d p r o c e s s e s 13 p o s i t i o n taken by Lazarus and Launier (1978), that the nature of s t r e s s , a p p r a i s a l s , and tasks requiring coping s k i l l s change over time. Burgess and Holmstrom (1976) concluded that considerable thera-peutic value exists i n examining the coping strategies used by victims at these various stages. These techniques can be v a l i d a t e d for t h e i r functional value, thereby b u i l d i n g s e l f esteem for the v i c t i m . In addition, a l t e r n a t i v e responses can be explored to increase the problem solving repertoire of the i n d i v i d u a l . Four to six years l a t e r , a follow-up study was undertaken with these same victims by Burgess and Holmstrom (1979). Adaptive s t r a t e g i e s to deal with the rape trauma were evaluated in terms of the length of time required for recovery from the assault. Recall of s p e c i f i c thoughts, f e e l i n g s , and actions were va l i d a t e d by the o r i g i n a l data, and formed the basis for c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . Victims' coping strategies were assessed in terms of s e l f esteem, defense mechanisms, actions and maladaptive responses, derived from an interview format. The researchers found that recovery from a m u l t i f a c t o r i a l stress s i t u a t i o n such as rape trauma can be f a c i l i t a t e d by the following: p o s i t i v e s e l f assessment and esteem regarding coping throughout the experience; use of conscious cognitive s t r a t e g i e s (such as explanations, minimization, suppression and dramatization) and increasing coping actions (such as moving away, t r a v e l l i n g , seeking information about rape). People unable to mobilize these responses may be more r e a d i l y i d e n t i f i e d as high r i s k for slow recovery by c l i n i c i a n s . Burgess and Holmstrom have contributed s i g n i f i c a n t l y to knowledge of the dynamics of the rape trauma syndrome and the e f f o r t s of victims to deal with the assault and the recovery. Their c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of 14 coping responses, however, based on s p e c i f i c thoughts, f e e l i n g s , and actions pertaining to the rape, i n both cases lacks the c l a r i t y , p r e c i s i o n and u n i v e r s a l i t y offered by Lazarus' schema. The innumerable s p e c i f i c d e t a i l e d i l l u s t r a t i o n s tend to d i l u t e the impact of the r e s u l t s , and make the inherent common c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s d i f f i c u l t to decipher. This i s exactly the problem Lazarus hoped to avoid by urging researchers to extract common processes to learn more about coping, rather than more about s p e c i f i c environmental contexts. It i s important to note that t h i s research has l i m i t e d a p p l i c -a b i l i t y to the experience of childhood sexual abuse and i n c e s t . Summit and Kryso (1978) were instrumental in revealing that incest i n most cases i s an ongoing process of v i c t i m i z a t i o n , rather than a single assault as in the rape s i t u a t i o n . T y p i c a l l y , the offender i s well known to the incest v i c t i m , and v i o l a t e s the t r u s t and authority of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p with the sexual a c t i v i t i e s . While Burgess and Holmstrom (1974, 1976, 1979) do not present s t a t i s t i c s of the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the offenders to these adult victims, the f a m i l i a r association between the a s s a i l a n t and the c h i l d of sexual assault i s s t a t i s t i c a l l y documented i n the Sexual Offenses Against Children (Committee on Sexual Offenses Against Children and Youths, 1984, Vol 1, p. 218). And incest, by d e f i n i t i o n , r e f e r s to a known proximate r e l a t i o n s h i p . The nature of incest i s subtly coercive, where the v i c t i m i s frequently primed over a period of years and gradually progressed through stages of fondling to intercourse, with an additional demand for secrecy at the threat of disastrous consequences. Active p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the sexual a c t i v i t i e s , normal pleasurable physical sensations, and enjoyment of the s p e c i a l attention from the offender can augment the burden of g u i l t and shame 15 experienced at the time of d i s c l o s u r e . The traumatic bonding formed with the abuser may be f e l t as a profound loss when removed, even i f the v i c t i m i s r e l i e v e d that the abuse has ended. Therefore, d i s c l o s u r e of the incest i s often a greater hardship for victims than the abuse i t s e l f . Frequently these women were either not believed when they d i d di s c l o s e as ch i l d r e n , or else the disastrous consequences l i k e family breakup and prosecution of the offender did occur, which increases the pain tremendously. So childhood sexual assault d i f f e r s greatly i n fundamental ways from rape, i n adulthood. These rape victims p r i m a r i l y had a single assault event, most l i k e l y by acquaintances or strangers, followed by immediate counselling and medical assistance. While not minimizing the pain of these women, the inces t v i c t i m nevertheless has unique stresses to cope with. S t a t i s t i c s show that between ages 6-11 i s when most incestuous events occur (Committee on Sexual Offenses Against Children and Youths, 1984, V o l . 1, p. 198), so coping a b i l i t y i s obviously l i m i t e d . One major value of Burgess and Holmstrom's (1976) research i s that victims were interviewed within hours of the attack, and l a t e r memory r e c a l l of events i n 1979 were validated by the o r i g i n a l data. Given the long term s e c r e t i v e nature of c h i l d h o o d abuse, and the e t h i c a l r e s t r a i n t s on interviewing c h i l d v i c t i m s , there i s often a lapse of several years between the incident and the r e c o l l e c t i o n by adults, which presents problems for v a l i d i t y and r e l i a b i l i t y of r e s u l t s . Generally, however, the v i v i d nature of the experience and the impact on the v i c t i m r e s u l t i n g from stress and d i f f i c u l t y i n coping, make memory of the event quite graphic and lon g l a s t i n g . In some cases, victims appear to be r e l i v i n g the event, even i n the t e l l i n g of i t . Therefore, despite the drawbacks, the differences in basic dynamics between adult rape victims and adults who experienced childhood incest or sexual abuse, re i n f o r c e the value in exploring the analogous and divergent coping s t r a t e g i e s . Summary. The impact of Lazarus' p r o l i f i c work has been widely f e l t i n research on s t r e s s . His cognitive-phenomenological approach to stress and coping has provided a strong foundation for the transaction-a l , mediational, time oriented and process oriented perspective cur-r e n t l y e x i s t i n g . Cameron & Meichenbaum's (1982) c o g n i t i v e - f u n c t i o n a l analysis of the coping process has arisen from his work. These authors explore e f f e c t i v e functioning from the aspects of cognitive a p p r a i s a l , coping response r e p e r t o i r e s , response deployment f a c t o r s , and stress recovery f a c t o r s . Stress research i s therefore providing a basis for examining adaptive processes as well as i l l u m i n a t i n g those e l i c i t e d by adversity. Lazarus has been profoundly instrumental in shaping these current dynamic, i n t e g r a t i v e approaches in stress and coping theory, as well as e s t a b l i s h i n g a t r a d i t i o n for documenting r e a l l i f e events i n a systematic manner. Shontz's Theory of Reaction to C r i s i s Working in the medical f i e l d with physical i l l n e s s and d i s a b i l i t y , Shontz (1975) focused on the various stages that people appeared to go through as they attempted to cope with a c r i s i s . While maintaining that c r i s i s d i f f e r s from stress i n the extent of psychological reorganization requiring coping, Shontz outlined the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c behavioural and emotional responses that occur before, during, and a f t e r the impact of a c r i s i s . The preimpact phase continues u n t i l r e a l i z a t i o n that ordinary coping mechanisms are not adequate, at which time considerable anxiety 17 and fear i s experienced. The f u l l impact r e s u l t s i n f e e l i n g s of helplessness, despair and loss as the person accepts the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of the c r i s i s . The impact stage also produces: 1) a shock phase, characterized by depersonalized detachment, although remarkable thought and action can occur despite t h i s ; and 2) an encounter phase, whereby the f u l l force of the emotional trauma i s f e l t . Panic, disorganization, and helplessness are experienced now as the person appears to r e l i v e the trauma. The postimpact stage also contains two dimensions. I n i t i a l l y r e t r e a t or withdrawal occurs whereby the person avoids or denies the existence or implications of the c r i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n . Retreat, i n one way, seems to operate as a protective device, warding o f f the threat of t o t a l d isorganization. F i n a l l y , acknowledgement of the ramifications of the c r i s i s occurs, and the person gradually integrates a l l aspects of the experience in a dynamic approach-avoidance (that i s , encounter-retreat) c y c l i c a l reorganizational pattern over time. Cycles decrease in frequency and i n t e n s i t y u n t i l the reorganization s t a b i l i z e s . If the c r i s i s i s used as an opportunity for growth, Shontz emphasizes that b e n e f i c i a l , h e a l t h y p e r s o n a l i t y expansion can u l t i m a t e l y r e s u l t . Lazarus and Launier (1978) concur that the effectiveness and growth derived from c r i s e s have been c r i t i c a l l y underemphasized in comparison with the pathology and f a i l u r e of coping methods. A p p l i c a t i o n to Sexual Abuse. Notman and Nadelson (1976) examined the stages of anticipatory or threat phase, impact phase, posttraumatic ' r e c o i l ' phase, and posttraumatic r e c o n s t i t u t i o n phase i n the experience of rape victims and found responses c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of c r i s i s experi-ences. These stages varied i n i n t e n s i t y and duration, depending upon the c r i t i c a l factors of unexpectedness of the misfortune, and the 18 v a r i a b i l i t y of the victim's coping resources i n t h i s p o t e n t i a l l y l i f e threatening s i t u a t i o n . A s i g n i f i c a n t influence i n r e s o l u t i o n of the trauma i s a p o s i t i v e or negative view of one's a b i l i t y to cope. Perception of adaptive responses used during the assault i n questioning one's own reactions l a t e r can f a c i l i t a t e future capacity to respond to stress and enhance s e l f esteem, whereas perception of maladaptive responses damages s e l f esteem and subsequent coping a b i l i t y . Consistent with Burgess and Holmstrom's (1976) perspective, therefore, t h i s review of psychodynamic considerations of rape supports the importance of exploring the coping strategies used by victims throughout the stages of the c r i s i s . Presentation of responses in an adaptive framework can g r e a t l y promote constructive r e s o l u t i o n , with p o t e n t i a l for personality expansion. Seligman's Learned Helplessness Model From the o r i e n t a t i o n of experimental psychology, Seligman (1975) postulated that a psychological state of helplessness occurs when an organism experiences an aversive event that i s uncontrollable. An emotional state of depression r e s u l t s and future avoidance learning i s severely impeded with repeated exposure to uncontrollable traumatic experiences. The l i m i t a t i o n s of laboratory research became evident when aversive experiences with human subjects f a i l e d to r e p l i c a t e the model's pre-dicted emotional and behavioural reactions of helplessness, p a s s i v i t y and performance d e f i c i t s , derived from work with animals. Consequently, a reformulated model was proposed by Abramson, et a l . (1978). Cognitive appraisal became much more central to the theory as helplessness was 19 viewed i n the context of a t t r i b u t i o n s of c a u s a l i t y that people make about t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s . These appraisals are categorized according to dimensions of i n t e r n a l - e x t e r n a l l o c u s of c o n t r o l ; s t a b l e - u n s t a b l e frequency of occurrence; and g l o b a l - s p e c i f i c generality across s i t u a -t i o n s . Using the sexual abuse paradigm, the revised model would p r e d i c t that helplessness, p a s s i v i t y and performance d e f i c i t s are more l i k e l y to r e s u l t i f the following cognitive b e l i e f s ensue from the experience: 1) " i t ' s my f a u l t that the abuse occurred because I'm such a bad person" ( i n t e r n a l a t t r i b u t i o n ) . 2) "there's nothing I can do to change being treated t h i s way" (stable a t t r i b u t i o n ) . 3) " a l l men are p o t e n t i a l sex offenders" (global a t t r i b u t i o n ) . S i m i l a r l y , the following b e l i e f s would be l e s s l i k e l y to produce helplessness, according to the model: 1) "my father i s responsible for the abuse because he i s the adult and should control himself" (external a t t r i b u t i o n ) . 2) "I was j u s t i n the area in the wrong place at the wrong time" (unstable a t t r i b u t i o n ) . 3) "he's the only person I've ever met who mistreated me sexually" ( s p e c i f i c a t t r i b u t i o n ) . While the reformulated model expands and enriches the o r i g i n a l learned helplessness theory, i t s therapeutic implications have not been d i r e c t l y studied. The p r e d i c t i v e power of the model i s l i m i t e d by the lack of s p e c i f i c i t y about when p a r t i c u l a r a t t r i b u t i o n s w i l l be made. What exactly determines whether a v i c t i m facing an uncontrollable experience of rape makes i n t e r n a l , stable, and global a t t r i b u t i o n s or external, unstable, s p e c i f i c ones, or some combination of both? Also 20 the model r e s t r i c t s i t s e l f to the experience of helplessness. The many other emotional r e a c t i o n s and p o s s i b l e c o p i n g mechanisms are not addressed. Nevertheless, t h i s work o f f e r s a valuable perspective and has strong i n t u i t i v e appeal. The importance of cognitive appraisal i n the experience of traumatic events has been considerably augmented by t h i s t h e o r e t i c a l framework. Wortman and Brehm's Integrative Model Seligman's (1975) h e l p l e s s n e s s model d i r e c t l y c o n f l i c t e d with Brehm's (1966) theory of psychological reactance which postulated that when freedom or control i s taken away, people respond with h o s t i l i t y , aggression, and enhanced motivation to restore i t . Wortman and Brehm (1975) developed an i n t e g r a t i v e model that i d e n t i f i e d mediating v a r i a b l e s determining the precise conditions under which reactance or helplessness would occur. The c r i t i c a l factors influencing the emotional and behavioural reactions to aversive experi-ences are: 1 ) the expectation of control over the outcome (which diminishes as the strength of the harm or threat increases); 2) the degree of importance of the threatened or eliminated outcome to the i n d i v i d u a l ; and 3) the amount of exposure to uncontrollable or aversive experiences. Figure 1 i l l u s t r a t e s the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s between these v a r i -ables . Viewed in the context of sexual abuse, the i n t e g r a t i v e model would predict that h o s t i l e and aggressive reactance i s l i k e l y to r e s u l t i n t h i s hypothetical abuse s i t u a t i o n (marked 'A' on Figure 1): a sixteen year old rape v i c t i m (some expectation of control) being 21 attacked for the f i r s t time (minimal exposure to uncontrollable out-comes) by an acquaintance on a date (importance of personal safety and i n t e g r i t y i s high). In t h i s hypothetical 'B' s i t u a t i o n , helplessness and p a s s i v i t y would be predicted by the model: a ten year old incest v i c t i m (minimal expectation of control) abused several times a week for f i v e years (high exposure to uncontrollable outcomes) by her father (importance of the victim's personal r e l a t i o n s h i p to the offender i s high). The p r e d i c t i v e accuracy of these v a r i a b l e s , unfortunately, has not been formally researched, at present, so these examples are purely speculative. Wortman and Brehm's variables c l o s e l y correspond to the four mediating factors o u t l i n e d by Lazarus and Launier (1978) which influence i n d i v i d u a l choice of the coping mode. These are: 1) degree of uncer-tai n t y ; 2) degree of threat; 3) the presence of c o n f l i c t ; and 4) the degree of helplessness. Uncertainty and threat approximate the v a r i a b l e of expectation of c o n t r o l ; the presence of c o n f l i c t occurs in the degree of importance of the threatened outcome; and helplessness arises from exposure to previously incurred harmful experiences. These s i m i l a r i t i e s r e f l e c t the value and r i g o r of the prevalent t r a n s a c t i o n a l , mediational, process oriented perspective. T h i s i n t e g r a t i v e model o b v i o u s l y does not account f o r other influences such as personality v a r i a b l e s that may a l t e r the response. In a d d i t i o n , l i k e Abramson, et a l . (1978), Wortman and Brehm's (1975) work addresses the narrow focus of either i n v i g o r a t i o n or p a s s i v i t y , although attempts are made here to e s t a b l i s h a continuum between these two extremes. S i l v e r and Wortman (1980) speculate that t h i s l i m i t e d range may be a t t r i b u t a b l e to laboratory and animal research, upon which 22 Figure 1: The Integrative Model Resultant Motivation to Exert Control High Low Expectation of No Control Reactance Low Importance ^ Outcome Helplessness High Importance Outcome High Amount of Helplessness T r a i n i n g or Exposure to Uncontrollable Outcomes 23 t h i s work i s based. Wortman and Brehm (1975) do, however, increasingly acknowledge the importance of cognitive appraisals people make in t h e i r experiences and the impact of those b e l i e f s on future behaviour. In p a r t i c u l a r , they i d e n t i f i e d the need to research people's perspectives on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the chosen coping method. In summary, the presentation of these preceding models reveals the complexity and v a r i e t y of issues, elements, and perspectives involved i n the analysis of coping behaviour. While new questions continue to emerge and methodologies change to accommodate s h i f t i n g viewpoints, the f i e l d of stress and coping does r e f l e c t an e x c i t i n g , dynamic, ongoing t r a d i t i o n of dedicated i n t e g r i t y . The r i c h foundation of knowledge offered by these people serves as a source of i n s p i r a t i o n for future i n h e r i t o r s of the awesome task of unraveling the mysteries of natural beings. 24 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY The C r i t i c a l Incident Technique J u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r the Choice of Methodology The c r i t i c a l incident technique (Flanagan, 1954) i s designed to systematically control and analyze the spontaneous tendency of people to r e c a l l events based on t h e i r experiences and observations of human in t e r a c t i o n s . Independent descriptions of important occurrences are subjected to an inductive categorization process which captures the es s e n t i a l features of an i d e n t i f i e d aim. In q u a l i t a t i v e studies such as t h i s , where the purpose i s to generate d e s c r i p t i v e data to elaborate and re f i n e e x i s t i n g theories rather than t e s t s t a t i s t i c a l hypotheses, t h i s method i s p a r t i c u l a r l y appropriate. Flanagan (1954) developed the technique during early a v i a t i o n studies i n the United States A i r Force i n World War I I . The procedure was found valuable for es t a b l i s h i n g c r i t i c a l factors that were e f f e c t i v e or i n e f f e c t i v e i n accomplishing a s p e c i f i c a c t i v i t y , such as learning to f l y or being a good leader. Nearly t h i r t y years a f t e r i t s inception, t h i s technique has proved to be widely applicable as a useful methodol-ogy f o r psychological studies. On a p r a c t i c a l l e v e l , Cohen and Smith (1976) studied group processes to reveal c r i t i c a l points requiring leadership intervention; Rimon (1979) examined nurses' perceptions of important aspects of t h e i r r o l e i n patient care; and Dachelot et a l . (1981) e l i c i t e d c o n d i t i o n s which f a c i l i t a t e d c l i n i c a l t r a i n i n g of nurses. For theory b u i l d i n g , Weiner, Rus s e l l , and Lerman (1979) c o l l e c t e d c r i t i c a l incidents to study the connection between cognitions and emotions in achievement related contexts. Flanagan (1978) conducted an impressive study gathering and compiling 6500 incidents d e f i n i n g c r i t i c a l features of the q u a l i t y of l i f e of Americans. The p r e s u p p o s i t i o n of these v a r i e d s t u d i e s i s a s u b j e c t i v e , phenomenological o r i e n t a t i o n . This approach l e g i t i m i z e s the experience and perceptions of unique i n d i v i d u a l s , and enables exploration of dimensions of human l i f e which are d i f f i c u l t to operationalize and measure q u a n t i t a t i v e l y . Recurring trends across independent p a r t i c i -pants a f f i r m or a l t e r e x i s t i n g t h e o r e t i c a l or objective knowledge. Flanagan (1978) found that subjects' r e c a l l e d events provided a r i c h and u s e f u l source of information. C o l l e c t i o n and C l a s s i f i c a t i o n of Data The C r i t i c a l Incident Technique r e f e r s both to the c o l l e c t i o n and to the analysis of data. Flanagan (1954) suggests that the c r i t e r i o n for obtaining material, through the use of interviews or questionnaires, i s to e l i c i t extreme and dramatic behaviours that s i g n i f i c a n t l y con-t r i b u t e , either p o s i t i v e l y or negatively, to the objectives being studied. These are considered ' c r i t i c a l incidents,' which are believed to be more e a s i l y i d e n t i f i e d than average behaviours. Accuracy of r e c a l l e d incidents can be determined by the a b i l i t y of the person to give f u l l , precise d e t a i l s . Vague reports indicate that an incident i s not well remembered, and data may be i n c o r r e c t . If sui t a b l e precautions are taken to obtain d e t a i l e d , f a c t u a l accounts rather than general impressions, Flanagan (1954) claims that r e c a l l e d incidents can be r e l i e d upon to provide adequate data. Flanagan (1954) d e f i n e s an i n c i d e n t as any ob s e r v a b l e human a c t i v i t y that i s s u f f i c i e n t l y complete i n i t s e l f to permit inferences and predictions to be made about the person performing the act. To be c r i t i c a l , an incident must occur i n a s i t u a t i o n where the purpose or intent of the act seems f a i r l y c l e a r to the observer and where i t s consequences are s u f f i c i e n t l y d e f i n i t e to leave l i t t l e doubt concerning i t s e f f e c t s . P r i o r to c o l l e c t i n g data, Flanagan (1954) d e t a i l s s p e c i f i c guide-l i n e s to ensure objective, clear evaluation, recording and c l a s s i f i c a -t i o n of s a l i e n t behaviours. These include a l l behaviours, both p o s i t i v e and negative, which are relevant to the objectives being studied. Included also are any actions which d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y could be expected to have a s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t on the target s i t u a t i o n , over a long period of time. However, i n t h i s case, Flanagan (1954) states that the researcher must be able to say with some confidence whether t h i s e f f e c t would be good or bad, thereby excluding borderline behaviours. The interview format, delineating the purpose of the study and the questions, must be c a r e f u l l y determined i n advance to encourage accurate e l i c i t a t i o n of the desired data. Following c o l l e c t i o n of c r i t i c a l incidents, Flanagan (1954) also delineates a s p e c i f i c set of procedures for analyzing the data i n an e f f i c i e n t , systematic manner. Using an inductive process, incidents are 27 c l a s s i f i e d according to a frame of reference a r i s i n g from the planned use for the findings. Generally, a ten t a t i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n framework, obtained by sorting a small number of incidents into p i l e s l a b e l l e d with d e s c r i p t i v e t i t l e s , i s reviewed by others. A process of r e d e f i n i t i o n of categories, and r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of incidents, occurs u n t i l a l l items are d i s t r i b u t e d . S t r i c t c r i t e r i a are outl i n e d , i n advance, for the headings of categories, which include: providing clear cut and l o g i c a l organization; conveying meanings without needing explanations; r e f l e c t -ing a sim i l a r l e v e l of importance; being neutral i n tone, with c r i t i c a l requirements defined i n p o s i t i v e terms; and are comprehensive and i n c l u s i v e of a l l s i g n i f i c a n t i n c i d e n t s . F i n a l l y , frequency counts of incidents i n each category are t a l l i e d and in t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the data are made with respect to the i d e n t i f i e d problem. When using the C r i t i c a l Incident Technique, the sample i s con-sidered to be the number of incidents obtained from the interviewing procedure, rather than the number of subjects interviewed. Only one incident i s required to form a category. Consequently the procedure for determining the s i z e of the sample i s the number of new c r i t i c a l behaviours that require c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . When r e p e t i t i v e patterns begin to develop and no new categories are formed, s u f f i c i e n t incidents have been c o l l e c t e d . R e l i a b i l i t y and V a l i d i t y of the Technique Flanagan (1954) out l i n e d that r e l i a b i l i t y of the categories i s determined by the percentage of agreement obtained when one or more independent raters c l a s s i f y the incidents according to the researcher's c l a s s i f i c a t i o n scheme. Raters are i n i t i a l l y t r a i n e d i n the method of 28 categorization used by the researcher and are instructed to sort the incidents into the appropriate categories. A c r i t e r i o n established i n advance, such as 80% agreement, determines whether categories are considered r e l i a b l e . With well formed categories and rate r s adequately trained according to the framework, good agreement can be expected. The r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y of the c r i t i c a l incident technique has been subjected to scrutiny by Andersson and Nilsson (1964), where the analysis of the job of store manager provided a ve h i c l e for exploring these important features of the methodology. Inspection of the c l a s s i -f i c a t i o n of incidents into categories and r a t i n g of data by independent judges, as well as i n q u i r i e s into the importance of the e l i c i t e d incidents resulted i n the following conclusion: According to the re s u l t s of the studies reported here on the r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y aspects of the c r i t i c a l incident t e c h n i q u e , i t would appear j u s t i f i a b l e t o conclude t h a t information c o l l e c t e d by t h i s method i s both r e l i a b l e and v a l i d . (p. 402) Subjects Sel e c t i o n of the Sample Volunteers i n t h i s study were p r i m a r i l y women who were undergoing group treatment with the Vancouver Incest and Sexual Abuse Centre Society (V.I.S.A.C.S.). The researcher worked as a co-therapist i n these treatment groups since, given the nature of the t o p i c , a c r i t i c a l feature was anticipated to be the issue of t r u s t and a b i l i t y to confide i n someone f a m i l i a r . A l l the women were undergoing group treatment v o l u n t a r i l y and a l l had experienced sexual abuse and/or incest i n childhood or early adolescence. In addition, two therapists who were themselves abuse survivors and had p a r t i c i p a t e d i n a V.I.S.A.C.S. ther a p i s t t r a i n i n g program, volunteered to be interviewed for t h i s research. F i n a l l y , one woman from the general population, upon hearing of the focus for t h i s study, volunteered to p a r t i c i p a t e a f t e r spontan-e o u s l y c o n f i d i n g her e a r l y abuse expe r i e n c e s to the r e s e a r c h e r . Consequently, the population for t h i s study consisted of women i n treatment as well as those who achieved a personally acceptable degree of resolution of the abuse. For the group members, the research question and the purpose of the study was presented at the l a s t group meeting a f t e r an eight week course of treatment. The women were asked to volunteer at that time or to approach the researcher after the meeting ended. The other women were likewise informed of the purpose and research question i n advance. Volunteers were l a t e r contacted to arrange a convenient interview time. Due to the intensely personal nature of the material, extreme care was taken to ensure uninterrupted privacy for the duration of the interview. In most cases, the women preferred to be interviewed i n t h e i r homes, and made advance arrangements to ensure privacy. The p a r t i c i p a n t s were given duplicate consent forms (see Appendix A), which were read aloud o u t l i n i n g c l e a r l y that: p a r t i c i p a t i o n was voluntary and could be terminated at any point; the interviews would be taped, however a l l data would be c o n f i d e n t i a l and tapes erased upon completion of the analysis; pseudo names could be used i f desired; and involvement i n t h i s research would i n no way a f f e c t future treatment with V.I.S.A.C.S. A l l subjects signed the consent form i n duplicate and kept one copy themselves. 30 A t o t a l of 18 adult women were interviewed altogether, out of an ant i c i p a t e d 25, from across three V.I.S.A.C.S. groups. Women who i n i t i a l l y volunteered and l a t e r changed t h e i r minds when telephoned to arrange the interview claimed they just couldn't bring i t a l l back up again, now that the group was over. Those who went through the i n t e r -view expressed a desire to help others and recognized speaking out about t h e i r experiences i n a research study as a valuable opportunity to be heard, and val i d a t e d . A l l interviews were conducted by the researcher. P r o f i l e of the P a r t i c i p a n t s The d e t a i l e d demographic questionnaire (Appendix B) produced the following p r o f i l e of the sexual abuse victims interviewed i n t h i s study. Actual s t a t i s t i c s are presented i n Tables 2 and 3. General Information. These Canadian women are an average age of 32, and are most l i k e l y to be married or l i v i n g common law, with no c h i l -dren. Currently employed outside the home in the health care profession (as nurses, t h e r a p i s t s , or mental health workers), they most frequently state Grade 12 graduation as t h e i r present educational l e v e l . These are acti v e people involved i n a wide v a r i e t y of i n t e r e s t s , and pursuing many personal hobbies and goals. Sexual Abuse Information. Seven of these women were the only female i n t h e i r family of o r i g i n , with another s i x being r e s p e c t i v e l y both the oldest and the youngest g i r l . B i r t h order with regard to other s i b l i n g s was uniform. At the onset of the sexual abuse, the average age of the v i c t i m was 5.3 years and that of the offender 37. Abuse ranged from under f i v e i s o l a t e d incidents to prolonged duration of 15 years, with the average being 6.2 years. While the frequency likewise ranged N a t i o n a l i t y Canadian: 17 American: 1 Education Grade 9: 1 Grade 10: 1 Grade 12: 8 College (BCIT): 5 University (B.A.): 1 University (Masters): 2 TABLE 2 DEMOGRAPHIC DATA — GENERAL INFORMATION 20-24: 3 25-29: 4 30-34: 6 35-39: 3 40-44: 0 45-49: 1 50-55: 0 56-60: 1 average age: 32.5 Marital Status Children Married or Common Law: 6 0: 10 Single: 4 1 : 1 Separated: 4 2: 5 Divorced: 4 3: 2 Occupation Nurse (RN): 4 Mental health worker: 4 Therapist: 3 Secretary/Clerk: 3 F l i g h t attendant/air t r a f f i c agent: Homemaker: 2 Employment Status Outside home: 14 Homemakers: 2 Unemployed/seeking jobs: TABLE 3 P o s i t i o n i n Family of Origin as female: only g i r l : 7 oldest g i r l : 6 youngest g i r l : 6 as s i b l i n g s : oldest/only g i r l : 3 2nd born: 3 3rd born: 3 youngest/only g i r l : 3 DEMOGRAPHIC DATA — SEXUAL ABUSE INFORMATION Age of Victim Age of Offender Sex of Offender Relationship to at Onset of Abuse at Onset of Abuse Victim b i r t h 2-3: 4 -5: 6-7: 8-9: 10-11 12-13 14-15 -1 : 1 13-15: 3 5 16-20: 4 4 21-25: 2 5 26-30: 2 0 31-35: 2 2 36-40: 12 0 41-45: 2 0 46-50: 3 51-55: 4 56-60: 3 Victim's average age: 5.3 Offender's average age: 37 Total number"of offenders: 37 male: female: 33 father: 11 4 acquaintance: 7 neighbour: 5 brother: 4 uncle: 4 grandfather: 2 aunt: 1 stepfather: 1 babysitter: 1 mother: 1 (7 victims had more than one offender) TABLE 3 DEMOGRAPHIC DATA — SEXUAL ABUSE INFORMATION (Continued) Type of Abuse fondling only: fondling and/or o r a l sex: fondling and/or rape (oral or vag i n a l ) : 3 fondling and/or vaginal i n t e r -course 2 fondling and/or more than one of the above: 3 physical abuse: 10 emotional abuse: 11 (name c a l l i n g , verbal abuse, etc.) Duration and Frequency of Abuse 1-5 incidents; under 1 year infrequent: frequent: 1-2 years infrequent: frequent: 3-5 years infrequent: frequent: 6-10 years infrequent: frequent: 11-15 years infrequent: frequent: over 15 years infrequent: frequent: 1 5 Current Contact Contact with Offender offender deceased: 6 family v i s i t s infrequent: 5 frequent: 4 no contact: 2 l i v e together now: 1 Most Helpful Counselling Received group therapy: 14 i n d i v i d u a l therapy: 2 no d i r e c t therapy concerning abuse: 2 Legal Action Against Offender none: 18 Average duration: 6.2 years. (Frequent means occurring on a regular basis, e i t h e r d a i l y , weekly, or monthly.) 34 from i s o l a t e d incidents to d a i l y , weekly, and monthly encounters, t h i r t e e n women reported that at some point throughout the course of the abuse, incidents occurred on a weekly bas i s . The offenders were overwhelmingly male, however abuse by four females addresses an often overlooked incidence of sexual assault by women. The most frequent r e l a t i o n s h i p s reported by eleven victims was that of natural father and daughter, revealing that incest was the prevalent form of abuse i n t h i s sample. Thirteen women claimed that severe abuse occurred i n the form of or a l or vaginal rape, o r a l sex or vaginal intercourse; the d i s t i n c t i o n being the degree of force or violence u t i l i z e d by the offender. The others reported some type of fondling or molestation. Other types of abuse including physical beatings and emotional cruelty such as name c a l l i n g , verbal abuse, and neglect, were also highly d e t a i l e d . The current l e v e l of contact with the offender v a r i e s , but victims stated most often that t h e i r abuser was now deceased. Of those s t i l l i n contact, a l l the women rela t e d some ongoing degree of d i f f i c u l t y i n t h e i r f a m i l i a l or parental r e l a t i o n s h i p with the offender. Sixteen women had received counselling d i r e c t l y pertaining to the abuse and most stated that group counselling with other victims was the most h e l p f u l treatment modality. What they l i k e d the most was the r e a l i z a t i o n that they weren't alone i n having had t h i s experience, a f t e r years of being i s o l a t e d i n secrecy and shame. Despite the counselling, these women confided p e r s i s t i n g problems such as low s e l f esteem; sexual d y s f u n c t i o n s ; r e l a t i o n s h i p c o n f l i c t s ; and f e a r of men or f u t u r e assaults. Several victims said that the abuse had affe c t e d every aspect of t h e i r l i v e s . 35 None of the wcmen had taken d i r e c t l e g a l action against t h e i r offender. In one case, a woman who t r i e d to charge her father, was t o l d to drop the charges by a detective or else her father would be j a i l e d and the family deported to t h e i r country of o r i g i n . So she did. One abuser d i d i n fact spend one night i n j a i l , when following the v i o l e n t o r a l rape of his six year old daughter, h i s wife c a l l e d the p o l i c e to detain him for verbal abuse, u n t i l he sobered up. Procedure and Data C o l l e c t i o n Assumptions For many p a r t i c i p a n t s , a s i g n i f i c a n t length of time ex i s t s between the experience of the abuse and the r e c o l l e c t i o n of incidents i n the interview. Given t h i s f a c t , the assumptions made by the researcher p r i o r to the c o l l e c t i o n of the data are i d e n t i f i e d as follows: 1) subjects w i l l r e c a l l abusive incidents i n d e t a i l as they happened; 2) the r e c a l l of incidents w i l l be e s s e n t i a l l y f a c t u a l ; and 3) subjects w i l l be able to d i s t i n g u i s h between c r i t i c a l incidents that hindered coping, and those that f a c i l i t a t e d coping. Interview Structure P r i o r to commencing the interview, the p a r t i c i p a n t s were given a de t a i l e d demographic questionnaire (Appendix B) , including basics such as age, marital status, and occupation, as well as abuse fac t s such as age at onset, duration, frequency, r e l a t i o n s h i p of offender, counselling 36 received, and l e g a l consequences. Upon completion of t h i s question-n a i r e , subjects were then interviewed by the researcher, according to the structure d e t a i l e d i n Appendix C. P i l o t Study The p i l o t study was conducted p r i m a r i l y to determine i f the pa r t i c i p a n t s could r e c a l l s p e c i f i c events that were c r u c i a l to helping or hindering coping with sexual abuse and incest. For many of these volunteers, a number of years had elapsed between the abuse and the interview, consequently i t was unclear as to how d e t a i l e d and accurate memory r e c a l l could be. Also, the study was intended to tes t the interview structure o u t l i n e (Appendix C), which was based on Flanagan's (1954) C r i t i c a l Incident Technique. Three women, who had volunteered to p a r t i c i p a t e , were interviewed for the p i l o t study. One woman had been a group therapy member and the other two were sexual abuse group leaders and counsellors. According to the demographic information, a l l three had been abused i n i t i a l l y i n childhood: one by her father for ten years, almost every day to some extent, from age seven; the second by both parents for f i f t e e n years, from b i r t h , with varied frequency; and the t h i r d by two acquaintances, once by a babysitter at age ten and l a t e r by a date at age twenty-two. The type of abuse ranged from fondling and molestation to v i o l e n t assault and c r u e l t y . Therefore, these three women were quite repre-sentative of the range, duration, and i n t e n s i t y of sexually abusive experiences. The researcher adhered to the interview structure as outlined in Appendix C. The follow-up questions were s p e c i f i c a l l y designed to 37 extract both primary and secondary cognitive appraisals; a t t r i b u t i o n s of locus of co n t r o l , consistency of occurrence and generality across s i t u a t i o n s ; emotional reactions throughout the stages of the experience; e f f e c t i v e and i n e f f e c t i v e assessments of coping responses; and personal evaluations of these incidents from a long term perspective. The women had l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t y r e c a l l i n g s p e c i f i c incidents that helped or hindered coping with the abuse, with one exception. The abuse experienced by one pa r t i c i p a n t had become such an i n t e g r a l , everyday part of her existence, for so many years, that s p e c i f i c incidents were d i f f i c u l t to i s o l a t e i n i t i a l l y . Further probing was required to f a c i l i t a t e r e c a l l and gradually c r i t i c a l experiences began emerging. Otherwise the incidents were intensely present, graphic, and emotionally arousing for the women. The r e c a l l e d incidents tended to be quite lengthy as the women provided s p e c i f i c d e t a i l s which comprised v i v i d p i c t u r e s i n t h e i r e n t i r e t y . In addition, the follow-up questions produced considerably more graphic d e t a i l s . As a r e s u l t of the p i l o t study, the researcher modified the format somewhat. One negative incident was requested and explored i n d e t a i l with the probing questions, then other negative incidents were c o l l e c t e d with questions used only to c l a r i f y s p e c i f i c d e t a i l s to complete the picture of the incident. When a l l negative incidents had been given, the women were redirected to one p o s i t i v e incident which was then explored i n depth. Further p o s i t i v e incidents were described, i f a v a i l a b l e , but not examined with the follow-up questions. The interviews t y p i c a l l y l a s t e d about one and a hal f hours. Upon c o n c l u s i o n of the i n t e r v i e w , the s u b j e c t s spontaneously claimed to have derived considerable personal value from undergoing t h i s 38 process. S p e c i f i c a l l y , they stated that conceptualizing what hindered and what helped them to cope offered deeper understanding of t h e i r options and resources under the circumstances, than they had achieved previously. In summary, the p i l o t study resulted i n valuable insi g h t s about the interview format. Victims were able to r e c a l l v i v i d l y s p e c i f i c i n c i -dents which c l e a r l y assisted or impaired coping, and they spontaneously claimed to derive therapeutic benefit from exploring coping strategies i n the evaluation procedure. Fewer incidents were c o l l e c t e d as a r e s u l t of the protracted nature of these experiences, however more d e t a i l e d exploration of dynamics occurred i n conjunction with the evaluative questions. Sexual abuse experiences appear to be by t h e i r nature " c r i t i c a l incidents." Data Analysis C r i t i c a l incidents from the taped interviews were extracted and transcribed onto pages with one incident per page. An incident was judged to be c r i t i c a l i f the subject could r e c a l l d e t a i l s of the experience and remember what i t was about that experience that helped or hindered coping with sexual abuse. Several incidents were included that could be ascertained with confidence to have had eit h e r a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e or a negative e f f e c t over time. I n i t i a l l y the incidents were categorized according to the predomin-ant theme in that experience that required coping on the part of the v i c t i m . Since coping occurs i n response to s t r e s s , these i n i t i a l categories i d e n t i f y the stress to be coped with! Within these thematic categories, incidents were again c l a s s i f i e d according to Lazarus' four 39 coping modes ( d i r e c t action, i n h i b i t i o n of action, intrapsychic methods, and information seeking) to determine which was p r i m a r i l y used by the v i c t i m i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n . Hindering and f a c i l i t a t i v e incidents were both c l a s s i f i e d i d e n t i c a l l y i n t h i s manner. R e l i a b i l i t y of Categories The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system developed was tested for r e l i a b i l i t y by two independent judges, both of whom were graduate students i n Counsel-l i n g Psychology. The judges were trained i n the category system to be used, which required making two separate decisions about the i d e n t i f i e d s t r e s s , and the coping mode used by the v i c t i m . The percentage of agreement by the judges with the in v e s t i g a t o r ' s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of incidents provided the measure of r e l i a b i l i t y . A minimum of 80% agreement was decided i n advance to indicate r e l i a b l e categories. A l l eighty-one incidents were tested by each judge. The following r e s u l t s were obtained. TABLE 4 RELIABILITY OF CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM (Percentage Agreement) Judge Stress Category Coping Mode A 90% 83% B 83% 80% 40 CHAPTER FOUR  RESULTS A t o t a l of 81 independent c r i t i c a l incidents were extracted and transcribed from the taped interviews of the eighteen female p a r t i c i -pants. Of these, f i f t y - t h r e e incidents were r e l a t e d to factors that made coping with sexual abuse very d i f f i c u l t , and twenty-eight to factors that helped the v i c t i m to cope. The average number of incidents per subj ect was four. I n i t i a l sorting resulted in three categories of i d e n t i f i a b l e stress requiring coping by the vi c t i m , which were l a b e l l e d offender, s i g n i f i -cant other, and v i c t i m . Each incident was again c l a s s i f i e d within these three categories according to the four coping modes suggested by Lazarus. Table 5 reveals the d i s t r i b u t i o n of coping modes used within each of the stress categories. Coping modes have been d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , in t h i s t a b l e , according to whether the p a r t i c i p a n t described t h i s s i t u a t i o n as hindering or f a c i l i t a t i n g coping. Below are the d e f i n i -t i o n s for each of the stress categories. Meeting the o r i g i n a l assump-tio n s , the women offered t h e i r experiences in precise, f a c t u a l d e t a i l . To capture the profound impact of these d e s c r i p t i o n s , t h e i r exact words w i l l be provided at length to i l l u s t r a t e the categories and the coping modes used i n p o s i t i v e and negative incidents. The coping mode, TABLE 5 DISTRIBUTION OF COPING MODES WITHIN THE STRESS CATEGORIES Direct Action I n h i b i t i o n of Action Intrapsychic Information Seeking T o t a l Offender 12 Hindered F a c i l i t a t e d Hindered F a c i l i t a t e d Hindered F a c i l i t a t e d Hindered F a c i l i t a t e d 11 15 1 6 3 0 0 48 S i g n i f i c a n t 17 Other 26 Victim T o t a l 30 14 16 12 81 42 information seeking, was not u t i l i z e d i n t h i s sample i n any category, therefore i s not able to be explored. Stress Categories and Coping Modes Offender As shown in Table 5, forty-eight out of the eighty-one incidents could be c l a s s i f i e d i n t h i s stress category, accounting for approxi-mately 60% of the data. Of these, t h i r t y - t h r e e were i d e n t i f i e d as incidents that made coping very d i f f i c u l t , and f i f t e e n as incidents that helped coping. D e f i n i t i o n . This category was i n i t i a l l y derived from the described acts of sexual abuse suffered by the victims. However, r e - s o r t i n g revealed that s p e c i f i c , recurring c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the offenders presupposed the p a r t i c u l a r pattern of abuse. Consequently the category heading became 'offender' rather than 'abuse'. D i s t i n c t i v e t r a i t s most frequently reported were: physical s i z e and age differences between the v i c t i m and the perpetrator; the degree of influence and authority over the v i c t i m as determined by the type of proximate, t r u s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p ; the amount of force or cr u e l t y used, as well as manipulations, coercions and seduction; the suddenness of the assault; the extent of pressure to maintain secrecy; and the frequency of exposure, including the progression of the sev e r i t y of abuse, over time. Examples r e f l e c t i n g these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are: COERCION AND PRESSURE TO MAINTAIN SECRECY -I was always coerced v e r b a l l y somehow into cooperating a l i t t l e b i t more . . . I remember him saying to me that I mustn't t e l l , i f I d i d , nobody would believe me; i f my mother found out, i t would k i l l her and I would be responsible for that. AGE, FORCE, AND SUDDENNESS -I was eight years old and he was 50, and i t was i n the middle of the night and I was asleep. He had asked me to come into bed with him and since he was r e a l l y drunk, my mother strongly suggested that I not go but he was so gentle and I often slept with either my mother or father so I went into his bed. He had asthma and he coughed a l o t and i t woke him up. He never u s u a l l y got drunk although he drank a l o t . I think he was d e l i r i o u s and crazed and out of i t . I remember whining that I was t i r e d and I wanted to sleep and the next thing I remember i s his penis being driven down my throat and being unable to breathe. PROGRESSION OF SEVERITY AND INFLUENCE OF RELATIONSHIP -Usually the abuse was sex but t h i s p a r t i c u l a r time, he wanted o r a l sex and I' d never encountered that before. I know I didn't do i t r i g h t but he c e r t a i n l y t r i e d to get me to do i t r i g h t . . . . I remember just not wanting to be there, not wanting to do i t but f e e l i n g l i k e I had no choice. He was my father and I had to do as I was t o l d . FREQUENCY OF EXPOSURE AND PROGRESSION OF SEVERITY -The abuse for me was always the s a m e — i t happened the same way at the same time in the same place from the time I was s i x but i t got harder to deal with as I got older and developed more. My father's terminology for what we were doing would make me f l i n c h but his big word was 'screw'—he'd say over and over, "when you get to be 15, we're going to screw." Well when I was nine, f i f t e e n seemed l i k e ages away. I knew what he was t a l k i n g about though. . . . I can remember when I was 13, my father decided i t was time, I was o l d enough, I was b i g enough, I could p h y s i c a l l y handle intercourse and I can remember him saying t h i s to me on the way home to my foster home a f t e r our usual evening together; he just s a i d , "I think you're old enough now." I knew my father well enough to know that the next time we were together he was going to t r y i t . MANIPULATION -He started feeding me luminal or phenobarb to relax me. He kept i n s i s t i n g i f I would relax i t wouldn't hurt; i f I would be a good g i r l and relax. He always acted l i k e i t was a medical treatment I had to have, l i k e shock treatment which of course he' d had in h o s p i t a l . So the intercourse continued with me drugged and when he took me home, he'd j u s t say I'd f a l l e n asleep on the way home. I was f i v e years o l d . SEDUCTION -I got a l o t of praise and a l o t of g i f t s from him and the other thing he said was, " t h i s i s what people do when they love each other," so t h i s I took as a sign that he r e a l l y loved me. SEDUCTION AND THREAT OF FORCE -I was seven and we were l i v i n g in a duplex and i t was the man next door. I used to go and v i s i t him and h i s wife because he'd give me candies, and then when i t was just him, he would give me a quarter and then he t o l d me to p u l l my pants down and then he would play with me. I was scared because he did threaten me. He said "I'm going to hurt you and your mom's not going to l i k e you anymore because of you doing t h i s . " INFLUENCE OF PROXIMATE RELATIONSHIP -I guess from the e a r l i e r incidents, I should have been pre-pared for what happened when I was 14 but i t never crossed my mind that a father would want to do that with h i s daughter. But when I was 14, my dad had intercourse with me. . . . I should have put i t a l l together. But he was keeping track. He asked me a couple of weeks before i f I'd l o s t my v i r g i n i t y because I needed my parents' permission to go on the p i l l , and he wanted to make sure I was on the p i l l when I started screwing around. So he knew, he was keeping track, and when I turned fourteen a few weeks before, he sa i d , "now you're l e g a l . " So i t was a l l planned out on his part as far as I can see. INFLUENCE OF RELATIONSHIP AND COERCION -I was younger, about s i x , and my dad took a l l us kids out for a ride and since he was a car dealer, t h i s was a new one, one with those windows in the back that go down. He had my brother and s i s t e r i n the back and he was playing with the window with them so they would look out the back. Then he t e l l s them that I'm sick, that I don't f e e l good and so I have to stay in the front seat. . . . He would make me l i e out f l a t on the seat and while he was d r i v i n g , he would unzip h i s pants and make me play with him and fondle him. SEDUCTION AND SUDDENNESS -My grandfather owned a store so he always had candies and he put my favourite candy in his pocket and t e l l me to go in and get i t . He had huge holes in his pockets and he didn't have any underwear on, so he would t e l l me to put my hand i n a l i t t l e farther and fondle him. 45 SEDUCTION AND INFLUENCE OF RELATIONSHIP -He'd come knocking on my door and I'd be crying a f t e r one of our f i g h t s and I'd say, "What do you want?" And he'd j u s t say, "I want to t a l k to you," and he'd sound r e a l l y nice and gentle and at that point I was so distraught that I needed comfort. And he'd come i n and put h i s arm around me and kiss me and a l l that sort of thing and t e l l me 'everything's a l r i g h t ' and then he' d s t a r t . He' d go with h i s hand to my breast and s t a r t squeezing i t and he'd always put his hand between my legs and s t a r t back and forth and I'd p u l l his hand away and say 'don't, don't' and he'd say, 'oh come on, what's the matter, I'm your father and I wouldn't do anything to hurt you' . . . of course he'd s t a r t rubbing h i s penis against my vagina and I'd say no and push him away and he'd get mad . . . I didn't want him to go a l l the way and then he'd always make i t l i k e he didn't want to go a l l the way and then he'd p u l l away and say, 'what's the matter with you, you think I wanted to fuck you or something. What's your problem? You must have a very d i r t y mind." I t ' s l i k e I had no way out. These examples c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the offenders and t h e i r actions that demand coping by the victims. A l l forty-eight incidents contain aspects such as these, and reveal that offenders t y p i c a l l y u t i l i z e several c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s simultaneously to achieve t h e i r purpose. Subsequent sorting of t h i s category i s precluded by t h i s observation, however the m u l t i l e v e l active pursuit of the v i c t i m by the offender would be obscured by further c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . Generally subjects found coping in a l l these incidents very d i f f i c u l t p r e c i s e l y because of the single-minded goal of the perpetrators, and t h e i r numerous resources and advantages to succeed. The data reveals that offenders overwhelmingly demonstrated a lack of acceptance of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for t h e i r actions, and a lack of empathy towards t h e i r victims' experience in the s i t u a t i o n . Generally coping was made even more d i f f i c u l t by the a t t r i b u t i o n of blame and responsi-b i l i t y for the abuse, placed on the v i c t i m by the perpetrator. As w i l l be shown, subjects i d e n t i f i e d an incident as f a c i l i t a t i n g coping when, as vi c t i m s , they had some impact on reducing or eliminating present or 46 p o t e n t i a l abuse. In t h i s category, only one incident pertains to an offender f a c i l i t a t i n g the victim's coping by demonstrating some degree of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the abuse in o f f e r i n g a method to avert continued e x p l o i t a t i o n . I r e c a l l a note that my brother wrote to me—why he wrote i t to me, I don't know—but i t was a note that said i f he should ever ask me again to have sex with him or to l e t him touch me, then I was to go and t e l l my mother and that he would pay me f i v e d o l l a r s . He gave me t h i s note and I kept i t and I had to use i t once. Dir e c t A c t i o n . In dealing with the stress created by the offender and the abuse, victims most frequently u t i l i z e d d i r e c t action i n t h e i r attempts to cope. Twenty-three out of the forty-eight incidents i n t h i s category reveal some form of overt behaviour demonstrated by the v i c t i m towards the perpetrator. Of these, twelve incidents were i d e n t i f i e d as hindering coping and eleven as f a c i l i t a t i n g coping. Hindering: I remember waking up, knowing he was there and h i s mouth was on me. I remember scrambling to the other side of the bed and standing up against my dresser and screaming at him to get out. I remember screaming at him not to touch me again, screaming at him that I would t e l l . I remember him saying to me that I mustn't t e l l , i f I d i d , nobody would believe me, i f my mother found out, i t would k i l l her and I would be re-sponsible for that. And I was so scared that something would happen to her, she was the only person who was nice to me. So that got me every time and i t meant I couldn't t e l l anybody. I remember whining that I was t i r e d and I wanted to sleep and the next thing I remember i s his penis being driven down my throat and being unable to breathe. His body r e a l l y f e l t l i k e a dead weight to me and he was so big and the one thing I could do to survive was to b i t e and I have a f e e l i n g that I brought blood. So now he was r e a l l y crazed and out of i t and then he t r i e d to strangle me. I remember blood coming from my mouth and then blacking o u t — i t f e l t l i k e I was dying. I was asleep but I was always on guard even i n my sleep. I never knew when I'd wake up and he'd be standing there, looking at me. I remember once being so s t a r t l e d out of my sleep and I h i t out at him—he was just standing there ready to come aft e r me and I h i t him and screamed at him to get out 47 and he ran off laughing t h i s h o r r i b l e laugh that s t i l l gives me the creeps even now. He did t h i s every single n i g h t — i t just never stopped him. I got r e a l l y confused with the projecting out of my body—I thought I could f l y and since there seemed no way to escape the games he wanted to play, I decided one time that I would ju s t f l y away with the birds and never come back. I t o l d my uncle I was going to jump o f f the c l i f f s and f l y away and he thought I meant I was going to commit suicide which wasn't what I meant at a l l but I was confused with the p r o j e c t i n g . He asked me why I wanted to do that and I said because i t was so p a i n f u l and t h i s was supposed to be a game but i t hurt so much. He said he wouldn't do that anymore but instead what he did was s t a r t feeding me luminal and phenobarb to relax me. My uncle was the f i r s t serious abuser but there were times before him when my father would s i t me on h i s lap when he had an erection which of course i s sexual abuse. But i f my uncle hadn't been so loving at a l l times except for the rape parts, I probably wouldn't have kept looking for love i n that way. It made i t worse when my father started i n on me that time when I was s i x . My mother was in the ho s p i t a l and he'd been drinking and had me on his lap. He kept saying he needed a woman, he needed a woman and of course I knew exactly what he was t a l k i n g about. So I t o l d him I could be his woman because I was r e a l l y crazy about him at that time, I thought very h i g h l y of him. So he went along with that and he had an erection so I knew what he wanted, so I was a c t u a l l y the i n s t i g a t o r because I wanted to please him. But what I wasn't prepared for and didn't expect was the physical abuse a f t e r -wards. My uncle had always praised me but my father beat me up a f t e r he had sex with me and demanded to know where I'd learned to do a l l that. My uncle had said i f I t o l d anyone and he knew how fond I was of him, that he would go back to the mental ho s p i t a l and so would I. I'd be locked up and they'd throw the key away, so I didn't t e l l him. So he punished me more after that for knowing so much about sex and not t e l l i n g him where I learned i t . He said only a whore knows st u f f l i k e t h i s . A range of overt behaviours such as pleading and protesting; screaming, s t r i k i n g out and t r y i n g to get away; threatening to t e l l ; and spontaneously b i t i n g i s presented here, i n addition to the unfortunate outcome of learning to a c t i v e l y p a r t i c i p a t e i n the sex with an i n i t i a l offender. These incidents resulted i n the occurrence of abuse anyway, an e s c a l a t i o n of abuse or a s t r e s s f u l change i n the perpetrator's 48 t a c t i c s . These consequences account for the reasons that the p a r t i c i -pants in these incidents perceived the use of d i r e c t action as hindering coping. Consistent with S i l v e r and Wortman's (1980) opinion, these methods were i n e f f e c t i v e as they exacerbated the problem (as i n the case of b i t i n g her father's penis) or became problems i n themselves (as i n the example of a c t i v e l y p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n sex). Victims, themselves, stated that they f e l t t r u l y i n e f f e c t i v e i n overcoming the various aspects of the abuse. Having had either no impact or a negative detrimental one on the offender, they were nevertheless overpowered, despite t h e i r e f f o r t s . F a c i l i t a t i n g : When I. was f i f t e e n , my mother got my brother and the two of them forced me into cunnilingus with her—my brother was older than me and bigger and i t was so disgusting and so abhorrent and I was so angry, I was p r a c t i c a l l y purple with rage. . . . I figured I had to f i n d some way to stop her . . . so I went into the kitchen and I got t h i s knife and I made sure she was the only person in the apartment. She was l y i n g on the bed and I woke her up and I put the knife to her throat and I said " i f you ever lay a finger on me again, one f i n g e r , i f you ever touch me without my consent, I ' l l get you when you're alone—you won't always have my brother around, and I ' l l k i l l you and I mean i t . " And I d i d mean i t , I was dead serious and she knew i t and having conveyed that message, I p u l l e d the knife back and I went out and she never touched me again. We went out to the o i l r i g with my dad for the day when I was ten but there was a problem so we had to stay overnight for two nights and we stayed in our camper truck. I was a f r a i d of dad coming back to the truck so I stayed awake a l l night because I f e l t as long as I stayed awake then he wasn't going to touch me. He wouldn't ever molest me when I was awake, just when I was asleep. He didn't come to the truck those two nights but I stayed awake anyway because I expected him to come i n any moment. I planned to keep him occupied by t a l k i n g when he did come in and i t r e a l l y helped to have a plan. What I learned to do even at the age of f i v e was t o — i t was the depth of penetration that was the most p a i n f u l . What I learned to do was to control that by being cooperative, by a c t u a l l y doing what he wanted me to do and a c t u a l l y making love to him more. I was able to manipulate enough so that I could be on top for instance and control the penetration 49 eventually. After weeks I was able to manage t h i s without nrojecting out of my body. I could be there and cooperate i n the sex and of course I got a l o t of praise and a l o t of g i f t s from him-I was the oldest and I started taking care of the young ones and then I wasn't alone much. I always had someone else i n tow and I avoided the basement as much as I could but i t wasn't always possible. One time when I was ten, Gramma sai d go down in the basement and get p i c k l e s out of the basement cupboard for d i n n e r — t h a t was r i g h t beside Grandpa's room where he'd grab us and molest us. . . . I asked my s i s t e r to come with me, she's a year younger and I made her go down-s t a i r s f i r s t — t h a t sounds t e r r i b l e but my plan was i f she went f i r s t and he grabbed her then I'd go get help. I didn't know that i f I went f i r s t and he grabbed me, I didn't know i f she'd go get help. So I would take control or t r y to take co n t r o l and I'd be the one to go get help. I'd check to make sure the door to h i s room under the s t a i r s was closed and then we'd go through i t to the storage area, get the p i c k l e s and run l i k e h e l l a l l the way back u p s t a i r s . My father fed me alcohol from ages s i x to twelve so I wouldn't be a f r a i d of him, and i f I had enough, I wasn't a f r a i d any-more, and I think that's what broke the whole pattern. The l a s t time I was abused by him when I was twelve, he was slapping me around afterwards but he'd given me a l o t to drink and I was quite drunk and I wasn't the le a s t b i t a f r a i d of him because t h i s was the r o u t i n e — h e was c a l l i n g me a s l u t and a whore and I said to him, " i f I'm a s l u t , you're a bigger one because you always s t a r t i t , " and that was a t e r r i b l e shock to him. He immediately backed o f f and went away—he knew I r e a l i z e d that I d i d not believe him when he said I was the one who seduced him . . . but a f t e r that the abuse stopped because I think he was so a f r a i d I might t e l l . I think he thought I blanked i t out because i t was never discussed and because I think he blanked ->t out from drinking so much. He didn't remember the things he'd done and I think that's why he fed me alcohol as we l l , hoping I'd blank i t out too. I r e c a l l a note that my brother wrote to me . . . that said i f he should ever ask me again to have sex with him or l e t him touch me, then I was to go and t e l l my mother and he would pay me f i v e d o l l a r s . He gave me t h i s note and I kept i t and I had to use i t once. He came to me and wanted to do i t and I brought out the note and I swore I would t e l l mom and he got so mad. And I asked him for the f i v e d o l l a r s and he didn't have i t and he stormed out of the house. And that was the l a s t time he ever came near me. These excerpts are characterized by actions of the victims that a l l e v i a t e d or reduced the problem, which i s S i l v e r and Wortman's (1980) 50 d e f i n i t i o n of e f f e c t i v e behaviour. Once again, therefore, the conse-quences of t h e i r actions define the perception of what f a c i l i t a t e s coping, as did what hindered coping. Having a plan appears to help v i c t i m s . Several incidents viewed as f a c i l i t a t i n g coping were characterized by premeditated, predesigned plans and where successful, victims seemed to counterbalance the power of the offenders. This was often the point at which the abuse ceased, completely. Overt actions perceived as hindering coping seem to have a desper-ate, f r a n t i c , impulsive q u a l i t y and r e s u l t i n i n e f f e c t i v e consequences. Those perceived as f a c i l i t a t i v e have co n t r o l l e d , predetermined, precise c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and are e f f e c t i v e i n outcome. The behaviours themselves are frequently the same as i n the case of active p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the sex, presented by the same woman as hindering and helping coping. A c t i v e involvement helped her in one abuse s i t u a t i o n by enabling her to control the depth of penetration and by pleasing t h i s offender who rewarded her with g i f t s and p r a i s e . This same knowledge and involvement enraged her next abuser who beat her p h y s i c a l l y for her actions, a f t e r having used her sexually. Therefore the consequences of overt actions, rather than the actual behaviours, define what hinders and f a c i l i t a t e s coping with sexual abuse. I n h i b i t i o n of Action Sixteen incidents, out of the forty-eight i n the offender stress category, reveal that i n h i b i t i o n of action was the second most f r e -quently used coping mode. Since overt actions can increase danger (and were g r a p h i c a l l y shown to have done so i n examples c i t e d above), use of 51 i n h i b i t i o n of action may often be the most appropriate coping method i n the context of sexual abuse. Nevertheless, f i f t e e n of these incidents were perceived i n t h i s study as hindering coping; only one as f a c i l i t a t -ing coping. Hindering: He forced me down on the bed and was on top of me for a mi n u t e — I t r i e d struggling but I couldn't get out from under him and in fact my struggles had moved me halfway o f f the bed so that the upper part of my shoulders and my head were pinned between the bed and the bedside t a b l e . My neck was twisted sideways and I couldn't breathe hardly at a l l . So I stopped struggling and just l e t i t happen and waited for i t to be over. But i t went on and on and my not being responsive made him even more f o r c e f u l — n o t h i n g I could do helped. I was three years o l d and my father was f i f t y - e i g h t . . . . We were s i t t i n g side-by-side watching T V — I s t i l l had chocolate i n my mouth--I don't remember how he got me between h i s legs but somehow he bent down and exposed his p e n i s — i t happened r e a l l y quickly . . . he put h i s penis inside my mouth and put i t into my l e f t cheek at f i r s t and then i t went down my throat. I remember looking up at him and i t was l i k e he was an animal—he was grunting and groaning and he smelled of g a r l i c and onions and wine, and I remember these smells. I f e l t t e r r i b l e pain i n my jaw and when i t went down my throat, I cut o f f . I couldn't breathe and I was choking—everything went dark and I couldn't hear anything anymore. The next thing I remember was a l o t of pressure on my chest with these f i n g e r t i p s bearing down on me—I'd stopped breathing and he was t r y i n g to revive me. I can remember him coming into the room and I would be very frightened and he would come into bed and I would pretend I was asleep. I just didn't acknowledge that i t was happening, and I would l i e there r i g i d with my eyes shut l i k e I was sleeping. I just didn't know what else to do. So i t con-tinued u n t i l he was f i n i s h e d with what he wanted to do, and then he would go to my s i s t e r because we were in the same bed. I was four years o l d and some boys t o l d me that ghosts were going to come and get me i f I didn't l e t them touch my body. I was r e a l l y scared by that; they were sixteen or seventeen and there were four of them and they took me to t h e i r club-house. They were touching me a l l over my body and touching me down there and I ju s t lay there. I couldn't do anything except cry--I was r e a l l y scared. And then I went to bed, and my father came into bed with me, behind me, had intercourse, got up and l e f t . I was l a y i n g 52 there i n d i s b e l i e f the whole t i m e — I j u s t couldn't believe i t r i g h t up to the l a s t moment—so I didn't struggle, I didn't f i g h t , I didn't say one word . . . i t was a l l planned out on h i s part as far as I can see, and i t a l l happened so f a s t , i t was over before I knew i t . I was eight and he was sixteen and he would sneak into my room that I shared with my l i t t l e s i s t e r and he touched me a l l over and put his fingers inside me. I would lay there and pretend to be asleep, wishing for i t to be over, wishing for him to leave, wishing for my s i s t e r to wake up or my parents who were across the h a l l to catch him. . . . They never did f i n d out about t h i s . I never t o l d them or anyone because somehow I thought i t was my f a u l t or at le a s t I was equally to blame. I n h i b i t i o n of a c t i o n , i n t h i s s t r e s s c a t e g o r y , i s t y p i c a l l y u t i l i z e d when victims perceive themselves as having no other options, or when overt actions would increase the s t r e s s . They appear to just go along with i t , l e t i t happen, and endure i t . In the extreme, i n h i b i t i o n of action i s exemplified bv becoming unconscious or passing out. Most frequently reported was the technique of pretending to be asleep while being aware of the a c t i v i t i e s of the perpetrator. These incidents reveal the degree of v u l n e r a b i l i t y of victims to v i o l a t i o n i n t h e i r own beds, while they sleep. It i s not s u r p r i s i n g , then, that they were unable to discover other options for coping, and considered these incidents as hindering coping. The consequences of i n h i b i t i o n of action, as a coping method, generally were that the abuse continued. Subjects saw themselves as completely v i c t i m i z e d and helpless i n these s i t u a t i o n s . While several of these incidents were i s o l a t e d events, i n h i b i t i o n of action was often the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c coping mode of long term abuse victims i n t h i s sample. One woman claimed that pretending to be asleep meant that she never had to acknowledge i t was happening, and consequently never had to deal with i t . Unfortunately for her, that meant i t never stopped e i t h e r , for ten years. 53 F a c i l i t a t i n g : I f i n a l l y got my own bedroom . . . but i t wasn't such a b e a u t i f u l thing because I was i s o l a t e d , and I can remember being awakened by the sensation that there was either someone in the room . . . and that my body was being touched i n pr i v a t e places. My father would touch my breasts and my vagina with h i s hands . . . and then h i s mouth was on me there. A l l I could do was t r y and maintain my breathing as i f I were asleep, as i f I were not awake—and eventually he was gone. And then there weren't any v i o l e n t interchanges, any arguments. It helped because i f I woke up suddenly and I knew I was awake and he was touching my body, then at that stage I would become v e r b a l l y abusive of h i s touching me and maybe get into f i g h t s , and that would make i t worse. The same technique of pretending to be asleep was perceived as f a c i l i t a t i n g coping when i t reduced the problem for the v i c t i m . The underlying feature of t h i s incident was that the v i c t i m had some awareness of a choice, and gained a measure of control in the incident through awareness of other options and t h e i r consequences. However, t h i s was the only incident where i n h i b i t i o n of action was viewed as helping the v i c t i m to cope with the offender. Intrapsychic. Intrapsychic techniques, including a l l cognitive processes, were used i n nine incidents i n dealing with the offender. Of these, s i x were reported in s i t u a t i o n s as hindering coping, and three as f a c i l i t a t i n g coping. Hindering: When I was two years o l d , and I think that, there was some kind of a f i g h t that went on in the household, and my father turned up and I guess i t was a l l his hatred towards women direct e d towards me, and what he t r i e d to do was b i t e my vagina out. I turned into a f r o g — t h a t was my e x p e r i e n c e — I became a frog l i k e I j u s t distanced myself from the whole thing and I had these huge bulging eyes . . . I could keep everyone away with the power of the rays coming from my eyes. It made coping very d i f f i c u l t because I became more and more alienated and i s o l a t e d and alone. Grandpa had a secret room in the basement under the s t a i r s where he kept the wheelbarrow and shovels and t o o l s , and there was a curtain that hung over the rod and he had a chair i n 54 there. We were playing hide and seek and he would grab one of us and take us i n there. I would be s i t t i n g on h i s lap and he'd be fondling me and pressing me against him and touching me and I never thought of crying o u t — i t never entered my mind to cry out. In my mind, i t was l i k e I wasn't t h e r e — I was t e r r i f i e d , I was hoping someone would f i n d me. But i n my mind, I was upstairs or out in the yard, out of the house somewhere where I f e l t safe and almost l i k e a nonparticipant, almost l i k e standing outside myself sometimes watching what was going on, sometimes being elsewhere away from there. I never thought of screaming because I wasn't there. I t wasn't happening to me. It wasn't me. I was f i v e and my uncle was eighteen—he'd just been released from a mental h o s p i t a l but I was very fond of him and we spent a l o t of time together. Because he was quite s i c k at that time, he supposedly f e l t I was h i s lover and didn't seem to r e a l i z e at a l l that he was harming me, and he t i e d me down spreadeagled and there was a l o t of foreplay and a l o t of actual lovemaking and i t would always end up i n rape. The f i r s t time e s p e c i a l l y , the thing that made i t so d i f f i c u l t for me was of course the pain and coping with that, and then the r e s u l t i n g depression because there seemed to be no way to get away from him. He was there every day- To cope with that, I projected out of my body—I watched everything that happened from above but I was completely separated as f a r as the pain was concerned. I started to do that projecting out as soon as the pain and fear came but i t wasn't a conscious decision or a n y t h i n g — i t j u s t happened i n i t i a l l y . While I was out of my body, I wasn't scared at a l l . I f e l t calm and safe and I was s i t t i n g up i n t h i s tree watching and I saw everything he d i d . This f i r s t time, I saw him carrying my body down to the lake to wash me o f f afterwards and when he put me i n the col d water, then I came to . I thought he was t r y i n g to drown me so I immediately whipped back i n t o my body. It was also the c o l d water that brought me back. The remarkable power of the mind i s exemplified in these incidents c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the intrapsychic category. Coping i s hindered i n these incidents p r i m a r i l y by the extreme force and b r u t a l i t y of the offender, rather than the consequences of actions as i n the other coping mode categories. The unique feature of the intrapsychic coping mode, i n these examples, i s that the victims gained some sense of power, safety, or distance through seemingly i n s t i n c t i v e d i s s o c i a t i v e or psychological means. While these methods appear to be e f f e c t i v e for dealing with such severe stress at the time as evidenced i n these examples. u l t i m a t e l y 55 they were i n e f f e c t i v e i n a l l e v i a t i n g or eliminating the abuse. These three subjects were long term abuse victims of three to f i f t e e n years. F a c i l i t a t i n g : I can remember l y i n g there and just not f e e l i n g that t h i s was happening. I am l y i n g on the bed and he's simulating sex and I would be in the female p o s i t i o n on my back and I lay there and j u s t would pretend that t h i s i s not happening, and t h i s i s not my father. I ju s t wouldn't equate the act with the person. I ju s t would not allow myself to f e e l any f e e l i n g s about the whole thing at a l l — e m o t i o n a l l y I was dead. I was nine and i t was hel p f u l to not fe e l the emotions because i f I f e l t them, I would probably f e e l anger. I knew I had to do t h i s because he was my father and I didn't l i k e i t , but i t would have been worse to get mad at him because he would have beaten me up. When I was eleven and I was developing, the things that my father did to me were a c t u a l l y p a i n f u l and I remember the thing that helped me the most was to daydream and fantasize and to wish that my father would get married or f i n d another woman and then he would stop using me. That kept me going through that time because I j u s t got absorbed i n t h i s fantasy and d i d n 1 t f e e l so overwhelmed by what was going on. Under l e s s severe c o n d i t i o n s , i n t r a p s y c h i c p r o c e s s e s such as emotional distancing, d e n i a l , f a n t a s i z i n g , and s e l f reassurance seem to help victims cope by allowing a safe r e t r e a t into the s e l f . Again, vi c t i m s t y p i c a l l y f e e l overwhelmed and without options yet active mental preoccupations seem to characterize t h e i r experiences at t h i s time. Similar to the i n h i b i t i o n of action coping mode, vic t i m s here seem to endure the abuse and wait for i t to end. The categories, however, are d i f f e r e n t i a t e d by the a l e r t mental exercises of s e l f t a l k or fa n t a s i z i n g that seem to function to preserve a sense of s e l f and a detachment from involvement i n the abuse. Those r e l y i n g e x c l u s i v e l y on i n h i b i t i o n of action appear more bound to the abuser and the sexual actions. A c t i v a t -ing these s e l f - o r i e n t e d resources helps to provide an escape, as explained by one woman: 56 The one thing he wanted to know was what was going on i n my mind—he knew there was something he couldn't get i n me—and I wouldn't t e l l him. I guarded t h a t — I was a f r a i d of a l o t of things he might do to me but when I fantasized about these things, I would f e e l very powerful and o p t i m i s t i c . And I would protect i t , I didn't care i f he wanted to k i l l me—he could have my body but he could never have my mind. S i g n i f i c a n t Others Twenty-six incidents were c l a s s i f i e d in the s i g n i f i c a n t other stress category, which accounts f o r 32% of the en t i r e data c o l l e c t e d . Of these, nineteen were presented as incidents that made coping very d i f f i c u l t , and seven as f a c i l i t a t i n g coping. D e f i n i t i o n . This category can be defined i n the word 'disclosure.' Twenty-one of the twenty-six items i n t h i s category pertain to the reactions of s i g n i f i c a n t other people to attempts by the v i c t i m to convey information about the abuse. Only three of these attempts were h e l p f u l for the victim! Another two situa t i o n s addressed decisions by the v i c t i m not to d i s c l o s e , one of which was nevertheless h e l p f u l to the v i c t i m . C l e a r l y these e x p e r i e n c e s compounded the s t r e s s a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g by the offender, thereby warranting separate c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and examination. Incidents were sorted into t h i s stress category which involved the c r i t i c a l reaction by a s i g n i f i c a n t person i n the victim's l i f e , occurring simultaneously with the di s c l o s u r e . The victim's coping mode was therefore the determining factor i n the incident rather than a r e s u l t i n g f a c t o r , as often the case i n the offender stress category. Because of t h i s , examples i l l u s t r a t i n g t h i s category w i l l be revealed i n the coping mode excerpts themselves. D i r e c t A c t i o n . Table 5 shows that victims were remarkably active i n t h e i r attempts to reveal the abuse and get help or support from others. Twenty incidents of overt e f f o r t s were made by subjects to 57 d i s c l o s e the abuse, only three of which were h e l p f u l . The other seventeen received negative reactions, which were p r i m a r i l y d i s b e l i e f , d e n i a l , blame, punishment, and no protection. Hindering: As I started to get sexually a c t i v e , I started getting more and more anxious as we got into the d i f f e r e n t stages because i t was bringing up more and more memories—I hadn't been bothered by them much up to that point and because i t was so d i s t r e s s i n g and my f i r s t sexual experience, except for my brother, I talked about i t with him. I t o l d him about the incidents and how t h i s made i t so uncomfortable because i t was so s i m i l a r i n sensations and he freaked out, then disappeared for four to f i v e days. . . . His whole reaction was so nuts, so crazy . . . in the context of having t o l d him and having got t h i s response, i t kind of firmed up a l l the g u i l t there was. . . . It was the f i r s t time I'd ever ri s k e d t e l l i n g anybody and what t h i s t o l d me was that i t was so t e r r i b l e that people couldn't deal with i t , so from then on, I r e a l i z e d i t was r e a l l y important not to t e l l anyone because I didn't want to deal with t h e i r reactions. I also r e a l i z e d I couldn't expect any caring or nurturing around these experiences. My nerves were getting r e a l l y bad, so my mother took me to see a p s y c h i a t r i s t and I t o l d him what was wrong and why I didn't want to l i v e there and he asked i f anyone knew about i t and I said no. I t o l d him what I was a f r a i d would happen i f I t o l d my mother—that i t would k i l l her because that's always what my father said to me. F i n a l l y he said, 'well, I ' l l just ask yo"r mother seme questions' and he s a i d , 'I won't t e l l her but I ' l l ask her some questions and we'll see how she handles things.' So he c a l l e d her i n and he asked her some questions which were r e a l l y pretty pointed questions but he wasn't t e l l i n g her outright. And she sat there and she bawled and s a i d , 'no, no, oh no, oh no' and she went on and on l i k e that. I never went to see him a g a i n — I never got to go back. It was my mother's decision and that made i t r e a l l y d i f f i c u l t for me. When my best f r i e n d announced that she'd been abused, I s a i d "sure i t happens a l l the t i m e — i t ' s been happening to me for ages.' But when they forced her to r e t r a c t her statement, even though i t was true, her father asked her where she came up with a story l i k e that anyway and she s a i d , 'well my f r i e n d s a i d i t happened to her.' So I went to her place one day and my f r i e n d had s a i d , 'I l i e d , i t never happened, I made i t a l l up,' and her dad looked at me and said, 'now I don't know i f t h i s i s happening to you or not, but i f i t i s , i t ' s something you keep in your own home. You never t e l l other people.' So I learned you don't t e l l anybody so I never talked about i t a g a i n — i n f a c t I don't think I even mentioned i t u n t i l about six months ago when we went to the abuse group. One time when we were a l l l i v i n g i n the same house which was r e a l l y small, I slept on the f l o o r and my brother slept on the couch and at night he was doing the same thing to me—sneaking up to touch me when I was asleep. This time he pul l e d my panties down and I turned on the l i g h t and I s t i l l had my panties down and my dad saw t h i s . Well of course, he didn't think i t was my brother's f a u l t because my brother had jumped back on the couch. He thought i t was me t r y i n g to make advances to my brother. He blamed me and made i t seem l i k e I was the aggressor. This made i t even worse for me—I had turned on the l i g h t so they could s e e — I mean how do you explain a s i t u a t i o n when you're a kid except to show people. After that whenever he got drunk, my father would c a l l me a whore, so I l o s t a l l confidence i n my father helping me out. People were so unaware, so stupid and unable to pick up the clues. I t r i e d to t e l l my foster mother several times before t h i s but she never got the message. I t r i e d a l l kinds of excuses to get out of our regular v i s i t s every t h i r d Tuesday at my father's house because we'd always end up having sex. None of the excuses worked though and I always ended up going out with him. One time when I protested a l o t , my foster mother said, 'Oh no, no, your father r e a l l y wants to see you, es p e c i a l l y now that you're older.' I said to her, 'yea, i f you only knew.' But she didn't pursue i t — l i k e i f someone said that to me, I'd say, ' i f I only knew what??' And a l i t t l e while l a t e r , my father arranged t h i s overnight t r i p to V i c t o r i a for the two of us. I begged and pleaded to have my fost e r mom's daughter come w'th us s I'd be safe because then he wouldn't do anything. She said , 'no, I don't think that's a good idea, besides you'd think vou'd be happy to go away and be spoiled rotten by your father, on your own.' I j u s t knew i f I went alone, we'd have a whole night of sex and that's exactly what happened. She never seemed to wonder what was behind some of those things. But i n t h i s incident, when I was s i x , what made i t most d i f f i c u l t for me was to be blamed for the sex and my mother ••• then turned i t around, once I recovered from the rape, and said i t was my f a u l t and he had a r i g h t to d i s c i p l i n e me any way he saw f i t — h e had almost k i l l e d me. I said well he didn't have the r i g h t to rape me (I didn't use the word rape, but I t o l d her in my own words what he'd done to me) and she said that she didn't believe he'd done that. She said she asked him and he said he hadn't. She also said i f I t o l d anyone those l i e s about my father, she'd l e t him get me next time—which meant she'd l e t him k i l l me. In any sexual r e l a t i o n s h i p s that I had i n my adult l i f e , I used to get flashbacks and in my marriage when things started to go bad and the stress began to b u i l d up, the flashbacks 59 became more frequent. And i t was something I could never t a l k to my ex-husband about, although I d i d t e l l him once when we were having a f i g h t over sex. One of the things he used to do was t r y to wake me in the middle of the night with h i s hand between my legs and i t used to drive me freaking r i g h t out because i t brought back a l l those memories of the night v i s i t s and touching my brother did to me when I was eight. Anyway I had t o l d my husband about a hundred times not to do that to me and one time when we were having a b a t t l e over our sex l i f e , I t o l d him I'd been sexually abused as a c h i l d . And he asked, 'how old' and I s a i d 'eight' and he asked, 'who by' and I said 'a stranger.' And he t r i e d to pry for more information but i t was prying and I knew that I couldn't r e a l l y t e l l him about i t and knowing him better today, T'm glad I never d i d . But that made me r e a l l y watchful of people—who I could t e l l , and who I could t r u s t . Taking d i r e c t action in the form of d i s c l o s i n g the abuse to others can be a very r i s k y venture, as experienced by these v i c t i m s . F e a r f u l of being blamed, expecting r e j e c t i o n , and struggling to f i n d the words to describe the abuse i t s e l f , time and again, these victims met with what they feared the most. N ^ only did the lack of support compound the trauma, i t e f f e c t i v e l y eliminated external resources for coping and established a tenacious pattern of shame, i s o l a t i o n , and a l i e n a t i o n . Obviously t h i s hindered coping for these subjects. These incidents reveal the long term detrimental e f f e c t s created by the abuse, i n the form of flashbacks and memories which perpetuate the necessity for disclosure and subsequent r i s k taking into the present. The v i c t i m continues to be vulnerable to the reactions of s i g n i f i c a n t others, long after the cessation of the abuse i t s e l f - . I l l u s t r a t e d also i s that victims frequently make attempts to d i s c l o s e which others f a i l to i n t e r p r e t c o r r e c t l y . Other attempts are misinterpreted, thereby increasing the damage to the v i c t i m . For many, the reactions of others are worse than the abuse i t s e l f , as represented by t h i s woman: Three months a f t e r my father raped me, I t o l d my best f r i e n d what had happened, and she t o l d the school mouth who t o l d the whole school. My older brother heard about i t at school and 60 that j u s t about k i l l e d me. My older brother never talked to me about i t , but he hated me for i t . My mother didn't care about me either after t h a t — s h e could see I was an a l c o h o l i c by then and she didn't even t r y to give me any help. My younger brother f e l t sorry for me, and my s i s t e r didn't b e l i e v e i t had happened. . . . The impression I got from my family was the damage was done and I was a w r i t e o f f . Nobody expected anything from me af t e r t h a t — t h a t ' s what r e a l l y bothered me about the whole thing. I never understood that part—why was I ruined? F a c i l i t a t i n g : I was sixteen and I t o l d t h i s guy I was going out with what my father did and he just hated my father and got angry and everything. It f e l t good to t e l l him but then I got mad at him because I didn't want him having anger towards my father when i t happened to me and I'm the one that has to deal with i t . So I was worried about t e l l i n g my fiancee t h i s time but the way he reacted was pretty g o o d — i t was d i f f e r e n t with him. He didn't r e a l l y l i k e my father that much but he was r e a l l y understanding—he comforted me and reassured me that t e l l i n g him didn't have any interference with our r e l a t i o n s h i p . I t helps a l o t to t a l k about i t unless the person's reaction becomes a problem because a f t e r that f i r s t time, I didn't r e a l l y want to t e l l anyone. I'm glad my fiancee i s able to leave i t between me and my dad—he doesn't have to respect him but I'm glad he doesn't take i t out on him or give him d i r t y looks or whatever. He's s t i l l my father a f t e r a l l . When I was twelve, t a l k i n g to a few friends about the rape r e a l l y helped me—and they blamed him and said what an asshole he was, that helped. It was about a week af t e r the rape and I was at my g i r l f r i e n d ' s house and we were t a l k i n g about our summer . . . and I j u s t blurted i t out. She was an older g i r l f r i e n d and so she knew about these things and she said, 'oh you should have t o l d somebody.' She just made me f e e l b e t t e r — g a v e me hugs and I was so r e l i e v e d that I could t e l l somebody because the other times, I never t o l d anybody. But t h i s time I did t a l k about i t and I think that's why I f e e l d i f f e r e n t l y about t h i s incident than the others. It helped me personally but no steps were taken s t i l l to deal with him about i t . What appeared to help these subjects was rec e i v i n g support and comfort? being believed, and having affirmation of t h e i r innocence with respect to r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the abuse. Judging from the words in the l a s t example, genuine support at the time of disclosure appears to have 61 immediate and l o n g l a s t i n g b e n e f i c i a l r e s u l t s for the v i c t i m . Unfortun-a t e l y , so few women in t h i s sample are able to confirm t h i s i n a p o s i t i v e way. The majority experienced instant and enduring detrimental e f f e c t s from t h e i r attempts to d i s c l o s e , as a r e s u l t of the negative reactions they encountered. I n h i b i t i o n of Action. Only two incidents were able to be c l a s s i -f i e d i n t h i s category, both of which r e l a t e d to d i s c l o s u r e . For t h e i r own reasons, these subjects decided not to disclose the abuse to others. One experience s t i l l benefited the, woman; the other increased her pain. Hindering: My older s i s t e r , whenever we had a confrontation of any kind, used to c a l l me a s l u t which used to h i t r i g h t to the heart. At the time, I didn't think she understood but now I know that she did and i t seems even more cruel now. She was being abused also by my brother and she knew that he was doing i t to me—that's what r e a l l y hurts me s t i l l . I remember one time when we were into one of our t y p i c a l teenage rows and just sparring back and forth and she f i n a l l y came out with c a l l i n g me a s l u t and I stomped out of the house. I just f e l t that she knew but I wasn't sure and I couldn't come out and ask her i f she d i d — a n d I f e l t very much a s l u t because of the abuse, and I thought she knew that. And she was c a l l i n g me that name and was g u i l t y of i t h e r s e l f , what r e a l l y hurts i s that apart from t h i s , my s i s t e r was my best f r i e n d but she hurt me so much t h i s way that I f e e l more betrayed bv her than by any-body. She should have protected me—she was there and she knew about i t . Even though she was young, and I was too, we could have helped each other out. But we never even discussed i t . F a c i l i t a t i n g : A f t e r my father raped me and I b i t h i s penis and he t r i e d to strangle me because I'd done that and I almost died, my mother cleaned me up and t o l d me not to t e l l anyone. He died a few months l a t e r and she proceeded to have a nervous breakdown and went t o t a l l y berserk and became l i k e the Bette Davis-Joan Crawford movies, that sort of b i z a r r e insanity and she t r i e d to k i l l me with a k n i f e . So I had a l l these secrets that I couldn't or shouldn't or wouldn't t e l l and I became very s i l e n t . . . and in school I couldn't l e a r n — I couldn't l e t anything else i n , i t was l i k e — d o n ' t l e t anything else good, bad, or i n d i f f e r e n t i n because I was t o t a l l y f u l l , of what I could carry. So I ended up mostly j u s t s i t t i n g there i n 62 school s t a r i n g o f f into space and was constantly h o l l e r e d at by teachers who had no idea what was going on. F i n a l l y my teacher sent me to a p r i n c i p a l which was probably a turning point. I couldn't cry even—I was i n l i k e a walking cata-tonia . The p r i n c i p a l who was a r e a l l y f i n e man knew that some major change had taken place because here I was i n the 4th Grade and I had never been l i k e t h i s before. I was a very good c h i l d and now I was weird. He got me to s i t down and he looked at me with tears in h i s eyes and he ju s t s a i d , 'are you having problems at home?" I just thought 'oh no, don't say that to me' but I ju s t l e t go and tore into a torrent of tears but again I could not t e l l what had happened. But I could at least s i t there with these blue eyes looking at me with tears brimming in his eyes and him f e e l i n g as helpless as I d i d . That probably saved my l i f e r e a l l y — i t j u s t meant I had one place i n time when somebody was there. As i n the d i r e c t action examples, what hindered i n the above example was to fear further r e p r i s a l and experience a lack of supportive protection; and what helped was to i n t u i t i v e l y sense genuine caring, concern, and affirmation of pain. In both cases, fear of the con-sequences of disclosure influenced t h e i r decisions to not confide i n these people. The r i s k s were considered too great, and, judging from the experiences of other women who did take the r i s k , these two most l i k e l y made a wise decision! Intrapsychic. Four incidents, revealing the influence of mental processes, i n r e l a t i o n to other people, were c l a s s i f i e d into t h i s category. One woman r e c a l l e d an incident that hindered coping for her, and three where intrapsychic processes had f a c i l i t a t e d coping. Hindering: My stepfather's f r i e n d came into my room. I was t h i r t e e n and had a b i t of a body and t h i s guy wanted me to show him what I had, and my grandmother came i n and was furious, she was r e a l l y pissed o f f . And I r e a l l y thought Why? Why i s she so angry at t h i s guy? He didn't even want to touch me, he just wanted to look at my breasts and yet I knew that she knew more things were going on and that my grandfather was being sexual with me. So I was l e f t thinking that only c e r t a i n people d i d i t and i t was OK f o r these people to do i t to me. That's the 63 only way I could sort out the confusion caused by her reac-t i o n . Inconsistent reactions by the same nerson can be extremely confus-ing for the v i c t i m who then seems compelled to c l a r i f y her thinking about the c o n f l i c t i n g messages. As seen, t h i s woman's unfortunate conclusion was that abuse by some people i s acceptable. F a c i l i t a t i n g : I also had a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p with my grandfather. He was very r e s p e c t f u l of me. He treated me l i k e I was smart. He t o l d me s t o r i e s and whenever my dad mistreated m e — l i k e he never saw my dad abuse me but there was a point when I was 5 and 6 that he l i v e d with us, him and my grandmother, and whenever my parents got mad, he'd t e l l them to leave me alone. He would intervene on my behalf, and he r e a l l y loved me. He's the only man who could love me without touching me wrong. He helped me to fee l safer and f e e l good about myself a l s o . My father abused me and my mother rejected me by plac i n g me i n my room for hours at a time day aft e r day and I would have to stay there, for two to three hours at a time alone. I remem-ber f e e l i n g p a n i c — I would f e e l rejected by my mother—I would f e e l myself inside an emotional box and I would cut r i g h t o f f . I would get into bed under the sheets, close my eyes and not be aware of much that was going on around me. I was f e e l i n g h y s t e r i c a l before and then I cut the fe e l i n g s o f f — i t helped me to r e j e c t my mother and not have to accept that she's t r e a t i n g me t h i s way, that she's just putting me i n here, cl o s i n g the door and walking away. So i t would slow things down, stop the fe e l i n g s and I'd l i e there and think about squares, f i g u r e s — m o s t l y squares—and I'd f e e l v i b r a t i o n s through my body—I'd keep myself occupied with these things for hours. I'd study the wallpaper, the shape of the room—I didn't move much. And eventually my mother would come to the door and say I could come out now. When I stayed with my aunt and uncle, I had to sleep on the couch because I almost f e l l out of the top bunk one time and i t scared them so much, they put me on the couch. But I would s t a r t o f f sleeping i n t h e i r bed and my uncle would come in and sleep with me. My aunt would stay up watching TV i n the l i v i n g room and when she came to bed, she'd move me to the couch. The fear I had then was t h i s was h i s way of getting me close to him and the f i r s t reaction I had was 'oh now h e ' l l s t a r t . ' But he never did anything to me. Most of the time, I never knew he was there. And I remember thinking at the time, how nice t h i s was because i f he wasn't doing i t to me, he wasn't doing i t to h i s g i r l s e i t h e r . I was nine at the time and I remember thinking how wonderful i t was to get a hug 64 without getting a hand down my pants as w e l l . I used to l i k e to go there and I'd go there every chance I could get. I f e l t secure there. The above are incidents that were viewed as having s i g n i f i c a n t b e n e f i c i a l impact on the victims over time including; a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p with a s i g n i f i c a n t adult; learning to be s e l f - r e l i a n t and mentally s e l f - s t i m u l a t i n g ; and not being abused i n a vulnerable s i t u a -t i o n . These factors appear to function as expanding personal and environmental resources to aid in coping for the v i c t i m . I n t e r e s t i n g l y , two of the three incidents involved having a t r u s t i n g , secure experience with a male which provided an important contrast to the abusive contact with the offender. It helped these women to r e a l i z e that not a l l men abuse c h i l d r e n . V i c t i m The stress categories of offender and s i g n i f i c a n t other contained 74 incidents, accounting for 91% of the data c o l l e c t e d . While a l l items could r e a l i s t i c a l l y be traced back to the abuse caused by the offender, a few remaini" incidents pertained more s p e c i f i c a l l y to c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the v i c t i m . with only seven e n t r i e s , the category i s by no means d e f i n i t i v e . However, an i n t e r e s t i n g feature of i t i s that only one incident was c l a s s i f i e d as hindering coping for the v i c t i m and the remaining six as f a c i l i t a t i n g coping. D e f i n i t i o n . This category i s defined p r i m a r i l y by the personal aspects of the v i c t i m which, in essence, determined her coping s t y l e subsequent to the abuse. S p e c i f i c a l l y the inner private resources of the i n d i v i d u a l are elaborated here which have either a detrimental or b e n e f i c i a l e f f e c t . The p o t e n t i a l e x i s t s for stress to be augmented by 65 these aspects, depending on how the v i c t i m perceives her experience. Fortunately, in t h i s sample, the subjects r e l a t e d inner resources which mostly helped them to cope, which i s understandable given the fact that the external environmental resources were so overwhelmingly u n r e l i a b l e . In f a c t , s i x of the seven items i n t h i s category are c l a s s i f i e d as intrapsychic phenomena. Primarily these entries reveal aspects that can be determined to have a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e or negative impact over time (Flanagan, 1954), rather than s p e c i f i c c r i t i c a l i n c i d e n t s . D i r e c t A c t i o n . One item was c l a s s i f i e d here that demonstrated the v i c t i m taking d i r e c t action against h e r s e l f in a detrimental manner. Hindering: I found that as soon as I started to think about i t or was reminded of i t , then I wasn't coping, so I didn't think of i t . And I drank a l o t and got myself i n a l l kinds of other trouble, probably to make that trouble seem minimal. I was upset for so long, I couldn't decide to l i v e or d i e . Drinking was slow death but I didn't know how to do anything else but drink. But nothing helped at that time. For me the b i g tragedy wasn't even the fact that i t happened—it was the way my family took i t . I just was always struggling to f i n d out i f something could be done about t h i s , whether the s i t u a t i o n could be helped or not or whether I should give u p — a s i n , di e . Obviously the trauma stems back to the abuse and the d i s c l o s u r e , however when the coping techniques become problems i n themselves, the inner stresses of the v i c t i m perpetuate an J compound the damage. This s e l f - d e f e a t i n g cycle eventually obscures the o r i g i n a l source of pain, and the seemingly w i l l f u l nature of s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e behaviour dim-inishes empathy from others for the victim's p l i g h t . Intrapsychic. Most of t h i s category i s contained i n the i n t r a -psychic c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , a l l of which f a c i l i t a t e d coping for these subjects. The long term damaging consequences of sexual abuse are evident i n the following excerpts. Victims continue to s t r i v e for 66 workable methods to manage the p a i n f u l , recurring thoughts and memories, long after the abuse has occurred. Fortunately the inner strengths and perspectives h a r a c t e r i s t i c of these women helped them to cope success-f u l l y , f a c i l i t a t i n g : I became very withdrawn but I developed a very a c t i v e fantasy l i f e and that was fueled by the books I read. I always l i k e d reading books on strong women and seeing TV shows on strong women—to be strong they had to go through some kind of rough childhood or a rough l i f e and they came through i t . I was always very much attracted to that. I always had a model, someone I wanted to be l i k e . The clearest one I remember i s the Bionic Woman—to me at that age, she was amazing, I thought she was b e a u t i f u l , she was honest, but strong at the same time. I mean she always said she had these f e e l i n g s , these vulnerable f e e l i n g s , she allowed he r s e l f to cry, she'd been through t h i s rough time, I guess when she died and came back as the Bionic Woman; she'd been orphaned and she made a l i f e for h e r s e l f , and she hadn't been dependent on a man. I used to watch how she did everything . . . she represented a l i f e I could have. And at the time of the abuse, I would think about i t and fantasize about her and sometimes I would fantasize, i f I were Bionic what I would do to my dad. I'd punch him out, throw him over the . . . whatever, j u s t a bunch of things. I also read about countries. I knew every c a p i t a l c i t y i n every country in Europe and I used to dream about going to far o f f places. And I'd dream about the kind of career I'd h a v e — l i k e a f l i g h t attendant. I always loved my mind. I always l i k e d the inside of me better than the outside and that's what helped. The only method of coping I had up u n t i l my mid-20's was to just suppress i t and to ignore i t as much as possible and I u s u a l l y managed to do that. The time that I was r e a l l y c l e a r about doing that p a r t l y because I had to work at i t harder than usual was when I was working at an adolescent unit and we would occasionally get incest cases. I would work with the kids with i t and found that the experience I had was useful although I didn't t a l k to them about i t . But i t gave me an understanding that helped me work with them, but then you'd f e e l a l l the crap from the p s y c h i a t r i s t who'd suggest that the female was responsible for the incest taking p a ~ an I would want so badly to say, 'now j u s t a minute, that's b u l l s h i t , I've been through i t ' and I'd r e a l i z e I couldn't do that. I couldn't t a l k about i t so I would j u s t suppress i t . Then I didn't have to deal with reactions—what frightened me more than the fact that i t happened was how people would react to 67 i t , so i f I didn't t e l l them I wouldn't have to deal with i t . If I f e l t those physical arousing sensations, also, I'd just imagine i t was a dream or block i t out to stop the memories or jus t say i t didn't happen and not think about i t . And a l l those things worked u n t i l I could handle dealing with i t d i r e c t l y . They gave me the time I needed. Everybody s t i l l thinks I'm ruined i n my family and i f I say 'oh I'm going back to school when the kids get to a cer t a i n age' everyone says, 'well don't get your hopes up because you're only C-.' But I know I can do a l o t . I was always top of my class, I was at the top of my school. I was r e a l l y proud of the fact i n Grade 8. I got an award for being the smartest kid out of about 30 0, and the next year I f a i l e d because of the rape and a l l that happened afterwards with my parents s p l i t t i n g up. I smoked dope, and drank and screwed around—the whole thing f e l l apart and nobody seems to remem-ber what I was l i k e , except me. I f e l t smart as a k i d and I f e l t happy about myself up u n t i l I was 12. My books, school, being outdoors, l o t s of things were good up u n t i l I was 12 and I remember a l l these t h i n g s — I c l i n g to them as representing the r i g h t track for me. They help me keep a l l of i t i n perspective. A c t i v e mental processes i n v o l v i n g daydreaming, f a n t a s i z i n g , remembering good things, and even denial appear to help victims manage or t o l e r a t e the stress created by the memory of p a i n f u l m a t e r i a l . Since any number of external s t i m u l i can t r i g g e r the surfacing of traumatic content, these intrapsychic resources l i k e l y function as invaluable toots i n sustaining emotional equilibrium for the v i c t i m . Cognitive Appraisals Cognitive appraisals of d e t a i l e d incidents were extracted s p e c i f i c -a l l y from the following questions asked in the interview: 1) At the time of t h i s incident, how did you assess your sense of personal safety or well being? (primary appraisal) 2) At the time t h i s happened, how did you assess your options i n terms of coping? (secondary appraisal) 68 Other questions pertained to emotional responses throughout the experience, and evaluations of the effectiveness of t h e i r coping mode. The following r e s u l t s were obtained. Primary A p p r a i s a l . The incidents were overwhelmingly s t r e s s f u l to the women, regardless of whether t h e i r coping helped or hindered them. Their primary assessments as extremely s t r e s s f u l included incidents r e f e r r i n g to past harm or loss, and future threat, as well as present abuse. Repeatedly, the following descriptions were used to assess safety: extremely threatened, l i f e threatening, t e r r i f y i n g , lonely, l o s t , t o t a l l y unsafe, overwhelmed, and very f e a r f u l . Secondary Appraisal. In incidents that hindered coping, v i c t i m s ' secondary appraisals were predominantly stated as having no options, no control and no personal or environmental resources. Nothing seemed to help them during or after the abuse and the frequent d e s c r i p t i o n was that there seemed to be no way out. In one woman's experience, "he co n t r o l l e d everything, every aspect; the way I thought, r e l a t i o n s h i p s , everything; he perverted every p o s i t i v e thing i n my l i f e and ruined i t , he made i t a l l bad." In i n c i d e n t s t h a t f a c i l i t a t e d coping, however, v i c t i m s more frequently claimed to have some options, some co n t r o l , and a sense of some personal or external resources. "Everything didn't work a l l the time; there would come a time when i t stopped working and I'd go on to something else but I always found some way to keep my head above water." The r e l a t i o n s h i p between options and resources therefore appears to be d i r e c t . Existence of i n t e r n a l or external resources increases options; and deprivation of personal or environmental resources de-creases options for coping. Options, i n essence, are resources. 69 Emotions. As noted i n primary appraisal fi n d i n g s , the emotional response to incidents hindering coping was t y p i c a l l y fear, t e r r o r , hurt, shock, betrayal, and desperation. Victims more frequently reported p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s involving hope, optimism, r e l i e f , power, and control i n incidents helping coping, although fear, t e r r o r , and emotional upset were experienced at the same time. Apparently having some options and resources increases p o s i t i v e emotional responses, which most l i k e l y r e inforces use of the chosen coping method. Eff e c t i v e n e s s . Victims evaluated t h e i r coping as i n e f f e c t i v e i n incidents hindering coping, although a number were resolved that there was nothing else they could have done d i f f e r e n t l y under the circum-stances. The predominant response to t h i s overwhelming s i t u a t i o n was helplessness, which was followed by very low self-esteem, despite e f f o r t s to take action to avert harm. Most women at t r i b u t e d responsi-b i l i t y for the abuse to the offender. Notably the u n p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of the assaults, the importance of the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the abuser to the vi c t i m , and the frequency of abusive incidents were the most s i g n i f i c a n t factors i n e l i c i t i n g a helplessness response. In incidents f a c i l i t a t i n g coping, victims were more l i k e l y to report t h e i r coping mode as e f f e c t i v e . The consequences noted e a r l i e r of preventing or minimizing abuse contributed to evaluations of e f f e c -tiveness, as d i d r e s u l t i n g emotional responses of power, c o n t r o l , and optimism, even i f unable to prevent abuse. The intrapsychic methods most frequently provided these empowering f e e l i n g s . While more re-actance responses were evident i n f a c i l i t a t i v e incidents, the primary response was s t i l l one of helplessness. Despite s e l f reports of power, c o n t r o l , and f e e l i n g good, victims predominantly described themselves as having very low self-esteem in these s i t u a t i o n s . Being e f f e c t i v e or i n e f f e c t i v e i n coping with abuse doesn't appear to counterbalance the trauma of being vic t i m i z e d in the f i r s t place. And for many, these impressions p e r s i s t : I f e e l whipped—like I had no con t r o l , someone else had complete c o n t r o l . I was nothing, j u s t a piece of meat and I was used. There was nothing about me there. The biggest thing the abuse did to me was i t made me f e e l out of control of my l i f e . It w i l l never be gone. It w i l l always be there. 71 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION AND SUMMARY Discussion of Results The four research questions i n i t i a l l y posed w i l l be presented here to provide a focus for the statement of r e s u l t s . Research Question #1. What common features concerning the dynamics  of sexual abuse are derived from the d e s c r i p t i v e accounts of victims? The experiences of these women repeatedly express a theme of power, domination, and submission within a sexual context. T y p i c a l l y at the time of abuse, the offenders were viewed as having many advantages and t a c t i c s , which allowed them to single-mindedly pursue having t h e i r needs met through the c h i l d . Victims were overpowered, and for the most part, i n e f f e c t i v e i n counteracting the determination of offenders. While c h i l d sexual abuse has p r i m a r i l y been treated as a sexual problem, these findings appear to support the view of Sgroi (1982), which challenges t h i s perception: C h i l d sexual abuse tends to be c l a s s i f i e d as a sexual problem. . . . However i n d i v i d u a l s who are sexual offenders against c h i l d r e n do not seem to be motivated p r i m a r i l y by sexual desires; instead . . . they tend to engage in sexual behaviour with children in the service of nonsexual needs, e s p e c i a l l y the need to f e e l powerful and i n c o n t r o l . Thus the dynamics of c h i l d sexual abuse involve a sexual expression or acting out of nonsexual issues. Inevitably, the offender's power p o s i t i o n in r e l a t i o n to the c h i l d v i c t i m and the c h i l d ' s perception of h i s or her subordinate role are the p r i n c i p a l determinants of what occurs between them, how i t occurs, where, when, and why i t occurs, whether or not the a c t i v i t y i s kept secret, when and under what circumstances ( i f ever) the secret i s disclosed and f i n a l l y , what occurs a f t e r the d i s -closure . Within t h i s context i t i s far more appropriate to regard c h i l d sexual abuse as a power problem. . . . (p. 2) 72 These women re l a t e d also that accidental or purposeful d i s c l o s u r e compounded trauma depending on the reactions of others to the informa-t i o n . Issues such as blame, g u i l t , protection, r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , r i v a l r y , and jealousy of special attention clouded the impact of the victim's report of abuse. Disclosure often forces a s i t u a t i o n to be dealt with that can have far-reaching disastrous consequences. L i t t l e wonder, then, that disclosure often p r e c i p i t a t e s a c r i s i s for the entire family, and why the tendency towards d i s b e l i e f and denial i s so pervasive (Sgroi, 1982, p. 33). Other dynamics of childhood sexual abuse that were substantiated by t h i s sample were: 1« the abuse was often the r e s u l t of frequent, planned encounters by someone who had ready access to the c h i l d ; 2. the offender was t y p i c a l l y someone within the c h i l d ' s sphere of d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s , and most l i k e l y to be within the family c i r c l e ; 3. the acceptable s o c i a l patterns of authority over children were exploited and misused by engaging the c h i l d i n sexual a c t i v i t y ; 4. inducements such as a misrepresentation of moral standards, playing a game, bribes, or rewards were often u t i l i z e d , meaning that force often was not required. Force or threats were used i f necessary though; and 5. the sexual a c t i v i t y u s u a l l y progressed along a continuum from exposure to fondling to some form of penetration. Research Question #2. What, i f any, are the predominant copi n g  methods used by these abuse victims? 73 These r e s u l t s " suggest that victims were remarkably active i n attempting to deal with the abuse at the time, or to get help and support a f t e r i t happened. Direct action emerged as the l a r g e s t coping mode category with forty-four items, accounting for 54% of the t o t a l c r i t i c a l i n cidents. While experiencing varying degrees of success, these subjects nevertheless t r i e d e n e r g e t i c a l l y to deal with these d i f f i c u l t s tresses. Secondly, intrapsychic and i n h i b i t i o n of action coping methods were f a i r l y evenly represented, containing nineteen (or 23% of the t o t a l ) and eighteen (or 22%) incidents r e s p e c t i v e l y . As stated e a r l i e r , however, given that active resistance could escalate the abuse, use of these passive and compliant techniques may often have proved more appropriate and adaptive. These findings contradict some of the more per s i s t e n t s o c i a l myths that c h i l d r e n seek or want sexual involvement with adults. Children seek and want love, a f f e c t i o n , and caring from adults and, based on the experience of these victims, they know that sexual involvement i s not what they are hoping f o r , even i f the physical sensations are pleasur-able. These subjects a c t i v e l y sought to avoid t h i s contact, not encourage i t . People likewise are confused about why children keep the secret or don't t e l l . While many do keep the secret due to pressure by the abuser, t h i s study revealed t h i r t e e n victims who did d i s c l o s e , eleven of whom were either ignored, misunderstood, or not believed. Research Question #3. What c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of these methods seem  to hinder coping, and what seem to f a c i l i t a t e coping? 74 Hindering Coping Methods hindering coping with the abuse i t s e l f were characterized by a desperate, f r a n t i c , haphazard q u a l i t y where victims almost i n -s t i n c t i v e l y or automatically reacted to protect themselves i n response to assault. No i n t e r n a l , intrapsychic thought process or decisions of what to do and what the consequences might be, appeared to occur. The suddenness and severity of the assault as well as the imbalance of power between the v i c t i m and the offender may account for the necessity of t h i s spontaneous r e f l e x . U n f o r t u n a t e l y these r e a c t i v e responses c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y escalated the abuse, which obviously hindered coping for the victims. The consequences of the abuse defined whether a coping method was considered h e l p f u l or harmful; and the i n d i v i d u a l circum-stances determined the methods a v a i l a b l e . With the disclosure attempts, the negative reactions of others made the coping method harmful. Being blamed, not believed or not offe r e d support were c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y the most detrimental reactions that victims experienced. After s u f f e r i n g the v i o l a t i o n of the abuser, the disappointment caused by the reactions of s i g n i f i c a n t others people was experienced as betrayal, c l o s i n g o f f a v i t a l avenue of hope and help. Sixteen out of eighteen women i n t h i s study perceived themselves as doubly powerless as a r e s u l t of such experiences. The course of v i c t i m i z a t i o n becomes complete when i n d i v i d u a l s i n t e r n a l i z e the damaging dynamics of the abuse. A l l women i n t h i s study reported low self-esteem and low self-worth as a r e s u l t of the abuse and the lack of external support. A f t e r e f f e c t s such as i n s e c u r i t y , memory r e c a l l , flashbacks, and i s o l a t i o n s i g n i f i c a n t l y influenced the victim's functioning subsequent to the abuse. Consequently the negative s e l f -image r e s u l t i n g from t h i s i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n process could be considered an important factor hindering coping. The extreme example, offered by the woman who embarked on a s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e cycle of self-abuse, i l l u s -t r a t e s the severity of the stress created by t h i s i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n process. She came to perceive a l l inner and environmental resources as deleterious, and f e l t , t o t a l l y powerless to manage the recurring pain. In summary, t h i s o u t l i n e reveals that victims, i n these noncoping s i t u a t i o n s , are in essence p werless. Despite i n s t i n c t i v e s e l f - p r o t e c -t i v e attempts, they are unable to counteract the power of the offender. Being thwarted in e f f o r t s to e l i c i t strength from others, they become intensely vulnerable to abuse, and the f i n a l i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n of s e l f -hatred and self-blame can render them completely v i c t i m i z e d . The exponential increase of powerlessness and i s o l a t i o n , occurring at each of these three l e v e l s , s i g n i f i e s the most c r i t i c a l feature of what hinders coping for the v i c t i m . F a c i l i t a t i n g Coping Methods f a c i l i t a t i n g coping with the abuse i t s e l f were character-iz e d by a c o n t r o l l e d , precise q u a l i t y , often i n d i c a t i n g a predetermined plan, which resulted in a reduction or cessation of abuse. Many victims, a f t e r years of abuse, appeared to reach a point where they were strong enough or angry enough to devise a method to counteract the power of the offender and were successful as a r e s u l t . These findings suggest that the underlying power imbalance in the abuse was corrected by the victim's discovery of i n t e r n a l or external strengths, and subsequent ap p l i c a t i o n of these resources. Victims appeared to experience an 76 increase in c o n t r o l , potency, and s e l f esteem as a r e s u l t of the p r e c i s i o n and success of these plans. With respect to the reactions of s i g n i f i c a n t others, the character-i s t i c feature which helped victims cope was being given support, reassurance, and comfort by others but most important was being be-l i e v e d . That others believed them and offered support and caring, had immediate and l o n g l a s t i n g b e n e f i c i a l e f f e c t s , a c c o r d i n g to these subjects. They not only had help to deal with the abuser, but t h e i r f e e l i n g s about the trauma were validated and t h i s helped to resolve them. Since victims do not have control over the reactions of others, obviously, the r i s k s of disclosure existed in these s i t u a t i o n s as well as those hindering coping. F i n a l l y the i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n process c r e a t i n g s e l f - s t r e s s was managed more s u c c e s s f u l l y when the v i c t i m s e x e r c i s e d i n t r a p s y c h i c techniques devised to maintain a p o s i t i v e perspective about themselves, or to distance p a i n f u l memories. Therefore low self-esteem and negative f e e l i n g s appear subject to monitoring and can be altered through cognitive processes. An i n t e r n a l equilibrium i s sustained which seems h e l p f u l in coping with the a f t e r e f f e c t s of sexual abuse. Subjects did experience some sense of control over themselves in these s i t u a t i o n s . In summary, the underlying theme of power and control emerged again in the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of methods which f a c i l i t a t e d coping. In these experiences, victims r e a l i z e d and u t i l i z e d i n t e r n a l and external means which not only helped them cope and f e e l more c o n t r o l , but which frequently resulted in the termination of abuse. These findings also support Sgroi's (1982) assertion that sexual abuse i s a power problem. Sexual abuse occurred when the abuser overpowered the v i c t i m , and often stopped when the v i c t i m was able to counterbalance the i n e q u a l i t y . The a f t e r e f f e c t s were managed more su c c e s s f u l l y with the use of methods which increased personal power. Research Question #4. What s i m i l a r i t i e s , i f any, e x i s t i n the  cognitive appraisals and evaluations made by victims about t h e i r abusive  experiences? Support for Sgroi's (1982) contention that power i s the underlying c r i t i c a l dynamic of sexual abuse ex i s t s also i n the cognitive appraisals and evaluations made by these subjects about t h e i r experiences. Primary appraisals showed that victims experienced these s i t u a t i o n s as extremely s t r e s s f u l and t e r r i f y i n g , some even l i f e t h r e a t e n i n g . Secondary appraisals revealed victims perceived themselves as having no options and no personal or environmental resources i n incidents hindering coping. In t h e i r judgement, they were powerless. In s i t u a t i o n s f a c i l i t a t i n g coping, they f e l t they had some options and some resources and t h i s perception of power enabled them to intervene s u c c e s s f u l l y i n the abusive dynamics. They were more l i k e l y to claim that they f e l t powerful and i n con t r o l , at these times. These findings support the hypothesis that power i s not only the problem underlying sexual abuse, but i t i s also the solution to the problem as w e l l . S i g n i f i c a n c e of the Study Th e o r e t i c a l S i g n i f i c a n c e These r e s u l t s support the d e f i n i t i o n of coping, proposed by Lazarus and Launier (1978). As shown, coping occurred i n response to s p e c i f i c 78 stresses which must be i d e n t i f i e d before the coping methods can be c l a s s i f i e d . In t h i s study, both environmental (offender and s i g n i f i c a n t other categories) and i n t e r n a l ( v i c t i m category) demands were evident that taxed and exceeded i n d i v i d u a l resources. Support for the r e l i a b i l -i t y of these stress categories was obtained by the substantial agreement (90%, and 83% respectively) of the two independent judges. Both a c t i o n o r i e n t e d and i n t r a p s y c h i c coping responses were described c l e a r l y by the subjects, enabling c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of methods according to Lazarus and Launier's (1978) scheme. R e l i a b i l i t y of the coping mode categories by the two judges was acceptable at 83% and 80% agreement, r e s p e c t i v e l y . The following features became apparent during the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n process which substantiated the t h e o r e t i c a l framework of Lazarus and Launier (1978): 1. the four coping modes were separately i d e n t i f i a b l e and f a c i l i -tated extraction of s a l i e n t coping processes, while minimizing the unique environmental contexts; 2. a l l four coping modes were independent of t h e i r object, purpose or l o c a t i o n in time, therefore were applicable i n any stress context; and 3. the nature of s t r e s s , appraisals, and tasks r e q u i r i n g coping s k i l l s changed over time, so that at any point during the experience, a d i f f e r e n t coping method may be u t i l i z e d . A problem in c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of coping modes can a r i s e from the changing nature of coping over time. Burgess and Holmstrom (1976), who delineated the d i f f e r e n t stages of rape assault, observed the changes i n coping to coincide with p a r t i c u l a r tasks at each stage. The c r i t i c a l incident technique seems p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f i c i e n t at enabling focus on s p e c i f i c aspects of the experience and i d e n t i f y i n g coping s k i l l s at each stage. One c r i t i c a l incident therefore t e c h n i c a l l y may need to be broken down to c l a s s i f y the coping s k i l l used at each stage. Also, c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s encumbered when the v i c t i m uses more than one coping method at once, and forced choice of the predominant technique used can r e s u l t i n less agreement of categories by judges. Confusion can also r e s u l t from the sometimes overlapping nature of the coping modes. In h i b i t i o n of action, f or example, i s frequently u t i l i z e d i n accordance with intrapsychic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , consequently the incident could be c l a s s i f i e d in d i f f e r e n t categories, by two independent judges. Despite these problems, t h i s study determined considerable support for the t h e o r e t i c a l work of the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of coping behaviour by Lazarus. In addition, the incidents previously presented convey a r i c h depth and o f f e r profound insights into the experience of victims of sexual abuse, which was Lazarus' goal in encouraging d e s c r i p t i v e , e c o l o g i c a l study of s t r e s s f u l s i t u a t i o n s . The indepth exploration of both h e l p f u l and harmful incidents appeared to confirm the important r o l e of cognitive appraisals i n coping with severe stress. The perceptions of options and resources was instrumental in f a c i l i t a t i n g coping, despite the i n i t i a l assessment of the s i t u a t i o n as s t r e s s f u l . Furthermore, these findings suggest support for the mediating variables i d e n t i f i e d by Wortman and Brehm (1975) in t h e i r i n t e g r a t i v e model. As predicted, these women were most l i k e l y to e l i c i t a response of helplessness under the following conditions: 1. the assault was sudden, unpredictable, or severe (expectation of control was low); 80 2. the offender was a r e l a t i v e , i n p a r t i c u l a r a natural father (importance of the r e l a t i o n s h i p was high); and 3. the v i c t i m had experienced numerous previous assaults (exposure to uncontrollable outcomes was high). Reactance responses were evident in the descriptions of experiences by some subjects, revealing that the r e s t r i c t i v e focus on helplessness i n Abramson et a l ' s (1978) reformulated model does not enable adequate p r e d i c t i o n of behaviour under s t r e s s . Wortman and Brehm's (1975) in t e g r a t i v e model operates more e f f e c t i v e l y with i t s continuum of reactance to helplessness responses. Unfortunately, not enough reac-tance responses were obtained to f a c i l i t a t e checking the p r e d i c t i v e a b i l i t y of the model. Even in incidents helping coping, the subjects perceived themselves p r i m a r i l y as helpless. Most l i k e l y the s e v e r i t y of abuse experienced by these v i c t i m s , as well as t h e i r age at onset of abuse and the duration of exposure, accounts for the predominance of helplessness. Further research i s required to determine the model's a b i l i t y to predict reactance responses under st r e s s . Nevertheless, given the fact that t h i s model i s previously untested, these i n i t i a l findings o f f e r encouraging corroboration for these t h e o r e t i c a l proposi-t i o n s . F i n a l l y , the reports by the subjects confirm many of the character-i s t i c behavioural and emotional responses o u t l i n e d by Shontz (1975) i n his theory of reaction to c r i s i s . While i s o l a t e d c r i t i c a l incidents obviously do not comprise the en t i r e process of reaction and recovery, the panic, disorganization, helplessness, and shock reported by many of these victims confirms that sexual abuse for them constituted a c r i s i s experience. Consistent with the findings of Notman and Nadelson (1976), 81 subsequent coping a b i l i t y appeared to depend on negative or p o s i t i v e assessments of one's reactions during the c r i s i s . P r a c t i c a l S i g n i f i c a n c e Similar to the conclusions of Burgess and Holmstrom (1976), and Notman and Nadelson (1976), these r e s u l t s support the therapeutic importance of exploring the coping strategies used by victims during the abuse. Knowing that responses were adaptive and appropriate within the power context of sexual abuse enables victims to p o s i t i v e l y a l t e r t h e i r c o g n i t i v e e v a l u a t i o n s , which w i l l g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e f u t u r e c o p i n g a b i l i t y . Also t h i s counselling process encourages exploration of a l t e r n a t i v e responses, i f any, that can increase the problem s o l v i n g r e p e r t o i r e of the i n d i v i d u a l . Therefore focusing on coping methods f a c i l i t a t e s r esolution of the trauma of sexual abuse. C l a s s i f i c a t i o n of these coping methods, as shown, has served to refute some of the more pe r s i s t e n t common myths about sexual abuse. This study demonstrated that c h i l d r e n were remarkably a c t i v e in attempts to deal with, avoid, or protect themselves from abuse. Also, from the numerous disclosure attempts revealed here, they may not be so invested in the secrecy as previously thought. However, a disturbing adjunct to the sexual abuse i t s e l f may be the compounded trauma caused by the d i s b e l i e f and lack of support by other people in a p o s i t i o n to help. C h i l d r e n are p e r f e c t t a r g e t s f o r v i c t i m i z a t i o n with t h i s double j eopardy. The recurring theme of power and control in the victims' attempts to deal with abuse has been repeatedly shown to support Sgroi's (1982) p o s i t i o n that sexual abuse should be viewed as a power problem. The 82 p r a c t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s perspective i s that i f sexual abuse i s a power problem, then the solution i s to empower chil d r e n with informa-t i o n , knowledge, and resources to enable them to protect themselves from being abused. As shown in t h i s study, victims who r e a l i z e d and u t i l i z e d i n t e r n a l or external resources achieved much more success i n coping with and even stopping the abuse. These findings give considerable v a l i d i t y to Recommendation 2 proposed i n Sexual Offenses A g a i n s t C h i l d r e n (Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths, Vol. 1., 1984), which states: one of the p r i n c i p a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of the program . . . that i s established i n conjunction with the O f f i c e of the Commissioner . . . be concerned with the development and implementation of a continuing national program of p u b l i c education and health promotion focussing s p e c i f i c a l l y on the needs of young children and youths i n r e l a t i o n to the preven-t i o n of sexual offences and affording better protection for c h i l d r e n , youths and adults who are v i c t i m s . (p. 44) Empowering children with knowledge and s k i l l s for s e l f - p r o t e c t i o n can only occur when society accepts the pervasive occurrence of sexual abuse, and recognizes the importance of increasing coping options for c h i l d r e n . Many adults unwittingly increased the s u f f e r i n g of these v i c t i m s by being unable to believe that sexual abuse happens among friends and r e l a t i v e s . That some adults believed yet offered no protection i s i n t o l e r a b l e , yet frequently predictable given the power dynamics of the incestuous family. The Committee's recommendation a f f o r d s the o p p o r t u n i t y to circumvent those problems with p u b l i c educational awareness through f i l m s , t e l e v i s i o n programs, and school presentations. Children themselves w i l l know that: 1) abuse can occur with someone you know; 2) i t ' s important to say 'no' to unwanted touching; 3) t h e i r bodies are t h e i r own and no one should touch them without t h e i r permission; 4) i t ' s important to t e l l someone about 83 unwanted touching and to keep t e l l i n g u n t i l someone believes you; and f i n a l l y , 5) i t ' s not the c h i l d ' s f a u l t that bad touching happens, the adult i s responsible. These r e s u l t s s i g n i f y the c r i t i c a l r o l e played by s i g n i f i c a n t other people at the time of dis c l o s u r e . I t i s important that adults undergo education and awareness so they can believe t h e i r c h i l d , and also that t h e i r spontaneous reaction to the disclosure w i l l have a b e n e f i c i a l rather than detrimental impact upon the c h i l d . In addition, adults have a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to confront the consequences of t h i s disclosure with the primary consideration being the protection of the c h i l d from further abuse. While considerable support may be required to achieve t h i s , nevertheless, i t i s e s s e n t i a l to intercept the v i c t i m i z a t i o n process of the c h i l d rather than contribute to i t . Protection of the c h i l d from further abuse and confronting the consequences of abuse constitutes a c r i t i c a l change i n the treatment recovery process of victims (Sgroi, 1982, p. 144). Therefore, experiencing t h i s at the time of disclosure would l i k e l y have an impact on the v i c t i m i n a profoundly b e n e f i c i a l way. Recommendations f o r Future Research Replication of t h i s study with adult women who experienced c h i l d -hood sexual abuse would reveal the r e l i a b i l i t y and accuracy of long term memory r e c a l l , which i s a concern i n t h i s research. Also r e p l i c a t i o n of t h i s study with victims who recently experienced abuse would reveal any s i m i l a r i t i e s or differences created by long term and short term memory r e c a l l . F i n a l l y , a c r i t e r i o n could be established such as having 84 experienced abuse before or after one year from the time of the i n t e r -view. In t h i s way, the two groups could be compared and the r e s u l t s correlated to determine the e f f e c t s of time on the memory r e c a l l of coping methods used during abuse. Considerable value exists i n repeating t h i s study with victims of recent abuse, regardless of determining the e f f e c t of memory r e c a l l . It would be important to know whether current awareness of sexual abuse i s helping c h i l d r e n to cope with the stress of abuse, d i s c l o s u r e , and other a f t e r e f f e c t s . We need to know whether s i g n i f i c a n t other people are more protective of victims or whether they continue to compound the damage, as in t h i s study. We also need to know i f victims are using information seeking as a coping method and i f they are being helped by the informa-t i o n they receive. That no women in t h i s study used information seeking as a resource i s important. I t may be possible to t e s t the hypothesis that seeking information about the dynamics of sexual abuse has a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e e f f e c t on s e l f - e s t e e m and subsequent c o p i n g a b i l i t y , whereas not seeking information has a negative e f f e c t . This has i n t u i t i v e appeal since learning about the dynamics can r e l i e v e the v i c t i m of g u i l t , r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and self-blame. It also can reduce the i s o l a t i o n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the v i c t i m i z a t i o n process and increase environmental resources for coping, thereby enhancing options. Other research i s required to more cl o s e l y examine the reformulated model of helplessness (Abramson, et a l . , 1978), and the i n t e g r a t i v e model of response to stress (Wortman & Brehm, 1975). S p e c i f i c a t t r i b u -tions of cognitive b e l i e f s such as locus of c o n t r o l , s t a b i l i t y , and g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y must be studied to more f u l l y understand the percep-t i o n s of v i c t i m s . Also the conditions under which reactance responses 85 occur must be established, and comparisons explored between the charac-t e r i s t i c s of victims who respond with helplessness and those with reactance. Both these models can serve to c l a r i f y and predict important aspects of reactions to stress, i f adequately researched. In reference to the dynamics of sexual abuse i t s e l f , considerable knowledge could be gained from exploratory studies, s i m i l a r to t h i s one, compiling d e s c r i p t i v e accounts of abusive experiences by offenders, and disclosure incidents by s i g n i f i c a n t other people. Independent studies into the perspectives of these i n f l u e n t i a l figures in the dynamics of abuse would shed even more l i g h t on what the v i c t i m copes with. With treatment groups currently being conducted for offenders and nonoffend-ing parents, t h i s work i s becoming increasingly f e a s i b l e . L imitations of the Study The primary drawback of t h i s study i s that i t i s based upon the long term memory r e c a l l of abusive incidents. Despite the fa c t that these c r i t i c a l experiences were s t i l l profoundly arousing for the subjects, the accuracy and r e l i a b i l i t y of long term memory r e c a l l i s suspect. While v e r i f i c a t i o n of facts by offenders and s i g n i f i c a n t others involved in these incidents would be invaluable, t h i s data i s v i r t u a l l y impossible to obtain. The importance of long term memory i s diminished in t h i s study, however, by the focus on the subjective, d e s c r i p t i v e accounts of c r i t i c a l events. Personal perspectives are being e l i c i t e d as data, and the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n procedures are designed to accommodate i n d i v i d u a l 86 d i f f e r e n c e s . The goal of t h i s study i s to evoke the subjective experi-ence of people, even with t h e i r biases, rather than to obtain v e r i f i a b l e f a c t u a l accuracy of events. Nevertheless, r e p l i c a t i o n of the r e s u l t s of t h i s study with victims who just experienced abuse may be d i f f e r e n t for the following reasons: 1. the d i f f e r e n t i a l exposure to uncontrollable events may influence memory r e c a l l of c r i t i c a l incidents depicting s p e c i f i c coping methods. For example, an incident where d i r e c t action was used may be easier to remember than twenty incidents revealing i n h i b i t i o n of action, however for the v i c t i m of a recent i s o l a t e d assault, i n h i b i t i o n of action would be r e a d i l y i d e n t i f i e d . Therefore c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of coping methods may appear s u b s t a n t i a l l y d i f f e r e n t with long term and short term memory r e c a l l . 2. the current media attention on sexual abuse including prevention or protection s k i l l s i s l i k e l y to greatly influence a sample of vict i m s having suffered abuse within the l a s t few years, thereby producing d i f f e r e n t r e s u l t s i n a r e p l i c a t i o n study. It i s pos-s i b l e , for example, that the reactions of s i g n i f i c a n t others to the disc l o s u r e may be less s t r e s s f u l for a sample of recent v i c t i m s , due to greater awareness and readiness of adults to protect c h i l d r e n . It i s also possible that information seeking would be u t i l i z e d more as a coping method now, since more knowledge ex i s t s about the entire subject. Another l i m i t a t i o n of t h i s study r e f e r s to the unrepresentativeness of t h i s sample. These subjects were action-oriented women who sought the help of a therapy, support group and who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h i s research. Therefore the action-oriented nature of t h e i r coping with 87 sexual abuse may r e f l e c t a personal s t y l e towards l i f e i n general. Also t h e i r involvement in group therapy may have triggered r e c a l l of c e r t a i n types of abuse memories, depending on the shared experiences of other group members. General i z a b i l i t y of the r e s u l t s of t h i s study are l i m i t e d , therefore, u n t i l r e p l i c a t i o n of t h i s research with other v i c t i m s , preferably those not in therapy groups, c l a r i f i e s the influence of these v a r i a b l e s . F i n a l l y , since no s t a t i s t i c a l hypotheses were formed and tested, the r e s u l t s of t h i s study are not d e c i s i v e . The purpose of t h i s study was to probe and explore an important aspect of human experience, and to compile the data into a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n scheme. Subsequent research with quantitative methodology i s required to produce conclusive r e s u l t s . Summary The r e s u l t s of t h i s research show that childhood sexual abuse i s experienced as a stress s i t u a t i o n of serious magnitude. The stress i s manifested in environmental demands involving the abuser and s i g n i f i c a n t others, and i n t e r n a l pressures of the s e l f , during an es c a l a t i n g process of v i c t i m i z a t i o n . S p e c i f i c a l l y t h i s study suggests that the problem of sexual abuse, and the sol u t i o n , are f l i p sides of the same underlying dynamic of power inherent i n t h i s process of v i c t i m i z a t i o n . Abuse occurs because of the powerlessness and v u l n e r a b i l i t y of chi l d r e n , and likewise can stop when chi l d r e n are empowered with knowledge and s e l f - p r o t e c t i v e s k i l l s . The implications of t h i s perspective encourage and contribute to the need 88 for p u blic education programs to protect children through knowledge and awareness. The d e s c r i p t i v e accounts present numerous examples of the v a r i e t y and complexity of resources subsumed in the three coping mode categories u t i l i z e d in t h i s sample. Wherever possi b l e , victims employed methods to counteract the power imbalance of the abusive experiences. Remarkably, they were extremely active i n t h e i r attempts to protect themselves, often with disastrous consequences. Despite the power imbalance, these excerpts reveal a remarkable human w i l l to survive i n the face of such great adversity. This unyielding nature evokes both r e l i e f and awe, i n our compassion for the s u f f e r i n g of these people. Considerable support for various t h e o r e t i c a l frameworks in the f i e l d of coping behaviour i s suggested by t h i s research. Results reveal the r i g o r of the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of coping modes across c r i t i c a l i n -cidents of abuse, and show the importance of cognitive appraisals i n infl u e n c i n g behaviour. Further research i s recommended h i g h l i g h t i n g other aspects of appraisals and reactions to s t r e s s . F i n a l l y , t h i s research contributes s u b s t a n t i a l l y to the l i m i t e d focus on the coping behaviour of sexual abuse v i c t i m s . The experience of childhood sexual abuse and incest has been shown to warrant s p e c i f i c attention due to i t s uniquely s t r e s s f u l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . V 89 APPENDIX A CLIENT CONSENT FORM TITLE OF PROJECT: Coping S k i l l s of Incest and Sexual Abuse Victims The purpose of t h i s study i s to explore i n depth the various techniques and methods used by the victims of incest and sexual abuse to cope with t h e i r experiences of abuse. I agree i n t h i s study to be interviewed about these aspects of my abusive experiences, by C e c i l i e P h i l l i p s . I am aware that C e c i l i e P h i l l i p s i s a train e d therapist and group leader for the Vancouver Incest and Sexual Abuse Society. I understand that the interview w i l l be approximately one hour i n duration, w i l l be audio tape recorded, and that my i d e n t i t y and information w i l l be e n t i r e l y c o n f i d e n t i a l . I am aware that, depending on my preference, only my f i r s t name or a pseudo-name can be used to protect my i d e n t i t y and that a l l information w i l l be destroyed from the tapes upon completion of the analysis of the information. I know that any i n q u i r i e s concerning these procedures can be made at any time before or during the interview as well as any questions upon completion of the study. I have the r i g h t to refuse to p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s study or withdraw at any time i n the interview without jeopardy to further treatment at V.I.S.A.C.S. I hereby consent to p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s study I hereby acknowledge that I have received a copy of the consent form. CP:pg 90 APPENDIX B DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE PARTICIPANT NUMBER: General Information: 1. What i s your n a t i o n a l i t y ? 2. What i s your ethnic origin? 3. What i s your age? 4. What i s your marital status? 5. What i s your occupation? 6. Are you presently employed outside the home? 7. Do you have any brothers and s i s t e r s ? If so, give t h e i r ages and sex. 8. Were any of them abused also? 9. Do you have any children? If so, how many? 10. What i s your current l e v e l of education? 11. What are your future education plans, i f any? 12. what are your i n t e r e s t s or hobbies? Sexual Abuse Information: 1. What was your age at the onset of the abuse? 2. How long did the abuse l a s t ? 3. How frequently did the abuse occur? 4. What was the sex of the offender? 5. What was the age of the offender when the abuse began? 6. What r e l a t i o n s h i p , i f any, d i d you have with the offender? 91 7. what i s your current l e v e l of contact with the offender? 8. What counselling, i f any, did you receive r e l a t e d to the abuse? 9. What was the most h e l p f u l counselling you received? 10. What l e g a l action, i f any, was taken i n connection with the abuse? 11. What was the outcome of any l e g a l action taken? 12. Have you experienced any other kind of abuse ( i n addition to sexual abuse)? If so, please be s p e c i f i c . 92 APPENDIX C Procedures: "Before we begin, I w i l l explain to you the procedures that I am required to follow. "I am taping the interview so that I can l i s t e n to the interview again and write down the main ideas from i t . No one else w i l l l i s t e n to the tape and I w i l l erase i t aft e r completion of t h i s study. You may refer to yourself and others with pseudo names i f you wish or not use any names at a l l to ensure c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y . "You are not required to p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s research and your involvement w i l l not a f f e c t future treatment with V.I.S.A.C.S. If you decide, at any time, that you do not wish to be interviewed, l e t me know and I w i l l stop the interview. "Do you have any questions you would l i k e to ask me before we begin?" Introduction: "The study I am doing i s to f i n d out what helped or what didn't help people to cope with t h e i r experiences of incest and sexual abuse. I'd l i k e to know i n s p e c i f i c d e t a i l the ways you learned or discovered that helped you to cope with the abuse as well as the s p e c i f i c things that you did or others did that made coping d i f f i c u l t , or made you f e e l l i k e you couldn't cope any more." 93 Negative Incidents: "We'll s t a r t with the things that happened that hindered or made coping very d i f f i c u l t . Think back to a s p e c i f i c time when you found i t very d i f f i c u l t to cope. What did you do or what happened to make you f e e l t h i s way? Take the time to think of a s p e c i f i c incident i n as much d e t a i l as po s s i b l e . When you have an incident i n mind c l e a r l y , l e t me know. . . ." Follow-up Questions: "At the time of t h i s incident, how did you assess your sense of personal safety or well being? "Also, at the time t h i s happened, how did you assess your options i n terms of coping? "To what extent did you f e e l you had control i n t h i s s i t u a -tion? "How important was t h i s incident to you at the time? "Who did you f e e l was responsible for t h i s incident at the time, as a c h i l d ? " "Who do you f e e l was responsible for t h i s incident now, as an adult? "Was there anything anyone else could have done to help you cope d i f f e r e n t l y i n t h i s situation? " I f you could wish for or fantasize for something to have helped you at the time, what would i t have been? "Did you f e e l that the way you coped was e f f e c t i v e or i n e f f e c -t i v e ? Why was i t e f f e c t i v e ( i n e f f e c t i v e ) ? 94 "What were the predominant feel i n g s you had before, during, and after the abuse incident? "Were you aware of your f e e l i n g s at the time? "How d i d you f e e l about yourself i n t h i s incident at the time, as a child? "How did you f e e l about the offender i n t h i s incident at the time, as a child? "How do you f e e l about yourself now, looking back at t h i s incident as an adult? "How do you f e e l about the offender now, looking back at t h i s incident as an adult? "What does t h i s incident mean to you now? "How resolved do you f e e l you are about these experiences? "Do you have anything else you'd l i k e to add? "Think of another time. . . ." etc. P o s i t i v e Incidents; "Now I'd l i k e you to think of a s p e c i f i c time when you f e l t you were able to cope with the abuse. In as much d e t a i l as po s s i b l e , please be s p e c i f i c about what things helped you to f e e l as i f you were able to cope. What did you do or what happened to you to make you f e e l t h i s way? 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