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Experiences of the mother as the non-offending parent in intra-familial sexual abuse Charles, Martine Aline 1987

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EXPERIENCES OF THE MOTHER AS THE NON-OFFENDING PARENT IN INTRA-FAMILIAL SEXUAL ABUSE By MARTINE ALINE CHARLES B.S.W., The U n i v e r s i t y of Calgary, 1985 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA J u l y 1987 ©Martine A l i n e C h a r l e s , 1987 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 it 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 is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 DE-6(3/81) ABSTRACT T i t l e : Experiences of the mother as the non-offending parent i n i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse. Although there i s an i n c r e a s i n g amount of l i t e r a t u r e on the area of c h i l d s e xual abuse, there i s a dearth of i n f o r m a t i o n on the experiences of mothers f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . I l l u m i n a t i the i s s u e s of mothers f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e i s necessary i n for m u l a t i n g t h e r a p e u t i c procedures w i t h these women and t h e i r f a m i l i e s . This q u a l i t a t i v e study explored the experiences of f i v e mothers whose c h i l d r e n were s e x u a l l y abused by a f a t h e r or step f a t h e r . One and a h a l f to two hour videotaped i n t e r v i e w s were conducted u t i l i z i n g a general i n t e r v i e w guide. The f i n d i n g s were c a t e g o r i z e d i n t o three areas: Reaction to D i s c l o s u r e , Changing S o c i a l R e l a t i o n s h i p s , and Hea l i n g Process. Emerging from these three c a t e g o r i e s were two themes th a t appeared to l i n k the c a t e g o r i e s . These themes were the importance these women placed on t h e i r r o l e as p r o t e c t o r of t h e i r c h i l d r e n , and the s t r u g g l e s w i t h r o l e or r e l a t i o n s h i p d i s r u p t i o n s . i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Abs t r a c t i i Table of Contents i i i Chapter: I . I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 I I . L i t e r a t u r e Review & G r i e f Model as Framework 6 I I I . Methodology 24 Method Sampling Data C o l l e c t i o n R e l i a b i l i t y and V a l i d i t y Data A n a l y s i s IV. F i n d i n g s 39 Themes Category 1: Reactions to D i s c l o s u r e Category 2: Changing S o c i a l R e l a t i o n s h i p s Category 3: Healing Process V. Conclusion 62 I n t e g r a t i o n of F i n d i n g s and L i t e r a t u r e S o c i a l Work I m p l i c a t i o n s L i m i t a t i o n s of Study Questions f o r Future Research B i b l i o g r a p h y 88 Appendix A - Questionnaire 90 Appendix B - Consent Form 92 Appendix C - Sample T r a n s c r i p t 93 Appendix D - P r e l i m i n a r y C l u s t e r i n g of T r a n s c r i p t Codes 122 Appendix E - Agency Approval f o r Research 123 Appendix F - U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia E t h i c a l Approval 124 - 1 -CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION So c i e t y ' s i n a b i l i t y to acknowledge c h i l d sexual abuse has obscured the extent of i t s occurrence. Although sexual abuse has been o c c u r r i n g f o r ye a r s , i t was not u n t i l the mid-1970's that c h i l d sexual abuse f i r s t began to appear on the agenda of mental h e a l t h p r o f e s s i o n a l s ( F i n k e l h o r , 1986). One p a r t i c u l a r component of c h i l d sexual abuse that has had l i t t l e emphasis i n the l i t e r a t u r e i s that of mothers whose c h i l d r e n were abused by t h e i r c h i l d ' s f a t h e r or f a t h e r - f i g u r e . As there i s a dearth of i n f o r m a t i o n on how c h i l d sexual abuse impacts on the mothers of these c h i l d r e n , t h i s study explores the experiences of these women. Throughout t h i s paper the terms "mother" and "non-offending parent" w i l l be used interchangeably as 90 to 95 percent of offenders are male ( R u s s e l l , 1986; B u t l e r , 1985; F i n k e l h o r , 1984; F i n k e l h o r & H o t a l i n g , 1983). Although u s i n g a genderless term such as "non-offending parent" obscures the f a c t that men are g e n e r a l l y the p e r p e t r a t o r s of sexual abuse, the widespread use of the term i n the l i t e r a t u r e warrants i t s i n c l u s i o n i n t h i s paper. As the mother's r e a c t i o n to i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse i s the focus of t h i s research study, i t i s important to e s t a b l i s h a d e f i n i t i o n of sexual abuse. Although there are numerous terms and d e f i n i t i o n s o f f e r e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e , f o r the purpose of t h i s study i n t r a - f a m i l i a l c h i l d sexual abuse w i l l be defined by two c r i t e r i a : sexual contact (from f o n d l i n g to anal and v a g i n a l p e n e t r a t i o n ) and a p r e e x i s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p between the adult p e r p e t r a t o r and the abused c h i l d ( G e l i n a s , 1983). A p r e e x i s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p between the p e r p e t r a t o r and v i c t i m i s a - 2 -s i g n i f i c a n t component as a p e r i p h e r a l f a m i l y member may have had a d i s t a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the c h i l d p r i o r to the abuse which i s a d i f f e r e n t dynamic than a c l o s e f a m i l y member as p e r p e t r a t o r . " I t i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p , not the b i o l o g y that i s betrayed" ( G e l i n a s , 1983, p. 313). Therefore, i n a d e f i n i t i o n of i n c e s t , only f a m i l y members who had a r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the c h i l d , as w e l l as non-family members such as a mother's b o y f r i e n d or common-law who a l s o had a r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the c h i l d , would be i n c l u d e d . The l e g a l system makes a d i s t i n c t i o n between i n c e s t ( s e x u a l i n t e r c o u r s e between blood r e l a t i v e s ) and other forms of c h i l d sexual abuse. From-a c l i n i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e these d i s t i n c t i o n s are not n e c e s s a r i l y important. Whether a c h i l d i s fondled or fo r c e d to have i n t e r c o u r s e , the i n i t i a l trauma i n v o l v e d can be s i m i l a r . A c h i l d who was fondled may s u f f e r the same degree of trauma as another c h i l d who experienced f o r c e d p e n e t r a t i o n . From a c h i l d ' s p e r s p e c t i v e , there i s o f t e n no d i s t i n c t i o n between a blood r e l a t i v e and an adul t who f u n c t i o n s as a parent and i s not a blood r e l a t i v e . As s t a t e d above, i t i s the p r e e x i s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p that i s betrayed f o r the c h i l d , r e g a r d l e s s of blood t i e s . Over time, however, the l i k e l i h o o d of recovery f o r the c h i l d i s h i g h l y r e l a t e d to the nature of the abuse. Sexual contacts that are not f o r c e f u l , and do not i n v o l v e " i n t r u s i v e p h y s i c a l v i o l a t i o n are l e s s l i k e l y to r e s u l t i n l a s t i n g harm" (Herman, R u s s e l l , T r o k i k , 1985, p. 12). There i s no research evidence, as y e t , that explores the r e l a t i o n s h i p between recovery and the nature of the abuse f o r mothers. I t i s important to note that although there i s u s u a l l y an assumption that c h i l d s e x u a l abuse i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y harmful f o r a c h i l d , from a research s t a n d p o i n t , the evidence i s i n c o n c l u s i v e (Henderson, 1983; - 3 -F i n k e l h o r , 1979). Due to the l a c k of c o n c l u s i v e evidence regarding p s y c h o l o g i c a l harmfulness, i t i s important to perceive c h i l d sexual abuse as wrong from an e t h i c a l s t a n d p o i n t . F i n k e l h o r notes that because c h i l d r e n are incapable of t r u l y consenting to sexual a c t i v i t y w i t h an a d u l t , i t i s wrong. "For tru e consent to occur, two c o n d i t i o n s must p r e v a i l . A person must know what i t i s that he or she i s consenting t o , and a person must be f r e e to say yes or no" ( F i n k e l h o r , 1979, p. 694). C h i l d r e n l a c k the i n f o r m a t i o n about a l l the permutations of s e x u a l i t y , and i n a l e g a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l sense are not f r e e to say yes or no due to t h e i r t o t a l dependency on parent s . U t i l i z i n g t h i s argument, even i f many cases are discovered where c h i l d r e n enjoyed the sexual experience, i t can s t i l l be deemed wrong because the c h i l d r e n had not t r u l y consented. Having a c l e a r understanding of why c h i l d sexual abuse i s wrong gives mothers whose c h i l d r e n were s e x u a l l y abused by a partner freedom to be angry, upset, or traumatized f o l l o w i n g a d i s c l o s u r e . With t h i s understanding, mothers cannot be t o l d they are o v e r r e a c t i n g , or that the sexual a c t i v i t y was i n s i g n i f i c a n t and harmless because the p e r p e t r a t o r was a f a t h e r . For the purpose of t h i s study the d e f i n i t i o n of i n c e s t was narrowed to i n c l u d e only a f a t h e r , s t e p - f a t h e r , or f a t h e r - f i g u r e . This narrowing allows f o r an e x p l o r a t i o n of a mother's experience i n coping w i t h a lover/husband who abuses her c h i l d . As both her part n e r ' s and her c h i l d ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p are c l o s e ones to her, i t i s assumed that t h i s type of i n c e s t would be more traumatic f o r her than i f a more p e r i p h e r a l member of the f a m i l y , such as an un c l e , was the abuser. In e x p l o r i n g the experiences of these women i n d e a l i n g w i t h the di s c o v e r y of sexual contact between her partner and her c h i l d , the - 4 -f o l l o w i n g questions are addressed: What are the experiences of a woman f o l l o w i n g a d i s c l o s u r e of sexual abuse i n the fa m i l y ? What are t h e i r f e e l i n g s , a t t i t u d e s , and behaviors f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e ? How do they make sense of the whole event? I s the d i s c l o s u r e i n f a c t a traumatic event f o r them? Does i t - e f f e c t t h e i r sense of s e l f ? In i l l u m i n a t i n g t h e i r i s s u e s , i t i s hoped that a gr e a t e r understanding w i l l ensue i n terms of t h e r a p e u t i c a l t e r n a t i v e s w i t h these women. As seen i n the i n c r e a s i n g demand f o r sexual abuse s e r v i c e s , these women are i n need of c o u n s e l l i n g , support, and i n f o r m a t i o n . I t i s a l s o assumed that i n i n c r e a s i n g our e x p e r t i s e i n working w i t h these women, we are i n d i r e c t l y a s s i s t i n g the c h i l d v i c t i m . As women remain as primary c a r e g i v e r s to c h i l d r e n , they are i n a key p o s i t i o n to a s s i s t the c h i l d i n s u r v i v i n g the experience, and n o r m a l i z i n g t h e i r l i v e s . The f o l l o w i n g chapter of t h i s t h e s i s w i l l explore the l i t e r a t u r e a v a i l a b l e on i n t r a - f a m i l i a l abuse and mothers' experiences i n d e a l i n g w i t h t h i s r e a l i t y . I t i n c l u d e s prevalence r a t e s , as w e l l as e t i o l o g i c a l e x p l o r a t i o n s from a p s y c h o a n a l y t i c , f a m i l y systems, and f e m i n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e of the i s s u e . This i s fol l o w e d by a d e s c r i p t i o n of a g r i e f process and how t h i s model can be u s e f u l i n examining mothers' p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences. Chapter Three o u t l i n e s the methodology u t i l i z e d f o r the research i n c l u d i n g a d e s c r i p t i o n of the sample po p u l a t i o n and the instrument. A r a t i o n a l e f o r the use of a q u a l i t a t i v e approach w i l l be o f f e r e d , u s i n g a f e m i n i s t a n a l y s i s . Chapter Four presents the f i n d i n g s of t h i s study: the cat e g o r i e s that emerged from the i n t e r v i e w s and the words these women spoke that support these c a t e g o r i e s . To ensure c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y , the names of these women, - 5 -t h e i r c h i l d r e n and p a r t n e r s , have been changed. The f i n a l chapter d i s c u s s e s how these women's experiences blend w i t h the g r i e f model presented i n Chapter Two, as w e l l as a comparison w i t h previous research s t u d i e s on p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences. Based on these c o n c l u s i o n s , the i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r treatment w i l l be addressed along w i t h l i m i t a t i o n s of the study. - 6 -CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW & FRAMEWORK I n beginning to o u t l i n e what i n f o r m a t i o n i s p r e s e n t l y a v a i l a b l e i n understanding c h i l d sexual abuse and the experiences of mothers, t h i s chapter has been d i v i d e d i n t o two p a r t s . Part one w i l l d i s c u s s prevalence and summarize three e t i o l o g i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e s of i n c e s t and the r o l e of mothers. The second component of the chapter, i n o u t l i n i n g a g r i e f model w i l l develop a beginning framework f o r understanding mothers' experiences f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e of c h i l d s e x u a l abuse. L i t e r a t u r e Review: Although the i s s u e of sexual abuse i s being given more a t t e n t i o n at many l e v e l s of s o c i e t y , the a c t u a l i n c i d e n c e of abuse i s d i f f i c u l t to i d e n t i f y due to the secrecy surrounding the i s s u e . "The primary task f o r the p e r p e t r a t o r a f t e r the sexu a l behavior has taken p l a c e i s to impose secrecy" ( S g r o i , 1982, p. 15). Consequently, many inc i d e n c e s of c h i l d sexual abuse remain a s e c r e t f o r e v e r . These w i l l never be part of any s t a t i s t i c a l study of i n c e s t . I t i s important to consider sexual abuse s t a t i s t i c s w i t h t h i s " secrecy" f a c t o r i n mind. In the e a r l y 1970's a prevalence f i g u r e c i t e d i n a reputable medical j o u r n a l was that there were .73 cases of i n c e s t per m i l l i o n people (Henderson, 1972). I t becomes obvious how much t h i s s o c i a l problem has become v i s i b l e over the l a s t ten years when Henderson's s t a t i s t i c i s compared to a 1986 study that found that 16 percent of t h e i r sample p o p u l a t i o n (930 women) had had at l e a s t one experience of an incestuous nature ( R u s s e l l , 1986). I f R u s s e l l ' s f i g u r e of 16 percent i s e x t r a p o l a t e d - 7 -to the p o p u l a t i o n of g r e a t e r Vancouver (1.2 m i l l i o n , approximately h a l f of which are women) then approximately 96,000 women and g i r l s i n the area w i l l be or have been s e x u a l l y abused by a f a m i l y member. Although i t i s impossible to d i s c o v e r exact i n c i d e n c e f i g u r e s of i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse, i t i s imperative that a problem of t h i s magnitude be addressed. " I t i s c r u c i a l that we as a s o c i e t y stop p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the conspiracy of s i l e n c e that has kept i n c e s t one of the best kept s e c r e t s f o r so l o n g " ( R u s s e l l , 1986, p.13). In c o n t i n u i n g to o b l i t e r a t e the s i l e n c e and myths around the i s s u e , i t i s important to be aware that s e x u a l v i o l e n c e i s predominantly a crime committed by men. Although the data overwhelmingly supports t h i s male preponderance, there are those who continue to b e l i e v e that women abuse a great deal more than i s documented, and b e l i e v e t h i s abuse i s unnoticed or unreported. F i n k e l h o r negates t h i s n o t i o n s a y i n g : "... the male preponderance i s not simply a matter of abuse by women going undetected, s i n c e even i n n o n c l i n i c a l surveys of a d u l t s r e p o r t i n g r e t r o s p e c t i v e l y on childhood sexual experiences, the male p e r p e t r a t o r s v a s t l y outnumbered the women ( F i n k e l h o r , 1984, p. 11). In l o o k i n g at the l i t e r a t u r e on sexual abuse, i t becomes evident that few s c h o l a r s attempt any e x p l a n a t i o n of t h i s fundamental f a c t that i t i s p r i m a r i l y men, not women who s e x u a l l y abuse c h i l d r e n . Consequently, i t i s important to analyze t h e o r i e s of sexu a l abuse i n these terms. Do they address the f a c t that men make up the vast m a j o r i t y of sexual offenders? F o l l o w i n g , p s y c h o a n a l y t i c , f a m i l y systems and a f e m i n i s t model of i n t r a f a m i l i a l sexual abuse w i l l be addressed. I t i s important to d e l i n e a t e each of these models, as each one o f f e r s a d i f f e r e n t p e r s p e c t i v e on the e t i o l o g y of i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse, on the r o l e of mothers i n the abuse, and on how to t r e a t these women and t h e i r f a m i l i e s . An e x p l o r a t i o n - 8 -of these models w i l l be f o l l o w e d by a d i s c u s s i o n of resea r c h done on mothers' experiences f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . As w i l l be seen i n the next few pages, the p s y c h o a n a l y t i c p e r s p e c t i v e does not address the f a c t that men make up the m a j o r i t y of abusers. Some f a m i l y systems t h e o r i s t s address t h i s f a c t , w h i l e a f e m i n i s t model bases i t s a n a l y s i s on t h i s f a c t . In o u t l i n i n g the three models, a p s y c h o a n a l y t i c framework w i l l be discussed f i r s t as i t was developed long before the other two. The most e s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e s of t h i s theory are: the Oedipus complex, the theory of psychosexual development and the t h e o r i e s of psychopathology. (Lindzey, 1967). Freud had a keen i n t e r e s t i n i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse. In f a c t , the three e s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e s l i s t e d above are a l l l i n k e d to Freud's assumption that "there are powerful incestuous impulses present i n a l l humans" (Lindzey, 1967, p. 1056). In h i s e a r l i e r work, he formulated h i s seduction theory which acknowledged that sexual abuse was o c c u r r i n g i n the f a m i l y . From the repeated cases he was d i s c o v e r i n g i n h i s c l i n i c a l work, he became "convinced that he had discovered the gene r a t i v e foundations of h y s t e r i a , and i n 1896 he pub l i s h e d two t r e a t i s e s s e t t i n g f o r t h the r a d i c a l p o s i t i o n that childhood sexual trauma was at the root of adult h y s t e r i a " (Swanson & B i a g g i o , 1985, p. 667). As h i s s e d u c t i o n theory was dismissed by c o l l e a g u e s , he l e f t i t behind and developed a psychosexual development model that emphasized the o e d i p a l complex as being the ca u s a t i v e f a c t o r i n h y s t e r i a . This new theory claimed that sexual behavior w i t h the opposite sex parent was the wish of every c h i l d . Consequently, he decided that the women coming to him d i s c l o s i n g abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r f a t h e r s were a c t u a l l y f a n t a s i z i n g . The women were no longer b e l i e v e d . This n o t i o n of o e d i p a l f a n t a s i e s continues i n modern thought by c l a i m i n g - 9 -that c h i l d r e n are w i l l i n g v i c t i m s of sexu a l abuse. "Due to the u n d e r l y i n g o e d i p a l phantasies, c h i l d r e n may be more or l e s s w i l l i n g v i c t i m s of the a s s a u l t . . . " (Freud, A., 1981, p. 34). A p s y c h o a n a l y t i c model has played a key r o l e i n the h i s t o r i c a l development of t h e o r i e s on human behavior. This i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c focus that viewed human behavior as having i t s source i n the h i s t o r y and experience of the i n d i v i d u a l (Jones, 1980), was expanded by f a m i l y t h e o r i s t s who began to perceive f a m i l y systems, r a t h e r than i n d i v i d u a l s , as being p a t h o l o g i c a l . The focus changed to the f a m i l y system and the dynamics w i t h i n . Although there are d i f f e r i n g models of f a m i l y process, the commonalities of t h e i r t h e o r e t i c a l c o n s t r u c t s l i e i n t h e i r adherence to e x p l a i n i n g f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e s i n terms of general systems theory. A major aspect of o r g a n i z a t i o n i s that the connection between elements i s p atterned, that i s , i n v o l v e s redundant i n t e r a c t i o n a l sequences. This suggests that no s i n g l e element or subgroup of elements can ever have u n i l a t e r a l c o n t r o l over the whole, nor can they act independently of at l e a s t some of the other elements ... a l l p a r t s of the system ( f a m i l y ) are interconnected ... consequently a change i n one element w i l l u l t i m a t e l y a f f e c t a l l other elements (Benjamin, 1982, p. 42). In l o o k i n g at the e t i o l o g y of i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse, f a m i l y t h e o r i e s o f f e r a range of e x p l a n a t i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n l o o k i n g at the r o l e of the mother. Some a r t i c l e s emphasize the r o l e the mother plays i n s e t t i n g up or engineering the incestuous s i t u a t i o n . Mothers are seen as " a b d i c a t i n g t h e i r r o l e s as a mother and housewife and ... backing out of her sexual r o l e as a w i f e " (Cohen, 1983, p. 156), or as "s h a r i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y " w i t h the p e r p e t r a t o r f o r the abuse (Reposa, 1983, p. 115). J u s t i c e and J u s t i c e (1979) c l a i m mothers are e i t h e r c o l l u s i v e or p a r t i c i p a t i n g , w i t h no middle ground o f f e r e d f o r mothers behavior. James & N a s j l e t i (1983) d e s c r i b e four c a t e g o r i e s of p e r s o n a l i t y types of mothers - 1 0 -i n incestuous abuse ( p a s s i v e , child-woman mother; i n t e l l i g e n t , competent, d i s t a n t mother; r e j e c t i n g v i n d i c t i v e mother; p s y c h o t i c or s e v e r e l y retarded mother) and e x p l a i n how each of these types s e t s up an incestuous f a m i l y c o n s t e l l a t i o n . According to these authors, the p e r s o n a l i t y of a mother i s somehow a c a u s a t i v e f a c t o r of the abuse. The indictment of the mother i n c l u d e s three counts: f i r s t , she f a i l e d to perform her m a r i t a l d u t i e s ; second, she, not the f a t h e r , f o r c e d the daughter to take her r i g h t f u l p l a c e ; and t h r e e , she knew about, t o l e r a t e d , or i n some cases a c t i v e l y enjoyed the i n c e s t (Herman, 1981, p. 42). There are a few authors who are strong proponents of a f a m i l y systems model yet c l e a r l y remove the mother from the c a u s a t i v e arena. For example, Gelinas says, The w i f e has r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r her r o l e i n the m a r i t a l estrangement as the husband does f o r h i s , but unless the w i f e a c t i v e l y p a r t i c i p a t e s or knowingly allows the abuse to continue, she i s not r e s p o n s i b l e f o r her husband's sexual abuse of h i s daughter ( 1983, p. 322). F i n k e l h o r has taken s t r i d e s i n d i s c o v e r i n g r i s k f a c t o r s i n f a m i l i e s (such as having a s t e p - f a t h e r r a t h e r than f a t h e r i n the home, a mother being out of the home, a s e x u a l l y p u n i t i v e mother, or no p h y s i c a l a f f e c t i o n from the f a t h e r ) , yet c l e a r l y r e s t s blame on the f a t h e r . He s t a t e s , "The most important and rel e v a n t cause of the v i c t i m i z a t i o n was a d e c i s i o n made by the o f f e n d e r " ( F i n k e l h o r , 1984, p. 30). Along w i t h F i n k e l h o r and G e l i n a s , the f e m i n i s t l i t e r a t u r e on sexual abuse removes mothers from the r e s p o n s i b l e r o l e . Incest i s seen as a power dynamic i n the f a m i l y i n that the f a t h e r i s usi n g h i s power to s a t i s f y h i s own needs. B u t l e r (1980) d e f i n e s power as " c h o i c e s " and c h i l d r e n having few choices have l i t t l e power. Herman and Hirschman (1977) agree w i t h t h i s power concept c l a i m i n g that "the grea t e r the degree of male supremacy i n any c u l t u r e , the gr e a t e r the l i k e l i h o o d - 11 -of father-daughter i n c e s t " (p. 741). A f e m i n i s t a n a l y s i s assumes a power imbalance between men and women i n t h i s s o c i e t y . As the p a t r i a r c h y maintains the power imbalance between women and men, i t continues to generate abuse i n the f a m i l y . Wattenberg notes: The f e m i n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e b r i n g s i n t o focus the e x t r a o r d i n a r y power that i s exerted by the f a t h e r as p e r p e t r a t o r , not only i n h o l d i n g the economic balance of power i n p a t r i a r c h a l f a m i l y systems, but i n c o n t r o l l i n g the l e v e l of t h r e a t to both mother and daughter should they dare to expose the deeply abhorrent f a m i l y secret (1985, p. 207). From t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e , the s t r u c t u r e i t s e l f i s seen as perpe t u a t i n g sexual abuse by i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z i n g powerlessness and the dependency of women and c h i l d r e n (MacFarlane, 1978; B u t l e r , 1985; M c l n t y r e , 1981). Mothers are viewed as v i c t i m s of a s e x i s t s o c i e t y along with t h e i r c h i l d r e n . Even i f mothers are no n - p r o t e c t i v e of t h e i r c h i l d r e n , there are environmental f a c t o r s that come i n t o p l a y . Maternal c o l l u s i o n i s a measure of maternal powerlessness (Herman, 1981). I s a mother's withdrawal from her r o l e not symptomatic of women's oppression i n s o c i e t y ? F i n k e l h o r expands on t h i s : Women t o l e r a t e s u f f e r i n g and outrage to themselves and t h e i r f a m i l i e s i n many forms - b e a t i n g , s e x u a l h u m i l i a t i o n and poverty - without r e a c t i n g because they o f t e n l a c k s o c i a l and economic resources to defend themselves and have been taught to be h e l p l e s s (1978 p. 45). As f a m i l y systems t h e o r i s t s moved from the i n d i v i d u a l (as i n psyc h o a n a l y s i s ) to the system of r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n a f a m i l y , f e m i n i s t s c h o l a r s move i n t o an even l a r g e r system i n l o o k i n g at the s t r u c t u r a l impact on f a m i l i e s and i n d i v i d u a l s . Although some systems t h e o r i s t s have i n c l u d e d l a r g e r systems i n t h e i r analyses (Coppersmith, 1986; F i n k e l h o r , 1984) the m a j o r i t y of i n f o r m a t i o n on the impact of l a r g e r systems on i n d i v i d u a l s i s d e l i n e a t e d by f e m i n i s t authors. There i s an important - 12 -balance between i n d i v i d u a l and f a m i l y h e a l i n g and i n s t i t u t i o n a l / s o c i e t a l change. This w i l l be addressed f u r t h e r i n a d i s c u s s i o n of treatment/change i s s u e s i n the concluding chapter. Although some authors manage an i n t e g r a t i o n of systems and f e m i n i s t thought i n ref e r e n c e to f a m i l y v i o l e n c e , Bograd (1986) a r t i c u l a t e s the d i f f i c u l t y i n doing t h i s i n e x p l a i n i n g the tensions between the two models. F i r s t , f a m i l y t h e r a p i s t s tend to a t t r i b u t e i n c e s t and b a t t e r i n g to deviant or d y s f u n c t i o n a l f a m i l y processes and s t r u c t u r e s w h i l e f e m i n i s t s suggest that v i o l e n c e against women i s a n a t u r a l outgrowth of normal f a m i l y f u n c t i o n i n g . Second, f a m i l y t h e r a p i s t s r a r e l y address the iss u e of gender and power i n f a m i l i e s w h i l e f e m i n i s t s view the t r a d i t i o n a l f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e as the b a s i c u n i t of male power. As i n d i c a t e d above, there appears to be a p r o l i f e r a t i o n of i n f o r m a t i o n on the e t i o l o g y of i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse from s e v e r a l d i f f e r i n g paradigms. In t u r n i n g to s p e c i f i c s on mothers, although the l i t e r a t u r e d i s c u s s e s her r o l e i n the f a m i l y p r i o r to d i s c l o s u r e , there i s a dearth of in f o r m a t i o n on mothers' experiences f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . I l l u m i n a t i n g these p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences i s important and necessary as t h i s i s the time of d i s t r e s s f o r the mother. The abuse may have been going on f o r s e v e r a l years, but u n t i l a mother r e a l i z e s what has been going on, that i s the time of d i s c l o s u r e , there i s no trauma f o r her. Myer (1985) i n v e s t i g a t e d the experiences of 43 mothers of i n c e s t v i c t i m s and d i v i d e d them i n t o three groups: p r o t e c t i n g , immobilized, and r e j e c t i n g , f i n d i n g the m a j o r i t y to be p r o t e c t i n g . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , there i s no i n f o r m a t i o n on the mothers' own perceptions or experiences f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . G a r r e t t (1975) looked at 11 women whose husbands were charged w i t h rape and 7 women whose husbands were charged w i t h i n c e s t . He claims - 13 -the i n c e s t events were u s e f u l l e v e r s f o r the women to r e i n f o r c e t h e i r s o c i a l and moral dominance i n the marriage. I t seems to us, indeed, that there i s a one-up-manship i n v o l v e d here, i m p l i c i t i n the idea that the burden to reform and do b e t t e r now l i e s d i r e c t l y w i t h the husband, who has demonstrably f a l l e n short (p. 156). T h e i r c o n c l u s i o n s seem to be based on the f a c t that these women f r e q u e n t l y v i s i t e d t h e i r i n c a r c e r a t e d husbands, and a m a j o r i t y s a i d they enjoyed the v i s i t s . Two recent research-based s t u d i e s on the experiences of mothers f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e are both unpublished. Brown (1985), i n her q u a l i t a t i v e study i d e n t i f i e d a s e r i e s of stages that mothers moved through. She o u t l i n e d three stages of coping that emerged from her i n t e r v i e w s w i t h ten women: 1) D i s c l o s u r e Stage (shock/confusion) 2) Regrouping Stage ( c o g n i t i v e understanding) and 3) Renewal/Restructuring Stage (growth/pianning). She a l s o d e l i n e a t e d i s s u e s that arose f o r these ten women. She l a b e l s them: Reaction to Offender ( P r o t e c t i o n , l o v e , anger, why d i d he do i t ? ) , Reaction to V i c t i m (anger, b e l i e f / d i s b e l i e f , p r o t e c t i o n , concern, j e a l o u s y ) , D a i l y L i v i n g Tasks (coping w i t h e v e r y t h i n g , balance between s e l f and o t h e r s ) , Self-Awareness/Self E v a l u a t i o n ( s e l f blame, g u i l t , my r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ) . Brown notes that these i s s u e s changed f o r the women as they moved through the d i f f e r e n t stages o u t l i n e d . For example a woman may experience s e l f blame and g u i l t i n the d i s c l o s u r e phase, but by the r e n e w a l / r e s t r u c t u r i n g phase had come to a stronger s e l f image where she had a r e c o g n i t i o n of her strengths and weaknesses. Johnson (1985) conducted an ethnographic study of s i x mothers. Her study was much more in-depth i n t h a t , on average, 18 hours were spent - 14 -i n t e r v i e w i n g each woman. In her study she o u t l i n e s three models of i n c e s t - f a m i l y mothers found i n the l i t e r a t u r e : c o l l u s i v e mothers, powerless mothers, and p r o t e c t i v e mothers, and examines the ways i n which the f i n d i n g s from t h i s study f i t or do not f i t the d i f f e r e n t dimensions of these models. As s t a t e d i n her summary, "The f i n d i n g s from t h i s study have shown that even among s i x mothers there i s a range of v a r i a b i l i t y which suggests wider d i f f e r e n c e s among the unknown universes of i n c e s t - f a m i l y mothers than have p r e v i o u s l y been assumed. Mothers cannot be desc r i b e d simply as c o l l u s i v e , powerless, or p r o t e c t i v e " (p. 231). She c i t e s commonalities among these women as being s o c i a l i z e d to assume t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l p o s i t i o n i n s o c i e t y and the f a m i l y , and to perform t h e i r proper r o l e s as wives and mothers. Many of t h e i r responses to the d i s c l o s u r e of sexual abuse are not a t t r i b u t a b l e so much to t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l t r a i t s , or p e r s o n a l i t i e s , but to t h e i r p o s i t i o n s i n s o c i e t y and the r o l e s they have learned to p l a y . Johnson's statement regarding her f i n d i n g s supports f e m i n i s t s b e l i e f s that a) the personal i s p o l i t i c a l ; b) that women are s o c i a l i z e d to p l a y c e r t a i n r o l e s i n t h i s s o c i e t y ; c) that t h i s s o c i a l i z a t i o n process has profound impact on mothers i n d e a l i n g w i t h a d i s c l o s u r e of sexual abuse by a husband. In t a k i n g a c l o s e r look at the p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences of these 6 women, Johnson found that a l l the mothers were outraged by the i n c e s t and viewed i t as wrong and s e r i o u s . They d i s p l a y e d l i t t l e empathy f o r the c h i l d which Johnson contends may be a mechanism to avoid the h o r r o r they f e l t about the abuse. A l l the mothers were angry at t h e i r husbands f o r what they had done and b e l i e v e d that a punishment of some k i n d was i n order . I n coping w i t h the abuse the mothers had d i f f e r i n g s t y l e s . - 15 -They wanted to t a l k to others about the i n c e s t , or wanted to be l e f t alone; they asked t h e i r daughters f o r the d e t a i l s of the i n c e s t or found i t too p a i n f u l to know any more; they f e l t c o n f i d e n t to decide f o r themselves what to do or needed the support and encouragement of others to v a l i d a t e t h e i r own judgement and to s u s t a i n p r o t e c t i v e a c t i o n (p. 157). The mothers a l s o d i s p l a y e d d i f f e r i n g a b i l i t i e s at problem s o l v i n g . Some could f i g u r e out the steps to take and how to get more i n f o r m a t i o n , others were more c r i s i s o r i e n t e d and i m p u l s i v e i n t h e i r behavior, while others needed the support of o u t s i d e r s to do what needed to be done. Johnson notes that i n l o o k i n g at the non-offending p a r e n t s ' p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences i t i s important to be cognizant of t h e i r immediate s o c i a l environments as w e l l as the l a r g e r s o c i e t y , as these have impact i n terms of mothers' f e e l i n g s , p erceptions and behaviors. As discussed e a r l i e r , there appears to be a preponderance of mother-blaming i n the l i t e r a t u r e and, t h e r e f o r e , i t i s important to note two e m p i r i c a l l y based a r t i c l e s that o f f e r f u r t h e r evidence of t h i s . Caplan and Hall-McCorquodale (1985) undertook a review of major c l i n i c a l j o u r n a l s f o r the years 1970, 1976, and 1982 to determine whether re d u c t i o n s i n mother-blaming had occurred over that time p e r i o d . They focused on a r t i c l e s that i n c l u d e d a d i s c u s s i o n of the e t i o l o g y of psychopathology. They found no decrease i n mother-blaming over the 12 years, and found over 75 problems i d e n t i f i e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e as a t t r i b u t a b l e to mothers. These problems ranged from i n c e s t to i n c o n t i n e n c e , to d e l u s i o n s to s l e e p w a l k i n g . With the m a j o r i t y of s c h o l a r l y a r t i c l e s on the e t i o l o g y of psychopathology ( f o r the three years s t u d i e d ) p e r c e i v i n g mothers as a major cause one cannot avoid e x t r a p o l a t i n g t h i s b i a s onto f r o n t l i n e workers who are o f t e n the consumers of such a r t i c l e s . - 16 -P r o f e s s i o n a l a t t i t u d e s to i n c e s t were s t u d i e d by D i e t z and C r a f t (1980) T h e i r study was t o : "... i n v e s t i g a t e the e x i s t e n c e of d e t r i m e n t a l a t t i t u d e s among workers i n contact w i t h incestuous f a m i l i e s " (p. 604). In surveying 200 c h i l d p r o t e c t i o n workers they found that 87 percent of the respondents b e l i e v e d that the mother gives her unconscious consent to i n c e s t ; w h i l e 65 percent b e l i e v e d she i s e q u a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r i t s occurrence. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t to note that the mothers i n Brown's study and i n Johnson's study report that they d i d not know that the abuse was going on, and i n t h e i r p erceptions d i d not gi v e consent i n any way to what was going on between t h e i r husbands and t h e i r daughters. Although D i e t z & C r a f t ' s work i s only one study I n v o l v i n g 200 workers, i f we assume some g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y i s p o s s i b l e , i t has profound i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r mothers. What e f f e c t does i t have on them when workers, whether they v e r b a l i z e i t or not, b e l i e v e that mothers uncon s c i o u s l y consent and are e q u a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r i t s occurrence. I n summarizing the l i t e r a t u r e a v a i l a b l e on i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse, i t i s evident that there are s e v e r a l e x p l a n a t i o n s of e t i o l o g y , as w e l l as divergent opinions regarding mothers involvement or non-involvement, r e s p o n s i b i l i t y or n o n - r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . I t i s a l s o c l e a r that many of the a r t i c l e s w r i t t e n i n t h i s area are c l i n i c a l l y based or based on previous t h e o r e t i c a l a r t i c l e s , r a t h e r than being e m p i r i c a l l y based. I t i s evident that there i s a need f o r more research i n the area of sexual abuse, p a r t i c u l a r l y f o c u s i n g on mothers. More research on mothers w i l l not only o f f e r c l i n i c a l d i r e c t i o n i n working with these women, but a l s o g i v e us i n f o r m a t i o n on how to u t i l i z e mothers more e f f e c t i v e l y i n the h e a l i n g process of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . - 17 -A G r i e f Model as a Framework f o r Understanding the Experiences of Mothers: A p s y c h o l o g i c a l model that may have some u t i l i t y i n e x p l a i n i n g mothers' experiences i s the g r i e f model. I t i s l i k e l y that d i s c l o s u r e of sexual abuse i n the f a m i l y leaves the mother w i t h s e v e r a l major l o s s e s : the l o s s of a dream of how f a m i l y could be, a l o s s of a way of p e r c e i v i n g the world, her r e l a t i o n s h i p s and h e r s e l f . These major l o s s e s seem to set o f f an emotional process that can be con c e p t u a l i z e d u s i n g a g r i e f model. Schneider (1984), i n h i s framework f o r g r i e v i n g , takes a h o l i s t i c and o p t i m i s t i c approach to the process of d e a l i n g w i t h l o s s . He de f i n e s g r i e f as "a process of d i s c o v e r i n g the extent of what was l o s t and the subsequent process of d i s c o v e r i n g the extent of what was not l o s t or what can now take p l a c e " (p. 59). His model i s h o l i s t i c i n that i t encompasses the t o t a l experience of a person: emotional, p h y s i c a l , i n t e l l e c t u a l , s p i r i t u a l and b e h a v i o r a l . I t i s o p t i m i s t i c i n that i t i n c l u d e s the p o t e n t i a l f o r growth that can emanate from a l o s s . His model i s based on a s e r i e s of assumptions which he s t a t e s have not been v e r i f i e d and perhaps cannot be v e r i f i e d . These assumptions i n c l u d e : 1. A l l s i g n i f i c a n t l o s s e s r e s u l t i n a g r i e v i n g process. S i g n i f i c a n c e i s determined by the i n t e n s i t y of attachment to what was l o s t and the extent to which day to day l i v e s were d i s r u p t e d by the l o s s . 2. G r i e f i s a n a t u r a l h e a l i n g process, not an i l l n e s s . 3. The way i n which people have d e a l t w i t h previous c r i s e s i n t h e i r l i v e s l a r g e l y determines t h e i r i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n to l o s s . 4. The l o s s of any s i g n i f i c a n t attachment i s viewed by the i n d i v i d u a l as a t h r e a t to a l l s i g n i f i c a n t attachments, i n c l u d i n g the i n d i v i d u a l ' s own l i f e . 5. E a r l y phases of g r i e v i n g c o n t a i n a v a c c i l a t i o n of awareness i n terms of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the l o s s . In one moment one may be f u l l y aware of the impact a l o s s has on your l i f e , w h i l e the next moment, t h i s awareness i s repressed. I f these assumptions are a p p l i e d to mothers of i n c e s t v i c t i m s , the f o l l o w i n g a d d i t i o n a l assumptions can be made: 1. As the r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n v o l v e d i n the abuse ( f a m i l y members) have an - 18 -i n t e n s i t y of attachment, and mothers' l i v e s are d i s r u p t e d f o l l o w i n g a d i s c l o s u r e (Brown, 1985; Johnson, 1985), i t can be s a i d that these women experience a s i g n i f i c a n t l o s s and consequently proceed through a g r i e v i n g process. 2. This i s a n a t u r a l process that these women must experience to get beyond t h e i r i n i t i a l responses to the abuse. They are not mentally i l l i n t h e i r i s s u e s , f e e l i n g s , and perceptions f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , but simply e x p e r i e n c i n g a n a t u r a l process. 3. I f these women have had previous l o s s e s i n t h e i r l i v e s , f o r example a marriage breakup or death of a f a m i l y member, that were never f u l l y g r i e v e d , they w i l l have a more d i f f i c u l t time contending w i t h the present l o s s e s surrounding the d i s c l o s u r e . 4. Hearing about the d i s c l o s u r e threatens many aspects of these women's l i v e s : t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n , extended f a m i l y , f r i e n d s , and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h themselves. 5. F o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , non-offending parents f l u c t u a t e i n t h e i r b e l i e f or complete awareness of what has gone on. In one moment they may be aware of the impact the abuse w i l l have on t h e i r l i v e s w h i l e i n the next moment they may s h i e l d t h i s awareness from t h e i r consciousness. Another assumption, gleaned from a g r i e f model by Silverman (1981) i s based on the n o t i o n that women place g r e a t e r emphasis on t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s than do men, which e f f e c t s a woman's g r i e v i n g process. She says, "a woman's true i d e n t i t y may w e l l grow out of her involvement w i t h o t h e r s . Her sense of s e l f may be organized p r i m a r i l y around her a b i l i t y to make and then to maintain a f f i l i a t i o n s and r e l a t i o n s h i p s " (p. 21). I f a woman's sense of s e l f i s entwined w i t h her r e l a t i o n s h i p s , then i t i s not p o s s i b l e f o r her to s u f f e r a l o s s of attachment without her i d e n t i t y - 19 -coming i n t o q u e s t i o n . From previous s t u d i e s ( B u t l e r , 1979; Brown, 1985; Johnson, 1985), non-offending parents s u f f e r a number of severed and/or c o n f l i c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s : daughters who are h o s t i l e and blaming of them, extended f a m i l i e s who blame or pressure her to sever t i e s w i t h her husband, a p a r t n e r who she may or may not wish to stay w i t h , p r o f e s s i o n a l s who blame her ( D i e t z & C r a f t , 1980; Caplan & Hall-McCorquodale, 1985) or o f f e r l i t t l e support. During the o f t e n d i s r u p t i v e time f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , when when mothers need some s t a b i l i t y i n r e l a t i o n s h i p s , many of them are exceedingly c o n f l i c t u a l . Schneider c o n c e p t u a l i z e s a g r i e v i n g framework that i n c l u d e s the tasks tasks of g r i e v i n g , the phases of g r i e f , and the process through g r i e f which combines the tasks and phases. Three tasks of g r i e v i n g are c i t e d : l i m i t i n g awareness, awareness and p e r s p e c t i v e , and r e f o r m u l a t i o n . L i m i t i n g awareness i s "... the c a p a c i t y to maintain some l e v e l of f u n c t i o n i n g w h i l e preparing to d e a l w i t h the r e a l i t y of the l o s s " (p. 64). L i m i t i n g awareness g e n e r a l l y occurs e a r l y i n the process of g r i e v i n g . For non-offending parents, t h i s would i n c l u d e l i m i t i n g the true s i g n i f i c a n c e of the sexual abuse, f o r example, that i t i s a crime and her husband could face c r i m i n a l charges and i n c a r c e r a t i o n . The awareness and p e r s p e c t i v e task i s s w i t c h i n g from a v o i d i n g , to f a c i n g the r e a l i t y of what has happened. For non-offending parents, that i n c l u d e s f a c i n g the seriousness and r a m i f i c a t i o n s of the sexual abuse. The r e f o r m u l a t i o n or growth task i s based on "observations of a number of people who seem to go beyond acceptance of the power of f a t e i n t h e i r l i v e s to r e s o l v e t h e i r l o s s e s i n such a way as to enhance t h e i r growth f o r a c t u a l i z i n g t h e i r human p o t e n t i a l " (p. 65). For mothers, t h i s task would i n c l u d e the r e a l i z a t i o n that from the trauma of the abuse there i s - 20 -p o t e n t i a l f o r growth. Through t h e i r s t r u g g l e s f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e they may d i s c o v e r strengths i n themselves that had p r e v i o u s l y been untapped. This new found s t r e n g t h may l e a d to growth i n themselves and t h e i r l i v e s that may not have occurred had they not had to contend w i t h sexual abuse i n the f a m i l y . I t appears that movement between the three tasks of l i m i t i n g awareness, awareness/perspective, and r e f o r m u l a t i o n represent key t u r n i n g p o i n t s i n the g r i e f process. Aside from these tasks of g r i e v i n g , Schneider o u t l i n e s seven phases of g r i e f which vary f o r each i n d i v i d u a l i n the order, i n t e n s i t y and d u r a t i o n . He uses the term phase r a t h e r than stage to a v o i d s t r u c t u r a l l y o r d e r i n g the g r i e f process. He e l a b o r a t e s , " o f t e n phases move r a p i d l y back and f o r t h , being repeated and r e c y c l e d " (p. 67). This "phase" concept c o i n c i d e s w i t h Johnson's f i n d i n g s of v a r i a b i l i t y i n the women's experience. A stage model, that assumes a l i n e a r p r o g r e s s i o n through s u c c e s s i v e stages, i s too s i m p l i s t i c and not a true r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of these women's experiences which are raultifaceted and cannot be e x p l a i n e d through d i s c r e t e stages. The i n i t i a l phase, " i n i t i a l awareness," marks the beginning of g r i e f . " I t i s g e n e r a l l y experienced as a shock because i t represents the i n t r u s i o n of a new r e a l i t y , o f t e n u n a n t i c i p a t e d " (p. 68). For mothers t h i s i s the time of d i s c l o s u r e , when they f i r s t heard about the abuse of the c h i l d by the p a r t n e r . I t i s o f t e n a time of d i s r u p t i o n of r o u t i n e and c a p a c i t y to f u n c t i o n , which mothers o f t e n encounter. When the system becomes i n v o l v e d t h e i r c h i l d r e n may be removed from the home, or f a t h e r asked to leave; c h i l d r e n may remain away from school f o r a time; a mother may take time away from work. The second phase i s c a l l e d "attempts to l i m i t awareness: h o l d i n g on or - 21 -l e t t i n g go." L i m i t i n g awareness i s an attempt to f i n d some a l t e r n a t i v e to g r i e v i n g through h o l d i n g on s t r a t e g i e s or l e t t i n g go s t r a t e g i e s . Holding on s t r a t e g i e s are "...coping behaviors whose i n t e n t i s to f i n d some way to prevent, overcome, or reverse a l o s s by means of the a c t i o n s or b e l i e f s of the i n d i v i d u a l " (p. 69). L e t t i n g go s t r a t e g i e s would be attempts at escaping from or d i m i n i s h i n g reminders of the l o s s . For mothers, l i m i t i n g awareness might i n c l u d e f i n d i n g ways to excuse the p a r t n e r s behavior ( f o r example he d r i n k s , or he was f r u s t r a t e d w i t h h i s job) or on the other extreme t r y i n g to f o r g e t that the offender e x i s t s by d e s t r o y i n g a l l household reminders of him or r e q u e s t i n g f r i e n d s and f a m i l y to never mention h i s name. The t h i r d phase, "awareness of l o s s " , i s a time of f a c i n g the l o s s and the i m p l i c a t i o n s of that l o s s . This phase i s a c h a l l e n g e to the i n d i v i d u a l ' s w i l l to l i v e , p h y s i c a l stamina and search f o r meaning. I t i s the phase of g r i e v i n g most f r e q u e n t l y c a l l e d g r i e v i n g . For women whose c h i l d r e n were s e x u a l l y abused i t i s a time of r e a l i z i n g t h e i r whole world may be t u r n i n g over: a p a r t n e r may be i n c a r c e r a t e d , a c h i l d may be d e a l i n g w i t h repercussions from the a s s a u l t f o r years to come, a sense of s e l f as a mother may be s h a t t e r e d . The f o u r t h phase of " g a i n i n g p e r s p e c t i v e " ends the g r i e f process i n three ways: 1) r e t u r n i n g to s t r a t e g i e s to l i m i t awareness, 2) going through the process of h e a l i n g and acceptance or 3) t a k i n g a c t i v e steps towards r e s t i t u t i o n or r e s o l u t i o n i n order to r e i n v e s t the g r i e v i n g energy elsewhere. Consequently, g a i n i n g p e r s p e c t i v e on the g r i e v i n g might be a r e t u r n i n g to a search f o r excuses to exonerate the p a r t n e r or an attempt to erase him from memory; s e t t l i n g i n to an acceptance that t h i s h o r r i b l e t h i n g has happened; or a growth component where a mother f i n d s l e a r n i n g or - 22 -growth p o t e n t i a l i n the experience. The f i f t h phase i s " r e s o l v i n g l o s s " which i s "beginning to detach from those aspects of t h e i r l i v e s that are now over or which no longer have meaning" (p. 72). For non-offending parents t h i s phase might i n c l u d e l e t t i n g go of a self-image of a p e r f e c t mother who can prevent a l l harm from b e f a l l i n g a c h i l d . Reformulating l o s s i s the s i x t h phase which occurs a f t e r some type of r e s o l u t i o n has taken p l a c e . I t i n c l u d e s a change i n perceptions w i t h a focus on p o t e n t i a l growth and challenge r a t h e r than problems and l i m i t s . An example f o r mothers would be the p o t e n t i a l f o r growth i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h her daughter. Having moved through a traumatic time together, there i s a new closeness between them which can be b u i l t on and developed. The f i n a l phase of g r i e v i n g , c a l l e d " t r a n s f o r m i n g l o s s " i n v o l v e s "... the person p l a c i n g the l o s s i n a context of growth, l i f e c y c l e s and the view that g r i e f i s a u n i f y i n g r a t h e r than a l i e n a t i n g human experience" (p. 74). I t i s an e x t e n s i o n of the previous phase yet goes beyond i t as i t moves from a s e l f focus to a focus on the connections between us a l l . S p e c i f i c a l l y f o r mothers, t h i s phase might encompass an o b j e c t i v e look at the l i f e c y c l e and how the Incest event played an important part i n making p o s i t i v e changes i n her l i f e and new and deeper connections w i t h people. The process through g r i e f combines the tasks of g r i e v i n g w i t h the phases. I f someone remains i n the task of l i m i t i n g awareness, they w i l l have an incomplete process of g r i e f , never coming to a r e f o r m u l a t i o n of the l o s s . I f an i n d i v i d u a l does not go beyond the task of acceptance, they are complete i n t h e i r awareness yet incomplete i n what t h i s awareness s i g n i f i e s f o r the remainder of t h e i r l i v e s . I f a person moves to the task - 23 -of r e s o l u t i o n and r e f o r m u l a t i o n , then a l l phases are experienced. For those i n d i v i d u a l s who reach the l a t t e r phases of transforming the l o s s , i n d e a l i n g w i t h subsequent l o s s e s i t i s "... l e s s l i k e l y that the i n d i v i d u a l w i l l remain i n the i n i t i a l phases f o r as long and i s l e s s l i k e l y to become immobilized by the assumptions and s e l f - f u l f i l l i n g prophecies that are a s s o c i a t e d w i t h l o s s " (p. 76). Schneider's framework on g r i e v i n g o f f e r s a way of c o n c e p t u a l i z i n g the experiences of mothers d e a l i n g w i t h i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse. Mothers, along w i t h any g r i e v i n g i n d i v i d u a l , do not n e c e s s a r i l y progress to the f i n a l phases of growth and ch a l l e n g e . Being able to perceive p o s i t i v e s i n the experience i n terms of growth and change i s d i f f i c u l t when your own c h i l d has been s e x u a l l y abused. Moving to t h i s phase would c e r t a i n l y take a great d e a l of time and i n t e r n a l work. With Schneider's model of g r i e v i n g combined w i t h Silverman's assumption that women's needs f o r r e l a t i o n s h i p s compound the d i f f i c u l t y of g r i e v i n g , there i s a beginning c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n of the trauma these women experience and the phases that are a component of d e a l i n g w i t h the trauma. Before e x p l o r i n g the f i n d i n g s of t h i s study and comparing them to the g r i e f framework o u t l i n e d , the methodology of the resea r c h w i l l be d e l i n e a t e d . - 24 -CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY Method: As the research covering the non-offending parent i s l i m i t e d and the conceptual base that attempts to c l a r i f y the i s s u e s f o r these women has not been c l e a r l y developed, a q u a l i t a t i v e study was undertaken. As descr i b e d by Arkava, "When a resea r c h problem i s p o o r l y understood or inadequately d e s c r i b e d , they must i n s t e a d [ r a t h e r than q u a n t i t a t i v e ] perform e x p l o r a t o r y - d e s c r i p t i v e r e s e a r c h " (1983, p. 190). Such an e x p l o r a t o r y focus allows f o r the development of a h o l i s t i c p i c t u r e of mothers. The h o l i s t i c approach to research design i s open to gat h e r i n g data on any number of aspects of the s e t t i n g under study i n order to put together a complete p i c t u r e of the s o c i a l dynamic of a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n ( P a t t o n , 1980, p. 40). Consequently, many aspects of mothers' experiences can be explored o f f e r i n g a r i c h n e s s not a v a i l a b l e i n q u a n t i t a t i v e e f f o r t s . A q u a l i t a t i v e approach has to do w i t h the kinds of data that are c o l l e c t e d . This method a l l o w s f o r the c o l l e c t i o n of s u b j e c t i v e perceptions of the women i n the sample p o p u l a t i o n . ...The e v a l u a t o r u s i n g a q u a l i t a t i v e approach to measurement seeks to capture what people have to say i n t h e i r own words. Q u a l i t a t i v e measures d e s c r i b e the experiences of people i n depth ( P a t t o n , 1980, p. 22). The choice of design f o r t h i s research f i t s w i t h a f e m i n i s t a n a l y s i s of s o c i a l s c i e n c e . Such an a n a l y s i s views t r a d i t i o n a l r e s e a r c h , i e . q u a n t i t a t i v e , as biased i n that i t has s t e r e o t y p i c notions of women, o f t e n i t does not c o n t a i n women i n i t s s t u d i e s , and male experience i s g e n e r a l i z e d to the e n t i r e p o p u l a t i o n (Stanley & Wise, 1983). An - 25 -e x p l o r a t o r y approach, however, lends i t s e l f to a f e m i n i s t research model by v a l i d a t i n g the experiences of women. They are v a l i d a t e d as they are seen as s i g n i f i c a n t , v a l u a b l e p i e c e s of i n f o r m a t i o n that researchers can l e a r n from. Patton says q u a l i t a t i v e measurements " f i n d out what people's l i v e s , e x p eriences, and i n t e r a c t i o n s mean to them i n t h e i r own terms and i n t h e i r n a t u r a l s e t t i n g s " (1980, p. 22). A c r i t i c i s m of q u a l i t a t i v e a n a l y s i s i s that i t i s s u b j e c t i v e and i s th e r e f o r e i n s i g n i f i c a n t . P a tton addresses t h i s c r i t i c i s m by say i n g , "Numbers do not p r o t e c t against b i a s , they merely d i s g u i s e i t " (1980, p. 336). Feminist s c h o l a r s take t h i s i s s u e f u r t h e r c l a i m i n g that o b j e c t i v i t y i s a s e x i s t term that should be l e f t behind ( S t a n l e y & Wise, 1983; M i l e s & Fin n 1982). They c l a i m i t i s imp o s s i b l e to do any k i n d of research, q u a l i t a t i v e or q u a n t i t a t i v e , without the researcher's own b e l i e f s and values being an i n t e g r a l part of the process. Consequently, ... a l l research i s 'grounded' i n consciousness, because i t i s n ' t p o s s i b l e to do research (or l i f e ) i n such a way that we can separate o u r s e l v e s from e x p e r i e n c i n g what we experience as people (and resea r c h e r s ) i n v o l v e d i n a s i t u a t i o n ( Stanley & Wise, 1983, p. 161). I f one accepts the n o t i o n that o b j e c t i v i t y i s a myth and the researcher sees and presents the research i n a manner that represents h e r / h i s world view or experiences, then i t i s important to be e x p l i c i t about t h i s view as i t becomes an i n t e g r a l part of the research process. This researcher's c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n , or method of understanding the world i s from a f e m i n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e . This paradigm e f f e c t s the type of research problem formulated, the kinds of questions asked, the manner i n which they are asked, and the understanding of the words shared by these women. How we experience the research has impact on what we see and how we analyze or construct the dat a . The research f o r t h i s t h e s i s was - 26 -experienced w i t h a p e r c e p t i o n that women are oppressed i n t h i s s o c i e t y and the mothers i n t e r v i e w e d are a product of t h i s s e x i s t , oppressive s o c i e t y . This oppression i n f l u e n c e s t h e i r l i v e s and experiences as women and as mothers of c h i l d r e n who were s e x u a l l y abused. I f they were n o n - p r o t e c t i v e of t h e i r c h i l d r e n , there i s seldom a qu e s t i o n of blame, but a qu e s t i o n of oppression and how t h i s has produced powerlessness. As q u a n t i t a t i v e designs tend to s i l e n c e the v o i c e s and experiences of women (Wetzel, 1986) a q u a l i t a t i v e approach i s . necessary to avoid f u r t h e r oppression, f u r t h e r s i l e n c i n g . Sampling: The f i v e mothers i n t e r v i e w e d f o r t h i s study a l l had c h i l d r e n who had been s e x u a l l y abused by a f a t h e r or s t e p - f a t h e r . The f i v e cases i n t h i s study were gleaned from the Family P r a c t i c e U n i t s at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia and Vancouver General H o s p i t a l . A l l f i v e women had been to the u n i t s f o r therapy or c o n s u l t a t i o n w i t h a p h y s i c i a n . Two of the women had been i n therapy and were asked by the t h e r a p i s t s i f they would be w i l l i n g to p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s study. The other three women had brought t h e i r c h i l d r e n to the u n i t on campus f o r a p h y s i c a l examination f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . The p h y s i c i a n , who s p e c i a l i z e s i n c h i l d sexual abuse cases, perused her f i l e s f o r the previous two years s e l e c t i n g the names of mothers whose c h i l d r e n had been s e x u a l l y abused by t h e i r f a t h e r or s t e p - f a t h e r . Women who l i v e d o u t s i d e the g r e a t e r Vancouver area and those who were p r e s e n t l y i n a known c r i s i s were not s e l e c t e d . A l i s t of eleven women were then c a l l e d by the p h y s i c i a n ' s a s s i s t a n t and queried on t h e i r i n t e r e s t i n p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n t h i s study. Seven women refused f o r reasons that i n c l u d e d upcoming court dates and a d e s i r e to leave the - 27 -experience behind them. A s i x t h woman was i n t e r v i e w e d by the r e s e a r c h e r , however, due to a t e c h n i c a l m a l f u n c t i o n i n g of the video c a s s e t t e , the i n t e r v i e w w i t h her was not i n c l u d e d i n the a n a l y s i s . The f i v e women i n c l u d e d i n the study ranged i n age from 24 to 42. Three of these women had separated from t h e i r husbands p r i o r to the d i s c l o s u r e of sexual abuse. One of these three had l e f t her husband as he had been p h y s i c a l l y abusive w i t h her, w h i l e another had l e f t her husband because he had been p h y s i c a l l y abusive to both her and her three c h i l d r e n . The p e r p e t r a t o r s i n c l u d e d two n a t u r a l f a t h e r s ( i n one of these cases the son was a l s o abusing h i s s i s t e r ) , one s t e p - f a t h e r , one man who abused both n a t u r a l and s t e p c h i l d r e n , and one case where the p e r p e t r a t o r was the p a t e r n a l grandfather w i t h the n a t u r a l f a t h e r being a suspected abuser. The two men who were s t i l l w i t h t h e i r wives at the time of d i s c l o s u r e admitted to the abuse, the r e s t denied that they had s e x u a l l y abused t h e i r c h i l d r e n . The d u r a t i o n of the sexual abuse was from s i x months to three years and ranged from f o n d l i n g to v i o l e n t anal and v a g i n a l p e n e t r a t i o n . The women discovered the abuse from three months to f i v e years ago. They disco v e r e d the abuse i n a v a r i e t y of ways: two of them were t o l d by t h e i r daughters, one heard from a day care worker, another from a s o c i a l worker a f t e r her c h i l d r e n had been apprehended, and one became aware of i t a f t e r a t t e n d i n g a workshop on sexual abuse. At l e a s t two of the women had themselves been s e x u a l l y abused as c h i l d r e n . As t h i s q u e stion was not d i r e c t l y asked i n the i n t e r v i e w , i t i s imp o s s i b l e to a s c e r t a i n whether the remaining three had experienced sexual abuse as c h i l d r e n or not. This question was not d i r e c t l y asked as the i n t e r v i e w focused on the experiences mothers had f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . - 28 -When mothers perceived connections between t h e i r present responses and past experiences they were di s c u s s e d and probed. Data C o l l e c t i o n : Methods of data c o l l e c t i o n i n q u a l i t a t i v e s t u d i e s i n c l u d e : o b s e r v a t i o n , q u e s t i o n n a i r e s , telephone i n t e r v i e w s and f a c e - t o - f a c e i n t e r v i e w s . Face-to-face i n t e r v i e w s were used to c o l l e c t the data i n t h i s study f o r the f o l l o w i n g reasons. I n t r a - f a m i l i a l s e x u a l abuse i s a pe r s o n a l , p a i n f u l , and somewhat taboo t o p i c and a f a c e - t o - f a c e approach would a l l o w f o r the emotional needs of the women to be addressed. Such an i n t e r v i e w a l s o appears to be the most a p p r o p r i a t e technique f o r r e v e a l i n g i n f o r m a t i o n about e m o t i o n a l l y laden s u b j e c t s as i t "encourages the gre a t e s t p o s s i b l e freedom and honesty of e x p r e s s i o n " ( S e l l t i z , Wrightsman & Cook, 1976, p, 298). To ensure accuracy of documentation, the i n t e r v i e w s were videotaped. Although a l l the women expressed h e s i t a n c y regarding the t a p i n g , when the reason f o r t a p i n g was expla i n e d and the e t h i c a l manner In which the tapes would be handled, t h e i r concerns d i m i n i s h e d . From the openness of the womens' shar i n g i n the i n t e r v i e w , i t i s assumed that v i d e o t a p i n g was not a b a r r i e r or i n any way l i m i t i n g of the data c o l l e c t e d . The eventual comfort w i t h the taping may have been f a c i l i t a t e d by the f a c t that f o u r of the f i v e i n t e r v i e w s were conducted i n the women's homes. The one woman who was taped at the Family P r a c t i c e Unit had been taped p r e v i o u s l y by her t h e r a p i s t , and consequently had a c e r t a i n comfort l e v e l w i t h i t . Although q u e s t i o n n a i r e s , w i t h t h e i r standardized wording and sequence, o f f e r more u n i f o r m i t y of p r e s e n t a t i o n , t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n by the sample p o p u l a t i o n may be q u i t e d i v e r s e . U t i l i z i n g an i n t e r v i e w format, from the - 29 -immediate response to a q u e s t i o n , the i n t e r v i e w e r knows i f the q u e s t i o n has been understood. I f i t has not, the i n t e r v i e w e r has the o p t i o n of modifying and r e a s k i n g the q u e s t i o n . Questionnaires do not o f f e r t h i s c o r r e c t i v e measure. As a guide to developing the questions which would be asked, the researcher began w i t h the p r a c t i c a l q u e s t i o n of: What do we as s o c i a l workers need to l e a r n about these women and t h e i r experiences i n d e a l i n g w i t h sexual abuse? Emerging from that p e r s p e c t i v e were questions which focused on the p e r c e p t i o n s / f e e l i n g s / b e l i e f s around the sexual abuse and those people around her, as w e l l as f a c t s on the d i s c l o s u r e i t s e l f . The questions were developed being cognizant of the need f o r c l a r i t y , and an open-ended non-judgemental p e r s p e c t i v e . The i n t e r v i e w was d i v i d e d i n t o two p a r t s . Part one contained open-ended questions regarding mothers' experiences. P a r t two contained demographic/background questions such as the ages of mother, p e r p e t r a t o r , c h i l d , and the nature and d u r a t i o n of the abuse. The open-ended questions r e v o l v e d around s e v e r a l themes: how the women discovered the abuse was going on and t h e i r i n i t i a l response to i t ; the d e c i s i o n s they made regarding who to b e l i e v e and support; and, the meaning these women placed on being a mother and being a wi f e and i f these notions changed f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . The questions were o r i g i n a l l y designed w i t h the assumption that the sample of mothers would s t i l l be l i v i n g w i t h the husband or partner at the time of d i s c l o s u r e . As a r e s u l t , s e v e r a l questions focused on whether these women perceived a choice needed to be made between t h e i r p artner and c h i l d , and i f so, what f a c t o r s i n f l u e n c e d t h i s d e c i s i o n . As three of the f i v e women i n t e r v i e w e d were separated from t h e i r husbands when the abuse was d i s c l o s e d , they perceived no choice i s s u e s . They had p r e v i o u s l y - 30 -decided to end the r e l a t i o n s h i p f o r reasons u n r e l a t e d to the abuse, as the abuse was e i t h e r a secret at the time of s e p a r a t i o n or had not yet begun. For these three women, questions around the decision-making regarding alignment were d e l e t e d . The questions were given to two p r o f e s s i o n a l s working i n the area of sexual abuse and w i t h t h e i r feedback r e v i s i o n s were made. These questions were r e f i n e d f u r t h e r as the i n t e r v i e w s unfolded and the mothers' feedback uncovered a l a c k of c l a r i t y i n c e r t a i n areas of q u e s t i o n i n g . R e v i s i o n s on the I n t e r v i e w questions f e l l i n t o two main c a t e g o r i e s . F i r s t , some of the questions needed to be more open-ended a l l o w i n g f o r a broader range of response. For example, one q u e s t i o n was o r i g i n a l l y : Did you experience problems or d i f f i c u l t i e s f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , and i f so, what? This was changed t o : What was your i n i t i a l response to the d i s c l o s u r e ? (Probe f o r thoughts, f e e l i n g s and a c t i o n s . ) There were a l s o r e v i s i o n s necessary i n lengthening some questions to f a c i l i t a t e t h e i r c l a r i t y . For example, one que s t i o n was o r i g i n a l l y worded: How important was being a w i f e to you and what s i g n i f i c a n c e or meaning d i d t h i s have? This question was changed to giv e a c l e a r e r understanding of what was being asked: Some women f e e l that marriage i s f o r l i f e , others f e e l that i f things get bad i t i s best to end the r e l a t i o n s h i p . How do you f e e l about marriage and being a wife? (Probe f o r l o y a l t y , commitment, sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . ) F i n a l l y , the format f o r the questions was more of a "general i n t e r v i e w guide" than a " s t a n d a r d i z e d " l i s t of questions ( P a t t o n , 1980). He says, The i n t e r v i e w guide simply serves as a b a s i c c h e c k l i s t during the i n t e r v i e w to make sure that a l l r e l e v a n t t o p i c s are covered. The i n t e r v i e w e r i s r e q u i r e d to adapt both the wording and the sequence of questions to s p e c i f i c respondents i n the context of the a c t u a l i n t e r v i e w (p. 198). This f l e x i b i l i t y allowed the women to share t h e i r experiences i n t h e i r own - 31 -way. The questions l i s t e d were always answered, but only asked d i r e c t l y i f not mentioned i n t h e i r own t e l l i n g of t h e i r s t o r i e s . Although the i n v e s t i g a t o r went i n t o each i n t e r v i e w w i t h the same l i s t of q u e s t i o n s , t h i s d i d not preclude changing or adding questions as the i n t e r v i e w progressed. Probing areas that seemed d i f f e r e n t from other women's experiences added to the r i c h n e s s of the data. R e l i a b i l i t y and V a l i d i t y : R e l i a b i l i t y of a measure can be defined as: ... i t s c a p a c i t y to gauge c o n s i s t e n t l y the phenomenon being measured ... a r e l i a b l e measure r e v e a l s a c t u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n what i s being measured - r a t h e r than d i f f e r e n c e s inherent i n the measurement process i t s e l f (Arkava, 1983, p. 20). A r e l i a b i l i t y q u e s t i o n i n t h i s study would be: Would mothers g i v e d i f f e r e n t responses i n an i n t e r v i e w because they had d i f f e r e n t experiences or because the questions had been asked d i f f e r e n t l y by the i n t e r v i e w e r ? S t a n d a r d i z a t i o n of format was increased by u t i l i z i n g o n l y one i n t e r v i e w e r so i t was more l i k e l y that the i n t e r v i e w questions were asked and presented i n a s i m i l a r f a s h i o n than i f there had been s e v e r a l i n t e r v i e w e r s . R e l i a b i l i t y was a l s o enhanced by v i d e o t a p i n g the i n t e r v i e w s which avoided s e l e c t i v e r e c o r d i n g of the responses. I f the i n t e r v i e w s were documented by process r e c o r d i n g alone, r e l i a b i l i t y concerns might a r i s e i n regards to what the i n t e r v i e w e r deemed s i g n i f i c a n t to w r i t e down, t h e r e f o r e , items deemed i n s i g n i f i c a n t by the i n t e r v i e w e r would never be part of the data which may w e l l be important pieces of i n f o r m a t i o n . Video rec o r d i n g s avoid t h i s b i a s . V a l i d i t y i s the extent to which an instrument measures or assesses what i t i s supposed to measure (Arkava, 1983). As part of an e x p l o r a t o r y - 32 -process, v a l i d i t y has been considered to some ex t e n t . During i n t e r v i e w s i t was important to be mindful of key f a c t o r s that might i n f l u e n c e the way mothers r e p o r t s u b j e c t i v e data. Although these f a c t o r s , such as u l t e r i o r motives, d e s i r e s to ple a s e , and f e a r s of being judged, are kept i n mind, the task of t h i s study i s to understand the meaning these women place on p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences. The i n v e s t i g a t o r attempted to f a c i l i t a t e a non-biased open d i s c u s s i o n of t h e i r experiences by s h a r i n g aspects of h e r s e l f such as previous c o u n s e l l i n g experience w i t h mothers of abused c h i l d r e n , and reasons f o r i n t e r e s t i n t h i s p r o j e c t , as w e l l as ensuring that comments made and questions asked were done so w i t h a non-judgemental a t t i t u d e . The mothers' reports were accepted as having face v a l i d i t y . Although there i s some controversy or c r i t i c i s m of acc e p t i n g the v a l i d i t y of v e r b a l r e p o r t s , i t i s of prime importance i n a f e m i n i s t model. A fundamental component of f e m i n i s t research i s an acceptance of the v a l i d i t y of women's experiences. ... personal experiences couldn't be i n v a l i d a t e d or r e j e c t e d , because i f something was f e l t then i t was f e l t , and i f i t was f e l t then i t was a b s o l u t e l y r e a l f o r the woman ex p e r i e n c i n g i t ( S t a n l e y & Wise, 1983, p. 53). A researcher can remain aware of f a c t o r s i n f l u e n c i n g the v e r b a l r e p o r t s w h i l e s t i l l p e r c e i v i n g them as v a l i d . To i n v a l i d a t e the experience can be dangerous as seen i n the legacy l e f t by Freud i n not b e l i e v i n g women's s t o r i e s of sexu a l abuse and c a l l i n g them f a n t a s i e s , s e c r e t wishes, or l i e s (Rush, 1980). Data A n a l y s i s : I n some respects the process of a n a l y s i s f o l l o w e d a grounded theory - 33 -approach where there i s a gene r a t i o n of conceptual c a t e g o r i e s and t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s from the evidence found i n the raw data (Glaser & S t r a u s s , 1967). In developing grounded theory through q u a l i t a t i v e a n a l y s i s there i s no attempt at f i t t i n g the data i n t o the theory, but an attempt at d i s c o v e r i n g i f the theory i s r e l e v a n t to the c a t e g o r i e s or themes d i s c o v e r e d . As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , I t i s imp o s s i b l e to do pure grounded research as the researcher's p r i o r knowledge, b e l i e f s , and bia s e s come i n t o p l a y . Consequently, t h i s a n a l y s i s occurred w i t h i n a f e m i n i s t framework which places great value on the s u b j e c t i v e experiences of women and views many i experiences as a r e f l e c t i o n of power imbalances between women and men, and wi t h p r i o r knowledge developed through previous t h e r a p e u t i c i n t e r a c t i o n s w i t h mothers whose c h i l d r e n had been s e x u a l l y abused. Previous work w i t h non-offending parents l e d to a beginning c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n of the p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e process e x p l a i n e d i n chapter two's d i s c u s s i o n of a g r i e f model. Such a beginning framework helps to focus and "need not work as a b l i n d e r or s t r a i g h t j a c k e t " ( M i l e s & Huberman, 1984, p. 29). The data a n a l y s i s i n c l u d e d two processes: the s u b j e c t i v e components of the researcher's f e m i n i s t framework and the researcher's previous c o u n s e l l i n g experience w i t h mothers, as w e l l as a l l o w i n g c a t e g o r i e s to emerge out of the raw dat a . Therefore, a n a l y s i s was both deductive and i n d u c t i v e - i n d u c t i v e i n the emergent c a t e g o r i e s , deductive i n p e r c e i v i n g the data from a general framework. Data a n a l y s i s was a process that began i n the data c o l l e c t i o n stage when p a t t e r n s and themes began to emerge. F o l l o w i n g completion of the f i r s t i n t e r v i e w and watching the tape, four themes emerged: inadequacy as a mother, q u e s t i o n i n g of own judgement, ambivalence regarding b e l i e f , and - 34 -a sense of g u i l t . Although the themes were not in c o r p o r a t e d i n t o the l i s t of q u e s t i o n s , they were watched f o r i n subsequent i n t e r v i e w s and i f they d i d not emerge from the women's own t e l l i n g of her experiences, they were asked as probes at ap p r o p r i a t e times, which would be times when they appeared to f i t i n t o the context of the d i s c u s s i o n . Glaser & Strauss (1967) d i s c u s s "comparative a n a l y s i s " where theory development i s a process which i n c l u d e s j o i n t data c o l l e c t i o n , coding, and a n a l y s i s . Of the f i v e i n t e r v i e w s , of approximately one and a h a l f to two hours i n l e n g t h , two were s e l e c t e d f o r t r a n s c r i p t i o n to a l l o w f o r a v i s u a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the data to f a c i l i t a t e the process of a n a l y s i s . The i n t e r v i e w s s e l e c t e d f o r p r e l i m i n a r y a n a l y s i s were w i t h the most a r t i c u l a t e women, who were f e l t to o f f e r the most d e t a i l e d , complete and c l e a r statements of t h e i r experiences. I n a d d i t i o n , these two i n t e r v i e w s r e f l e c t e d the range of circumstances In that one mother of a fou r year o l d was l i v i n g w i t h her husband when d i s c l o s u r e o c c u r r e d , w h i l e the other mother of a teenager had p r e v i o u s l y separated. The process of a n a l y s i s began by t r a n s c r i b i n g only two i n t e r v i e w s . This was done f o r the f o l l o w i n g reasons. Each t r a n s c r i p t i n c l u d e d 20 pages s i n g l e spaced and took the i n v e s t i g a t o r seven to ei g h t hours to complete. Due to the time c o n s t r a i n t s on t h i s study, i t was thought that coding two t r a n s c r i p t s l i n e by l i n e o f f e r e d enough of a c a t e g o r i c a l base from which to analyze the remaining three tapes without t r a n s c r i p t i o n . The t r a n s c r i p t s were read and each point made that was rel e v a n t to p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences was coded. Examples of p o i n t s made that were deemed i r r e l e v a n t to p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences i n c l u d e d a d i s c u s s i o n of experiences i n a t r a n s i t i o n house by one woman, and d i s c u s s i o n s of a - 35 -long-standing c o n f l i c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h a s i s t e r - i n - l a w by another woman. A poin t i s de f i n e d as i n c l u d i n g one or more sentences w i t h a common subject l i n k i n g them. For example, a woman may express i n f o u r or f i v e sentences her d i s d a i n f o r the p e r p e t r a t o r , or her s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the amount of support f a m i l y was p r o v i d i n g . These would' both be de f i n e d as a " p o i n t " . Each point was coded, or deemed i r r e l e v a n t to the study, before moving on to the next. A code i s defined as an "... a b b r e v i a t i o n or symbol a p p l i e d to a segment of words - most o f t e n a sentence or paragraph of t r a n s c r i b e d f i e l d notes - i n order to c l a s s i f y words" ( M i l e s & Huberman, 1984, p. 56). When necessary, these codes were memoed. Gla s e r d e f i n e s memos as "... the t h e o r i z i n g write-up of ideas about codes and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s as they s t r i k e the an a l y s t w h i l e coding" (1978, p. 83). F o l l o w i n g coding of the two t r a n s c r i p t s , a l i s t was made of each set of codes. The f i r s t t r a n s c r i p t had a l i s t of 37 d i f f e r e n t codes, w h i l e the second had 35 (see appendix f o r sample t r a n s c r i p t and l i s t of codes). When these l i s t s were compared, although few of the codes were i d e n t i c a l , they had s i m i l a r meanings. For example, fo u r codes from the f i r s t t r a n s c r i p t l i s t e d on the l e f t could be matched w i t h the four codes from the second t r a n s c r i p t l i s t e d on the r i g h t . Confusion F o l l o w i n g D i s c l o s u r e I n i t i a l R eaction Secrecy and p r i v a c y Need f o r Support vs Need f o r P r i v a c y Caring f o r C h i l d Concern re Daughter Ambivalence re b e l i e f Questions C h i l d ' s Story The codes that emerged from the two t r a n s c r i p t s were then s o r t e d through to develop a system of c a t e g o r i e s and p r o p e r t i e s keeping i n mind that a category stands alone as a conceptual element, w h i l e a property Is an element of a category ( G l a s e r & St r a u s s , 1967). - 36 -To begin the merging process, s i m i l a r i t i e s between codes were looked f o r . These s i m i l a r codes were then l i s t e d as a group to see what to l a b e l the common element between them. For example, the f o l l o w i n g codes were l i s t e d together as they appeared to have some s i m i l a r i t y : Confusion F o l l o w i n g D i s c l o s u r e , I n i t i a l D i s b e l i e f , Not i n Her Re p e r t o i r e of What People Do, Questions C h i l d ' s S t o r y , Loss of C o n t r o l , Ambivalence re B e l i e f , Questioning own Judgement. The common thread running through a l l these codes was that they were a l l aspects of the women's r e a c t i o n to the d i s c l o s u r e . This common thread became the category. What emerged, f u r t h e r to t h i s , were p r o p e r t i e s of t h i s category that i n c l u d e d , b e l i e f s , a c t i o n s and f e e l i n g s . Consequently, there were b e l i e f s that the r e a c t i o n s were based on such as sexu a l abuse not being i n her r e p e r t o i r e of what people do, which i n c o r p o r a t e d an ambivalence of b e l i e v i n g the abuse. There were a c t i o n s taken that i n c l u d e d confusion about what a c t i o n s to take, and there were f e e l i n g s such as l o s s of c o n t r o l , and a q u e s t i o n i n g of judgement. This merging process was a process of b r i n g i n g the ca t e g o r i e s to a l e v e l of a b s t r a c t i o n that would i n c l u d e the v a r i e t y of experiences that these women r e l a t e d . The object of t h i s process was to develop a system of c a t e g o r i e s and t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s that c l e a r l y represented the experiences of these women i n t h e i r d e a l i n g s w i t h i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse. The system of c a t e g o r i e s and p r o p e r t i e s that developed from the merging of codes i n c l u d e d f o u r main c a t e g o r i e s and t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s . These were Reaction to D i s c l o s u r e : b e l i e f system, a c t i o n s , and f e e l i n g s ; Changing S o c i a l R e l a t i o n s h i p s : husband, c h i l d ( v i c t i m ) , other c h i l d r e n , extended f a m i l y and f r i e n d s , and l a r g e r systems; S e l f Issues: r e s p o n s i b i l i t y / g u i l t , and sense of judgement; and He a l i n g Process: - 37 -support vs. p r i v a c y , r e l e a s i n g g u i l t and t r u s t vs c a u t i o n . F o l l o w i n g the coding of these two t r a n s c r i p t s , the l i s t i n g of the codes, and the i n i t i a l development of a framework of c a t e g o r i e s and p r o p e r t i e s , the three remaining tapes were reviewed to a s c e r t a i n i f the t e n t a t i v e c a t e g o r i z a t i o n s encompassed t h e i r experiences, to see i f new ca t e g o r i e s emerged, and to s e l e c t examples which best d e s c r i b e d the ca t e g o r i e s generated. This process began w i t h a t h o u g h t f u l viewing of the tapes, pausing when any major d i f f e r e n c e s from the c a t e g o r i e s generated from the two t r a n s c r i b e d tapes, were noted. As there was a timer on the videotape, any of these pieces noted could be r e t r i e v e d e a s i l y by a l s o n o t i n g the time. Although there were d i f f e r e n c e s , w i t h the exception of one property, i t was found that the c a t e g o r i e s and p r o p e r t i e s had been developed w i t h enough a b s t r a c t i o n to i n c o r p o r a t e these d i f f e r e n c e s . The exception was the property of the Hea l i n g Process c a l l e d support vs p r i v a c y . Although some of the women had i s s u e s w i t h p r i v a c y and wanting the abuse kept s e c r e t , not a l l the women f e l t t h i s . Consequently, the property was brought to a higher l e v e l of a b s t r a c t i o n c a l l e d " g a thering resources". With t h i s l a b e l a l l the women's experiences could be i n c l u d e d . A l l the women attempted to f i n d support f o r themselves i n some way, and f o r some of the women t h i s was balanced o f f w i t h a need f o r p r i v a c y . The three tapes that had not been t r a n s c r i b e d were then watched a g a i n , t r a n s c r i b i n g quotes that would f u n c t i o n as supp o r t i v e evidence. The tapes o f f e r e d much grounded evidence that supported the emergent c a t e g o r i e s . Upon f i n a l p e r u s a l of the c a t e g o r i e s and t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s , one f i n a l change was made by i n c o r p o r a t i n g the category of S e l f Issues i n t o Reactions to D i s c l o s u r e . This change was made as the evidence that - 38 -supported the two p r o p e r t i e s of t h i s category, namely r e s p o n s i b i l i t y / g u i l t and a sense of judgement, were c l e a r l y f e e l i n g s that these women had. Consequently, they were moved to the f e e l i n g property of Reactions to D i s c l o s u r e . With t h i s a d d i t i o n to the f e e l i n g property there appeared to be a c l e a r demarcation between i n i t i a l f e e l i n g s which were part of the i n i t i a l c r i s i s , and longer-term f e e l i n g s which went deeper. The f e e l i n g property was t h e r e f o r e d i v i d e d i n t o the i n i t i a l and longer-term f e e l i n g s . The f i n a l aspect of a n a l y s i s i n c l u d e d an awareness of two themes that appeared to l i n k the c a t e g o r i e s and t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s . As M i l e s and Huberman say, When one i s working w i t h t e x t , ... one w i l l o f t e n note r e c u r r i n g p a t t e r n s , themes, or " G e s t a l t s , " which p u l l together a l o t of separate pieces of data. Something "jumps out" at you, suddenly making sense (1984, p. 216). What "jumped out" was the theme of mother as p r o t e c t o r and the r e l a t i o n s h i p d i s r u p t i o n and subsequent r e o r g a n i z a t i o n that mothers experienced. As these two themes emerged from the c a t e g o r i e s that were developed f o l l o w i n g the coding, these themes would a l s o l i n k many of the po i n t s made by the mothers. T h i s w i l l become evident i n the next chapter on f i n d i n g s which i n c l u d e s the c a t e g o r i e s and p r o p e r t i e s that emerged from the d a t a , quotes that support or provide evidence of these c a t e g o r i e s , and f u r t h e r e x p l o r a t i o n on how the two above-noted themes provide a l i n k a g e between the c a t e g o r i e s . - 39 -CHAPTER FOUR FINDINGS Two c e n t r a l themes emerged from the data i n t h i s study. These were the mothers' b e l i e f i n the importance of t h e i r r o l e as p r o t e c t o r s of t h e i r c h i l d r e n , and the r o l e d i s r u p t i o n s and subsequent r e o r g a n i z a t i o n of r e l a t i o n s h i p s . F o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , expected ways of i n t e r a c t i n g w i t h people changed d r a m a t i c a l l y which l e d to confusion and changing or c o n f l i c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . The r o l e s that became c o n f l i c t u a l f o r these women i n c l u d e d the r o l e as w i f e , as mother, as daughter and as f r i e n d . The r o l e as p r o t e c t o r i s connected to t h i s r o l e d i s r u p t i o n i n that they now questioned to some extent t h e i r a b i l i t y to f u l f i l l t h i s r o l e . These two themes were deemed such as a) a l l the mothers discussed these notions at some poin t i n the i n t e r v i e w and b) g e n e r a l l y these themes emerged i n many parts of the i n t e r v i e w , that i s i n many of the p r o p e r t i e s . As the mothers' b e l i e f i n maternal p r o t e c t i o n and i s s u e s w i t h r o l e d i s r u p t i o n were both woven through much of these women's s t o r i e s , they seem to p u l l together a l o t of separate p i e c e s of data and have t h e r e f o r e been l a b e l l e d themes. The three main c a t e g o r i e s and t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s a l l r e f l e c t or r e l a t e to these themes. They are as f o l l o w s : Reaction to D i s c l o s u r e which i n c l u d e s the mothers' b e l i e f system, a c t i o n s and f e e l i n g s ; Changing S o c i a l R e l a t i o n s h i p s which i n c l u d e s husband, c h i l d ( v i c t i m ) , other c h i l d r e n , extended f a m i l y and f r i e n d s , and l a r g e r systems; and the Hea l i n g Process, which i n c l u d e s g a t h e r i n g r e s o u r c e s , r e l i n q u i s h i n g g u i l t , and t r u s t vs c a u t i o n . The three c a t e g o r i e s can be seen as three i n t e r l o c k i n g c i r c l e s as they - 40 -are not d i s c r e t e but have profound impact on each ot h e r , and are l i n k e d together by the above-noted themes. For example, as a mother deals w i t h p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e d i s t r e s s the a c t i o n s she takes are i n f l u e n c e d by her r e l a t i o n s h i p s , what people around her are suggesting or p r e s s u r i n g her to do. A mother's s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s have impact on her h e a l i n g process i n that a non-supportive environment would lend i t s e l f to an extension of d i s t r e s s f o r the mother and a slower h e a l i n g process. The h e a l i n g process i s e f f e c t e d by the b e l i e f system she i s op e r a t i n g from. I f she cannot b e l i e v e t h a t someone she cares about i s capable of se x u a l abuse, her d e n i a l w i l l i n f l u e n c e her h e a l i n g or g r i e f process. As w i l l be i l l u s t r a t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g d i s c u s s i o n , a l l the c a t e g o r i z a t i o n s r e l a t e to the mothers' perceptions of themselves as p r o t e c t o r s of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . These c a t e g o r i e s a l s o r e f l e c t the r o l e d i s r u p t i o n that these women experience f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e and how an important aspect of the h e a l i n g process i s the r e o r g a n i z a t i o n or s t a b i l i z a t i o n of these r o l e s . The f o l l o w i n g d i s c u s s i o n w i l l exemplify these p o i n t s . Category 1: Reaction to D i s c l o s u r e B e l i e f s : The f i r s t property of the Reaction to D i s c l o s u r e category i s the mothers' b e l i e f that they were guardians or p r o t e c t o r s of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . A l l the women were asked about what they b e l i e v e d was t h e i r r o l e as a w i f e and a mother. A l l f i v e women c l e a r l y placed themselves i n the r o l e of p r o t e c t o r of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . They had much l e s s to say about t h e i r r o l e s as wives than as mothers and perhaps t h i s i s i n d i c a t i v e of t h e i r b e l i e f i n the importance or s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h e i r r o l e s as mothers. The two women - 41 -who were s t i l l w i t h t h e i r husbands at the time of d i s c l o s u r e s a i d : I chose to have c h i l d r e n and I love my k i d s and I'd go to any lengths to p r o t e c t them. I f I had had any i d e a that anything was going on I would have done something on my own. ... you bear the c h i l d and you have nurtured t h i s t h i n g and looked a f t e r i t f o r so long and you have sor t of been i n charge of e v e r y t h i n g that that c h i l d does. So you are very p r o t e c t i v e , very very p r o t e c t i v e . Three of the women mentioned t h e i r r o l e s as wives c l e a r l y p l a c i n g motherhood f i r s t : Once I found out what he had done, there was no r o l e as a w i f e . I could never ever care f o r anyone who would be capable of doing something l i k e t h a t , my f e e l i n g s would j u s t go. Your c h i l d r e n are part of you and you have c h i l d r e n you nurture them and p r o t e c t them. Motherhood [r a t h e r than her r o l e as a w i f e ] was 1000 times more important. I t j u s t took over. Your c h i l d r e n are f o r e v e r where a l o t of times your mates a r e n ' t . I n the l a s t two statements, the b e l i e f s , i n a d d i t i o n to what these b e l i e f s are based on, are very c l e a r . For the f i r s t women the b e l i e f i s based on a sense of b i o l o g i c a l connection to her c h i l d r e n that renders her p r o t e c t i v e , w h i l e f o r the second woman i t ' s a sense of permanence that she has w i t h her c h i l d . With the women ope r a t i n g w i t h the b e l i e f that mothers are p r o t e c t o r s i t i s easy to see how t h i s e f f e c t s the r e a c t i o n s to d i s c l o s u r e when the a c t i o n s these women took are d e l i n e a t e d . Although a l l the women saw themselves as p r o t e c t o r s , three of the women d i s p l a y e d some ambivalence i n b e l i e v i n g that the sexual abuse had occur r e d . These three a l l b e l i e v e d t h e i r c h i l d r e n , and took a c t i o n s that supported t h i s b e l i e f , yet shared some ambivalence i n the i n t e r v i e w s . F o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , they questioned whether perhaps things had been misconstrued, or the c h i l d was f a n t a s i z i n g . I b e l i e v e d her, but I di d n ' t want to b e l i e v e her. I wished that i t wasn't true because I knew what was at stake. - 42 -I t g r a d u a l l y sunk i n deeper and deeper u n t i l I r e a l i z e d . I knew but I di d n ' t f u l l y comprehend i t , you know you can't take that much shock a l l at once. I t o t a l l y b e l i e v e d that i f Ann had been h i s n a t u r a l born daughter I don't t h i n k t h i s would have happened at a l l . As there i s too much at s t a k e , there i s an attempt to not f u l l y b e l i e v e . I n i t i a l l y , the r e a l i t y of what i s at stake i s too much to comprehend i n f u l l awareness. The shock f o r another mother i s too much so l i m i t i n g awareness f o r a time was h e l p f u l f o r her i n assuaging the d i s t r e s s . The t h i r d comment can be seen as t r y i n g to excuse the behavior by f o c u s i n g on the n o n - b i o l o g i c a l attachment of the f a t h e r and c h i l d . I f a reason or excuse can be found f o r the behavior, then i t i s e a s i e r to accept as r e a l . For these women, ambivalence i n b e l i e v i n g was necessary. I t was a coping s t r a t e g y that needed to run i t s course. Two of the women, however, experienced no ambivalence i n b e l i e v i n g . T h e i r b e l i e f was immediate. I t was l i k e a puzzle f i t t i n g t o g e t h e r . I t was so t r u e , there was no doubt i n my mind. One of the women i n the group [mother's support group] s a i d because of my own abuse, I couldn't deny. These two women were the ones who shared t h e i r own sexual v i c t i m i z a t i o n as c h i l d r e n . Perhaps i t was e a s i e r f o r them to b e l i e v e because they had had some f i r s t hand experience w i t h i t . Sexual abuse was i n t h e i r r e p e r t o i r e of things that happened to people which could have made i t e a s i e r f o r them to immediately i n c o r p o r a t e the d i s c l o s u r e i n f o r m a t i o n i n t o t h e i r r e a l i t y . A c t i o n s : A c t i o n s taken f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e i s the next property. This property c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e s the preeminence of the p r o t e c t i v e maternal - 43 -r o l e as a l l f i v e women took a c t i o n s that were p r o t e c t i v e of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . These a c t i o n s Included r e p o r t i n g to C h i l d Welfare or p o l i c e , l o c a t i n g t h e r a p e u t i c s e r v i c e s f o r themselves and t h e i r c h i l d r e n , and arranging f i n a n c i a l matters when necessary to ensure the c o n t i n u i n g f i n a n c i a l support of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . ... I wanted a few minutes to t h i n k so I arranged to take Sue to my f r i e n d s house so I could come home and t a l k to Don about whether we should wait t i l l tomorrow, whether we should do i t t o n i g h t . I knew i t had to be re p o r t e d , but I didn't know i n what area. My s i s t e r was there at the time, and the f i r s t t h i n g we d i d was c a l l the c r i s i s l i n e and they r e f e r r e d us to the c h i l d r e n ' s help l i n e , z e n i t h . [My daughter] and I came out and t a l k e d to Dr. Herbert before my husband got back. [My daughter] and I went together to see her. Those women who d i s p l a y e d some i n i t i a l i n a c t i o n c l a i m i t was due to confusion as to what a c t i o n s were necessary or a p p r o p r i a t e . So I f e l t p r e t t y , l i k e I di d n ' t know q u i t e what to do. I wasn't sure what the next step was. Th e i r not knowing what a c t i o n s to take could be p a r t i a l l y due to p r o f e s s i o n a l n e g l i g e n c e , as w e l l as t h e i r own resources being l i m i t e d due to the shock f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , as d e l i n e a t e d i n the next property. F e e l i n g s : The f i n a l property of Reactions to D i s c l o s u r e i s the f e e l i n g s i d e n t i f i e d by the women. These f e e l i n g s have been d i v i d e d i n t o i n i t i a l and long-term f e e l i n g s . Common i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n s i n c l u d e d : disappointment, shock, f e e l i n g betrayed, s i c k , a l o s s of c o n t r o l . They share t h e i r i n i t i a l responses: T o t a l shock... You s o r t of go i n t o a s h o c k - l i k e s t a t e ... because I hadn't any i n d i c a t i o n . - 44 -I j u s t went i n t o shock ... I l i t e r a l l y f e l t s i c k . I f e l t s i c k . L i t e r a l l y I j u s t f e l t s i c k ... dis a p p o i n t e d to the nth degree. I f e l t very very betrayed. R e a l l y r e a l l y betrayed because here i s one of the most precious t h i n g s i n my l i f e and t h i s person hasn't destroyed i t but has m u t i l a t e d i t . The problem was I didn't have a handle on i t . I d i d n ' t know how I could cope w i t h t a l k i n g to the a u t h o r i t i e s or anybody e l s e . I f e l t I was t o t a l l y over my head. These responses were a l l part of t h e i r i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n . The shock i s evident of the g r a v i t y of the v i o l a t i o n to the c h i l d r e n who are under t h e i r p r o t e c t i o n . There i s shock and f e e l i n g s of sic k n e s s when someone they have been t r y i n g to p r o t e c t from harm has i n f a c t been harmed. There i s a sense of b e t r a y a l when i t has been a partner that has brought t h i s harm onto the p r o t e c t e d c h i l d . There i s concern about being able to handle i t and being over one's head as t h e i r a b i l i t i e s as p r o t e c t o r are now i n q u e s t i o n . There had been an i n t r u s i o n of a new r e a l i t y i n t o t h e i r l i v e s and they were t r y i n g to cope w i t h i t . One woman s a i d she experienced " h o r r o r " f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e as she began to r e l i v e her own childhood and her own experiences of being s e x u a l l y v i c t i m i z e d . For t h i s woman her d i s t r e s s was compounded as she t r i e d to de a l w i t h these past experiences along w i t h the iss u e s surrounding the sexu a l abuse of her own c h i l d . One woman described the i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n to d i s c l o s u r e as a " r e l i e f " as she now knew what was wrong w i t h her c h i l d r e n , why they had been u n c o n t r o l l a b l e f o r so lo n g . I t was h o r r i f y i n g but then I knew what I was d e a l i n g w i t h , up u n t i l that p o i n t , I didn't know what was wrong ... Although t h i s woman expressed d i s t r e s s around the d i s c l o s u r e , the new - 45 -in f o r m a t i o n a l s o brought some g a i n as she f i n a l l y knew what was happening i n her f a m i l y and the awareness of what was wrong was e a s i e r than the unknown. Knowing what was wrong w i t h her c h i l d r e n , she could now take measures to pro t e c t them against f u r t h e r v i o l a t i o n s , she could take measures to help them cope w i t h what they had alr e a d y experienced. She could take on her p r o t e c t o r r o l e again as she knew what she was p r o t e c t i n g them a g a i n s t . The long-term f e e l i n g s that were expressed by these women were a sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o r g u i l t , and a q u e s t i o n i n g of t h e i r own sense of judgement. Statements of g u i l t and s e l f - q u e s t i o n i n g were frequent i n the i n t e r v i e w s and r e f l e c t concerns about not f u l f i l l i n g s e l f - e x p e c t a t i o n s w i t h i n the parameters of a guardian r o l e . A l l the women expressed f e e l i n g s of g u i l t or r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r what happened. T h e i r r a t i o n a l e f o r t h i s g u i l t took many forms: ...maybe i f I had done things d i f f e r e n t l y he'd be st r o n g e r . I f e l t I was a worse offender than my husband, that I had f a i l e d that much... One of the f i r s t phases I went through was how could I not know? What's wrong w i t h me? You s t a r t to th i n k i t s your f a u l t , you brought him i n t o the home, you married him. Some r e s i d u a l g u i l t f o r being a working mum. And once i n a w h i l e I get a pang where I say w e l l maybe i t would have been b e t t e r had she not been baby-sat... And then a c e r t a i n amount of g u i l t i n s o r t of a broad sense, how could I have picked a man that would have done something l i k e t h i s . I r e a l l y screwed up, even before she was even born. And I suppose w i t h the abuse, I f e l t a c e r t a i n amount of g u i l t that I should have picked up the s i g n a l s . . . And there's always the qu e s t i o n of why didn't I know. You t h i n k you would know, e s p e c i a l l y sexual abuse, f o r me i t was a sort of vow that I'd know. These women as a group blame themselves f o r not h e l p i n g the husband be st r o n g e r , f o r not knowing about the abuse, f o r working o u t s i d e the home, - 46 -or f o r marrying the man i n the f i r s t p l a c e . Woven through a l l f i v e s t o r i e s was an overwhelming sense of g u i l t f o r what had happened to t h e i r c h i l d r e n . I t was when t h i s t o p i c came up i n the i n t e r v i e w that two of the women broke down. Rather than p e r c e i v i n g t h e i r p a rtners as blameworthy f o r t h e i r s e x u a l l y abusive a c t s , they perceived themselves as blameworthy f o r not f u l f i l l i n g t h e i r r o l e s as p r o t e c t o r s . They had not p r o t e c t e d , and were consequently at f a u l t . The women i n t h i s study a l l expressed a sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r c r e a t i n g and m a i n t a i n i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s and consequently see themselves as to blame when they d i s i n t e g r a t e . One of the mothers shares her f e e l i n g s on t h i s : I d i d f e e l a very strong commitment to keeping the f a m i l y together. Since i t seemed that I had a l l t h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , l i k e here I was stuck i n the middle... The next strong f e e l i n g that emerged from the data was a q u e s t i o n i n g of sense of judgement. Four of the women began to q u e s t i o n whether they could any longer d i s p l a y good judgement of s i t u a t i o n s , of people, of t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s behavior. ...you begin to wonder about your own judgement... One of the t h i n g s that came to mind was jeepers d i d I make the wrong d e c i s i o n f o r the second time. Did I r e a l l y make the wrong d e c i s i o n by choosing t h i s person to l i v e w i t h f o r the r e s t of my l i f e . So that [missing the c l u e s ] has made me a l i t t l e more s e l f - d o u b t i n g of me, which has made me a l i t t l e more s u s p i c i o u s of anything. I j u s t wonder who you can t r u s t i f you can be so deceived by one person and you can l i v e w i t h them and not know what they are doing to your c h i l d r e n . I f e e l I have no power to d i f f e r e n t i a t e between people. There were p o i n t s when I couldn't f i g u r e out how you could l i v e w i t h someone f o r 23 years b e l i e v e you have one k i n d of a marriage and f i n d out that, you d i d n ' t . As f a r as parenting her i t ' s d i f f i c u l t to know what i s a normal c h i l d ' s r e a c t i o n and what i s n ' t . - 47 -This l o s s of judgement has impact on mothers i n terms of f u t u r e f r i e n d s and p a r t n e r s . Can I t r u s t him, can I t r u s t her? There i s a l s o f u t u r e concern about j u d g i n g s i t u a t i o n s . They ask themselves: I s i t safe f o r my c h i l d to sleep overnight at her f r i e n d s house? When my f r i e n d holds my c h i l d l i k e that I'm not sure how to take i t ? These women, i n q u e s t i o n i n g t h e i r judgement, were q u e s t i o n i n g t h e i r s k i l l s as p r o t e c t o r s . I f I can't judge people or s i t u a t i o n s , how can I ensure the p r o t e c t i o n of my c h i l d r e n ? One woman, on the other hand, expressed an in c r e a s e i n f a i t h i n her sense of judgement as she has learned to t r u s t her i n s t i n c t s . I t r u s t e d my i n s t i n c t s more. Maybe I should l i s t e n to myself more. The ideas I had before that something was happening, were r i g h t . P r i o r to d i s c l o s u r e she had a gut f e e l i n g that something was amiss, but d i d not know what. The d i s c l o s u r e v a l i d a t e d her f e e l i n g s and consequently increased her f a i t h i n her a b i l i t y to judge. She had f a i t h i n her s k i l l s as p r o t e c t o r but saw a need to t r u s t them more. The mothers' r e a c t i o n s to d i s c l o s u r e emerged i n some ways from t h e i r b e l i e f systems. I n seeing themselves as p r o t e c t o r s they took a c t i o n s that ensured the s a f e t y and w e l l - b e i n g of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . The f e e l i n g s they shared upon hearing of the d i s c l o s u r e , r e f l e c t the p r o t e c t o r stance. As p r o t e c t o r s , they care and respond w i t h f e e l i n g s of shock, s i c k n e s s , disappointment. The ambivalence of b e l i e v i n g accentuates the f a c t that the mothers' r e a c t i o n s are not s t a t i c , but are part of a process that evolves w i t h time. The longer-term responses of g u i l t and q u e s t i o n i n g self-judgement a l s o r e f l e c t the process of responses. The mothers' f e e l i n g s began w i t h shock, and d i s b e l i e f and then evolved i n t o a deep q u e s t i o n i n g of s e l f : Am I r e s p o n s i b l e f o r what happened? Can I judge - 48 -people and s i t u a t i o n s ? Can I no longer p r o t e c t my c h i l d ? Category 2: Changing S o c i a l R e l a t i o n s h i p s The second category i n c l u d e s f a m i l y , f r i e n d s , and l a r g e r systems, a l l of which impact on her i n d i f f e r i n g ways. She i s c o n t i n u a l l y i n t e r a c t i n g or t r a n s a c t i n g w i t h the l a r g e r and s m a l l e r systems surrounding her, and consequently, her p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences cannot be explored without examining these systems from a mother's p e r s p e c t i v e . Husband/exhusband: The f i r s t property of t h i s category i s the husband/exhusband as p e r p e t r a t o r . As three of the women had separated from t h e i r husbands p r i o r to d i s c l o s u r e , they d i d not perc e i v e a l o s s of a partner when d i s c l o s u r e o c c u r r e d . The two women who were l i v i n g w i t h t h e i r husbands when d i s c l o s u r e occurred had a choice to make i n whether to leave him or not. Whether o r not these women were s t i l l w i t h t h e i r husband, t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h him changed. For some, there was confusion i n what to expect of that r e l a t i o n s h i p . For others there was merely c o n f l i c t as he continued to deny that the abuse had taken p l a c e . The women's r e a c t i o n s to the offen d e r ranged from hate, to ambivalence, to a focus on h i s good p o i n t s . The two women who were w i t h t h e i r husbands at the time of d i s c l o s u r e d i s p l a y e d the most c a r i n g f o r t h e i r p a r t n e r s . I've been a w i f e and mother to my husband and t h a t ' s probably part of h i s problem. When I see him now over f i n a n c i a l t h i n g s , I have t h i s sense of p r o t e c t i o n . A f t e r 23 years I don't t h i n k I can walk away to the extent that I don't know what's happening to him. - 49 -I a c t u a l l y b e l i e v e d that he was a good person. . . . i s i t worth i t to throw away the l a s t 11 years when there have been r e a l l y a l o t of good p a r t s to i t ... we had a good r e l a t i o n s h i p . This woman who made the l a s t comment a l s o claimed that one of the reasons her husband never l e f t the home f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e was that she d i d n ' t t h i n k he could cope alone. So I guess r e a l l y why he never l e f t was, I don't t h i n k he could have coped very w e l l on h i s own. I a c t u a l l y don't t h i n k he could have coped at a l l at that p a r t i c u l a r time, he l o s t 20 or 30 pounds i n one f e l l swoop. The two women who were l i v i n g w i t h t h e i r husbands at the time of d i s c l o s u r e extended t h e i r p r o t e c t o r r o l e onto t h e i r husbands. I f the man i s seen as i n need of p r o t e c t i o n , then t h i s could be viewed as a means of coping by not l o o k i n g at the r e a l i t y of h i s behavior as an a d u l t , and p e r c e i v i n g him as r e s p o n s i b l e f o r h i s a c t i o n s . This p r o t e c t i v e n e s s could a l s o be viewed as another aspect of women's s o c i a l i z a t i o n as r e l a t i o n s h i p - f o c u s e d and p r o t e c t i v e of those r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Although these two women were to some extent p r o t e c t i v e of t h e i r husbands, there was some ambivalence i n that they were a l s o able to see the r e a l i t y of the s i t u a t i o n . Although they were p r o t e c t i v e they saw that t h e i r husbands were a d u l t s and r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e i r behavior. He di d n ' t r e a l l y r e a l i z e what he was doing, which I suppose sounds p r e t t y phoney when you examine i t and when you t h i n k about i t . [my husband], he's an a d u l t , he's done something wrong ... Two of the women expressed d i s l i k e f o r t h e i r exhusband, but had some empathy f o r them. One woman claimed she hated the man. I hated him, he j u s t made me f e e l s i c k . You s t a r t to wonder how you could have ever l i k e d that person. I t i s p o s s i b l e that the two women who express d i s l i k e f o r the p e r p e t r a t o r have experienced more h e a l i n g around the d i s c l o s u r e than the - 50 -woman who d i s p l a y s hate. The i n t e n s i t y of h a t e f u l f e e l i n g s could p o s s i b l y be considered an e a r l y response to the d i s c l o s u r e , w h i l e a d i s p l a y of some empathy towards the p e r p e t r a t o r may be a s i g n a l of l e t t i n g go, or r e s o l v i n g some of the intense i s s u e s surrounding the abuse. C h i l d / v i c t i m : The next property explores the women's f e e l i n g s towards the c h i l d / v i c t i m . A l l women a r t i c u l a t e d concerns r e g a r d i n g the long-term trauma to the c h i l d : How w i l l the abuse e f f e c t t h e i r f u t u r e l i v e s ? W i l l they grow up and have h e a l t h y r e l a t i o n s h i p s ? This concern r e f l e c t s t h e i r p erceived r o l e as p r o t e c t o r , and as a p r o t e c t o r they are r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the w e l l - b e i n g and development of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . For those mothers w i t h o l d e r c h i l d r e n there appeared to be some d i f f i c u l t i e s or c o n f l i c t s i n expected ways of i n t e r a c t i n g . T h e i r c h i l d r e n were angry at them f o r not p r o t e c t i n g and consequently r o l e d i s r u p t i o n occurred. One woman perceived a tremendous l o s s of her c h i l d r e n ' s innocence, or childhood i t s e l f , w h i l e the other women shared concerns about long-term e f f e c t s of the abuse. I t ' s almost l i k e your k i d s were k i l l e d . That's how you f e e l . They're d i f f e r e n t as a r e s u l t of the abuse. [The abuse was] ... going to cause t h i s c h i l d to have a l o t of s e r i o u s problems. The two women who were w i t h t h e i r partners at the time of d i s c l o s u r e both expressed a d i f f i c u l t y w i t h the c h i l d - v i c t i m i n that she wanted her to p i c k s i d e s . Although i t i s not c l e a r what t h i s " s i d i n g " meant to the c h i l d , f o r the mothers i t was a d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n to be i n . She wanted me to si d e w i t h her and not to si d e w i t h him ... t h a t ' s what was r e a l l y d i f f i c u l t . And because you are faced w i t h two people you care f o r and you know one has done something to the other. I t ' s j u s t a t e r r i b l e t h i n g to have to make sense of i f you can. - 51 -Jane and Tom [two of her c h i l d r e n ] are at a stage that i f I b e l i e v e i n John [ f a t h e r ] I don't b e l i e v e i n them. I t ' s l i k e I have to p i c k s i d e s . These two women had d i f f i c u l t i e s i n the p r o t e c t i v e r o l e as i t encompassed the c h i l d and to some degree the p e r p e t r a t o r . How i s i t p o s s i b l e to pr o t e c t both? Role d i s r u p t i o n occurs here i n that these women are unsure as to t h e i r u s u a l ways of i n t e r a c t i n g i n t h e i r c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s . They may f e a r d i s p l a y i n g t h e i r usual c a r i n g f o r the husband as the c h i l d may f e e l a l a c k of support. Three of the women r e a l i z e d and acknowledged the anger or h o s t i l i t y that t h e i r abused c h i l d r e n were d i r e c t i n g at them. They were aware that these c h i l d r e n were angry w i t h them f o r a l l o w i n g the abuse to happen. The two women who d i d not mention the c h i l d ' s h o s t i l i t y towards them both had four year o l d s . And she was very angry w i t h me. She was probably angry w i t h me because I di d n ' t see that t h i s was happening, that I should have pr o t e c t e d her from i t , that In some way I should have stopped him from doing i t . ... and she was r e a l l y h o s t i l e , r e a l l y h o s t i l e . ...they r e a l l y t r e a t t h e i r mother bad, i n the beginning e s p e c i a l l y . They t h i n k i t ' s your f a u l t and that you knew. Mothers of s e x u a l l y abused k i d s become abused by t h e i r k i d s . They r e a l l y do. ...You have to remind them a few times that you r e a l l y d i d n ' t know because they r e a l l y b e l i e v e that you d i d know because mums know e v e r y t h i n g . He [the f a t h e r ] phoned one nig h t and they [in-laws] put Jane [her daughter] on and l e t her t e l l him that she had reported him. That turned her r i g h t against me because I hadn't handled the s i t u a t i o n . That put them a l l against me, my sons they had a l l turned against me. Although i t was d i f f i c u l t f o r these women to dea l w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s h o s t i l i t y , they seemed to have some understanding and patience w i t h t h i s r e a c t i o n . They have a l l taken great care i n r e b u i l d i n g these r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Again, t h i s i l l u s t r a t e s the p r o t e c t i v e theme evident i n these f i n d i n g s , as w e l l as the theme of c o n f l i c t u a l or changing r e l a t i o n s h i p s , or r o l e d i s r u p t i o n s . The c h i l d r e n are h o s t i l e because - 52 -t h e i r mother has not p r o t e c t e d them and the mothers are understanding of t h i s as they p e r c e i v e the s i t u a t i o n s i m i l a r l y . They b e l i e v e themselves to be at f a u l t f o r not ensuring the t o t a l p r o t e c t i o n of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . They are t a k i n g great care to r e b u i l d these r e l a t i o n s h i p s as they are attempting to again take on the p r o t e c t o r r o l e . As p r o t e c t o r s , i t appears as though the r e b u i l d i n g of these r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s important. Other c h i l d r e n : Non-abused c h i l d r e n a l s o played a r o l e f o r two of the women. These c h i l d r e n were important f o r these mothers' w e l l - b e i n g as these r e l a t i o n s h i p s remained s t a b l e . For one, her young son was somewhat of an escape as he knew nothing of what was going on and she could p l a y w i t h him mai n t a i n i n g a sense of normalcy. And another t h i n g that I t h i n k r e a l l y helped a b i t was that we s t i l l had our other c h i l d that we could p l a y w i t h and express y o u r s e l f w i t h w i t h the other c h i l d and spend some time w i t h . That helped. For another mother, her e l d e s t daughter was an a d u l t and her biggest support as she was n o n - p u n i t i v e . My e l d e s t daughter and her husband... they were supporting me. These c h i l d r e n o f f e r e d some s t a b i l i t y f o r these women w h i l e other r e l a t i o n s h i p s were changing or c o n f l i c t u a l . For these two women, they f e l t t h e i r p r o t e c t o r r o l e was not i n question w i t h these other c h i l d r e n , and consequently, i t was a r e l i e f to spend time w i t h them. The remaining three women were not part of t h i s category as two of the mothers had only c h i l d r e n , w h i l e one mother had three c h i l d r e n , a l l of whom were abused. Family and f r i e n d s : The mothers' perceptions of f a m i l y and f r i e n d s i s another property of - 53 -the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s category. These women r e c e i v e d v a r y i n g degrees of support from t h e i r s o c i a l network. Only one woman s a i d she r e c e i v e d t o t a l support from t h i s group. They were [ s u p p o r t i v e ] . They wanted to be v i o l e n t . I couldn't imagine i t any other way. On the other extreme one woman claimed she r e c e i v e d none, as she t o l d no one, o u t s i d e of p r o f e s s i o n a l s , about the sexual abuse. I d i d n ' t want to t a l k to anybody. Another woman d i d not t e l l many people i n her network, but those she d i d t e l l were an e x c e l l e n t resource f o r her. ... everyone was r e a l l y s u p p o r t i v e . The f i n a l two mothers r e c e i v e d pressure and/or c r i t i c i s m from f a m i l y and f r i e n d s . One woman s a i d her f a m i l y was p r e s s u r i n g her to cut o f f a l l t i e s w i t h her husband, w h i l e another was c r i t i c i z e d by her mother f o r marrying the man i n the f i r s t p lace and questioned by a f r i e n d as to why she wasn't p r o v i d i n g her husband w i t h an adequate sex l i f e . I f i n d f o r most people [ f a m i l y ] I should come up w i t h an a b s o l u t e . They won't be able to t r u s t me unless I disown my husband and my son. Your f a m i l y tends to blame you, I t o l d you you shouldn't have married him. I knew he was a creep. I f e l t they weren't s u p p o r t i v e . People [ f r i e n d s ] ask w e l l d i d n ' t you have sex wi t h him? That's where people's minds are a t , there's not that understanding. How much support a mother r e c e i v e d from those c l o s e to her would l i k e l y e f f e c t how she maintained her p r o t e c t o r r o l e . With s u p p o r t i v e f a m i l y members i t i s assumed there would be l e s s d i f f i c u l t y i n working through g u i l t around the harm that has b e f a l l e n the guarded c h i l d . Expected ways of being w i t h people again changed f o r these women. How do I act normal w i t h my f a m i l y and f r i e n d s i f I don't t e l l them what has happened? How do I act w i t h them i f I do t e l l them? For those mothers who were blamed by - 54 -those c l o s e to them t h i s would lend i t s e l f to c o n f l i c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h those people. Larger systems: The f i n a l property of t h i s category i s the mothers' i n t e r a c t i o n s w i t h l a r g e r systems they came i n t o contact w i t h f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . These systems i n c l u d e : medical [ p h y s i c i a n s ] , l e g a l [ c o u r t , lawyers, p o l i c e ] , C h i l d Welfare, and va r i o u s c o u n s e l l i n g agencies. Although much of the d i s c u s s i o n i n t h i s area was c r i t i c a l of these systems, there were some p o s i t i v e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y around the c o u n s e l l i n g they or t h e i r c h i l d r e n were r e c e i v i n g (or had rece i v e d . ) T h e i r f r u s t r a t i o n s w i t h the systems r e f l e c t the f r u s t r a t i o n s of a p r o t e c t o r and i n c l u d e d the f o l l o w i n g : They l e f t me high and dry... I s t i l l don't know what Is happening w i t h the p o l i c e . You are r e a l l y s o r t of l e f t i n a v o i d . Everyone t h i n k s a mother should know what to do but no one i s w i l l i n g to t e l l them because they are w a i t i n g to see what you do to see i f you do the r i g h t t h i n g . I got that a l o t from the s o c i a l worker [at C h i l d W e l f a r e ] . That was another of my r e a l l y strong f e e l i n g s i n d e a l i n g w i t h the court was that NOBODY seemed to be p a r t i c u l a r l y concerned w i t h her [the v i c t i m ] and how she f e l t ... nobody was the l e a s t b i t concerned w i t h her. The k i d s spent some time seeing t h e r a p i s t s who were not q u a l i f i e d to deal w i t h s e x u a l abuse ... I couldn't a f f o r d people who were q u a l i f i e d . We never got any r e a l help f o r a long time. And we j u s t thrashed about f o r about s i x months t r y i n g to f i g u r e out what was going on i n our l i v e s . These women perceived that the systems they were d e a l i n g w i t h were not meeting t h e i r needs. The con f u s i o n these women experienced w i t h systems could be a r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r own confusion of the i n i t i a l impact of d i s c l o s u r e . There i s a maze of s e r v i c e s , and procedures w i t h i n these - 55 -s e r v i c e s , which could exacerbate the shock and c o n f u s i o n of a mother's i n i t i a l awareness of the abuse. T h e i r comments regarding the system a l s o r e f l e c t t h e i r confusion f o l l o w i n g the l o s s of the p r o t e c t o r r o l e and t h e i r f r u s t r a t i o n i n g e t t i n g support from the system i n r e e s t a b l i s h i n g t h i s r o l e . They looked to the system to a s s i s t them i n g e t t i n g back i n t o t h e i r r o l e as p r o t e c t o r and f e l t that they d i d not always r e c e i v e the help they needed. These comments a l s o r e f l e c t c onfusion i n t a k i n g on a new r o l e . Most of these women had not d e a l t w i t h these systems before and consequently were confused and unsure of what was expected of them i n terms of behavior or a c t i o n s . Here, r o l e confusion was not a component of changing r e l a t i o n s h i p s , but a component of having to take on a new r o l e and new r e l a t i o n s h i p s which meant contending w i t h i n t e r a c t i o n s that had never been experienced be f o r e . A l l the p r o p e r t i e s of the Changing S o c i a l R e l a t i o n s h i p s category, husband, c h i l d r e n , extended f a m i l y and f r i e n d s , and l a r g e r systems, were a l l systems around the mother that had impact on her. Consequently, t h e i r Reactions to D i s c l o s u r e (category one) were not o c c u r r i n g i n a v o i d , but were o c c u r r i n g i n the context of the above noted s o c i a l or environmental components. How supportive/non-supportive, i n f o r m a t i v e / n o n - i n f o r m a t i v e , or blaming/non-blaming the systems are would l i k e l y i n f l u e n c e her f e e l i n g s and a c t i o n s f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . Conversely, the r e a c t i o n s she d i s p l a y s f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e could have some i n f l u e n c e on how systems around her respond. F u r t h e r to t h i s her r e a c t i o n s to d i s c l o s u r e were based on her b e l i e f i n the p r o t e c t i v e nature of the maternal r o l e , and her perceptions of her s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s were a l s o e f f e c t e d by t h i s b e l i e f . - 56 -Category 3: H e a l i n g Process The f i n a l category of f i n d i n g s i s the h e a l i n g process these women experienced. This process i n c l u d e d things that needed to be done to get on w i t h t h e i r l i v e s , and the things they needed f o r t h i s to happen. Part of t h e i r h e a l i n g was to reo r g a n i z e t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n an attempt to end the c o n f l i c t or confusion that they were e x p e r i e n c i n g . This may i n c l u d e r e b u i l d i n g s o l i d r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r daughters, or s e v e r i n g t i e s w i t h a p a r t n e r . I t could i n c l u d e changes i n some r e l a t i o n s h i p s or ending o t h e r s . The three p r o p e r t i e s of t h i s category a r e : g a t h e r i n g resources, r e l i n q u i s h i n g g u i l t , and t r u s t vs c a u t i o n . This category, and the three p r o p e r t i e s that are d e r i v a t i v e s of i t , can be seen as the mothers' attempts at r e e s t a b l i s h i n g the p r o t e c t i v e r o l e , and s t a b i l i z i n g or r e o r g a n i z i n g changing and c o n f l i c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . These were of s i g n i f i c a n c e to these women and consequently, any h e a l i n g that, occurred i n c o r p o r a t e d a reestablishment of t h e i r c a p a c i t y to f u l f i l l the p r o t e c t o r r o l e , and to have the many changing r e l a t i o n s h i p s s e t t l e or s t a b i l i z e . Gathering resources: In l o o k i n g at the f i r s t p r o p e r t y , f o r two of the women, gat h e r i n g resources was balanced o f f w i t h a need f o r p r i v a c y . These two women .. di s c u s s t h e i r p r i v a c y i s s u e s : Nobody knows... there i s nobody on t h i s e a r t h I would want to d i s c u s s that w i t h . I t was something we didn't want to d i s c u s s w i t h anyone e l s e . I t was that simple. With work and that s o r t of t h i n g , you don't want any of t h i s type of t h i n g to leak out. Not that many people knew because i t was something I r e a l l y d i d n ' t want to t e l l very many people ... i t was almost l i k e i t was d i r t y , l i k e you di d n ' t want to have people have you a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i t . - 57 -This need f o r p r i v a c y can be seen as a need to keep s e c r e t the f a c t that they had f a l l e n short of t h e i r p r o t e c t i v e r o l e . They perceived themselves as g u i l t y f o r not p r o t e c t i n g and d i d not want many people to know of t h e i r shortcomings. This need f o r p r i v a c y and secrecy around the sexual abuse can a l s o be seen as an attempt at n o r m a l i z i n g the f a m i l y or a means of a v o i d i n g the s t i g m a t i z a t i o n that can b e f a l l f a m i l i e s . There i s a balance that i s important and i f one i s too f a r over i n the secrecy realm then t h i s could be considered a means of a v o i d i n g the r e a l i t y of what has occurred. For example, a mother may attempt to keep the abuse a s e c r e t to avoid f a c i n g the seriousness of the o f f e n s e . They seem to be s a y i n g , as long as people don't know, I can t r y and make i t a l l go away. For one woman, t e l l i n g as many people as p o s s i b l e was important. I f I t e l l ten people t h e y ' l l t e l l ten people and i t ' l l be known that i t ' s happening to people you know. People have to know that i t ' s happening everywhere and by r e l a t i v e s . For t h i s woman, l e t t i n g people know about the abuse went f u r t h e r than g a t h e r i n g resources f o r h e r s e l f , to a broader consciousness regarding secrecy and how t h i s can l i m i t awareness of the i s s u e i n the s o c i e t y as a whole. Her r o l e as p r o t e c t o r went f a r t h e r than her own f a m i l y . I f she t o l d as many people as p o s s i b l e perhaps she could have some e f f e c t i n p r o t e c t i n g other c h i l d r e n who were being abused. The degree of support from f a m i l y and f r i e n d s was discussed e a r l i e r , and f o r those who had understanding people c l o s e to them they found t h i s h e l p f u l i n t h e i r own h e a l i n g processes. A l l the women had had some form of c l i n i c a l i n t e r v e n t i o n which was a l s o an important component of the h e a l i n g process. One woman c l e a r l y s t a t e d the importance of p r o f e s s i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n : - 58 -I can't s t r e s s that proper therapy i s important too. Because we are o n l y cut out to be mothers, we are not programmed when we are pregnant to d e a l w i t h s e x u a l l y abused k i d s . You need that k i n d of support, you j u s t don't get t h e r a p e u t i c support from f a m i l y and f r i e n d s . This woman c l e a r l y s t a t e s that she does not have the s k i l l s to cope w i t h a c h i l d who has been s e x u a l l y abused. As p r o t e c t o r , she needs p r o f e s s i o n a l a s s i s t a n c e to cope w i t h her r o l e . Another aspect of g a t h e r i n g resources was s e c u r i n g f i n a n c i a l means. Two of the women in t e r v i e w e d s a i d t h i s was an i s s u e f o r them. One woman, along w i t h the f i n a n c i a l support she continued to r e c e i v e from her husband a f t e r he l e f t the home, was b a l a n c i n g two part-time jobs to keep up w i t h a l l the normal expenses of a f a m i l y . The other woman who s t r u g g l e d w i t h economic s u r v i v a l perceived her s i t u a t i o n as hopeless. Even though she was i n v o l v e d i n upgrading her s k i l l s as a s e c r e t a r y , she could not foresee being able to support h e r s e l f and three c h i l d r e n on her p r o j e c t e d e a r n i n g s . I j u s t f e e l so hopeless... I was married, I was being supported and I had a t h i r d c h i l d f e e l i n g that f i n a n c i a l l y t h i n g s would be s t a b l e ... I l o s t e v e r y t h i n g through i t . This woman's h e a l i n g process appears to be i n f l u e n c e d by the economically dependent nature of her marriage and the impact of the severance of economic w e l l - b e i n g . From a f i n a n c i a l p e r s p e c t i v e , she i s unsure as to her c a p a b i l i t i e s as p r o t e c t o r . Taking on the economic p r o v i d e r r o l e i s a new r o l e that she i s unsure w i t h . In g a t h e r i n g resources, the women i d e n t i f i e d what t h e i r needs were i n terms of the v a r i o u s resources. These needs i n c l u d e d acceptance, support, someone to l i s t e n to them, someone who could g i v e them i n f o r m a t i o n , and a break from the c h i l d r e n . ... t r y i n g to surround y o u r s e l f as much as p o s s i b l e w i t h people who make you f e e l okay about what you are doing. - 59 -... there are l o t s of times when you f e e l j u s t overwhelmed w i t h what's going on and i f you have got somebody who i s supportive and strong and i s w i l l i n g to l i s t e n to you. I t ' s needed so much to have somebody there behind you. There should be something there to help the mother. I was t o l d l a t e r that part of my problem w i t h the s o c i a l worker [at C h i l d Welfare] was that I was so emotional I was u s i n g her l i k e a c o u n s e l l o r , but I di d n ' t have anybody e l s e to t a l k t o . We [mother and f a t h e r ] o c c i l a t e between t r y i n g to f i g u r e out i f i t ' s normal adolescent t h i n g s she i s doing or whether i t was because of the abuse that she behaves the way she does. So when we s t a r t e d coming here and working w i t h [the t h e r a p i s t ] , that r e a l l y c l a r i f i e d a l o t f o r us on j u s t what to do w i t h her. You don't know what's normal. You can't f i g u r e t h i n g s out y o u r s e l f . You need someone e l s e to answer your questions you've got about the whole t h i n g . There's a p e r i o d of time I wished I wasn't as s t r o n g . There's a p e r i o d of time when I wanted to to be locked away i n the h o s p i t a l and someone e l s e to deal w i t h i t . . . N o one ever c a l l e d up and s a i d why don't you go out to n i g h t and I ' l l look a f t e r the k i d s . . . There's never a break...And I need one. This l a s t woman who speaks of not g e t t i n g a break s a i d that the constancy of her c h i l d r e n and coping w i t h t h e i r i s s u e s kept her from d e a l i n g w i t h her own f e e l i n g s . I d i d n ' t get a chance to go through my f e e l i n g s f o r years. T h e i r d e f i n e d needs r e f l e c t the needs of the p r o t e c t o r . I f there i s someone to support me, l i s t e n to me, accept me, then perhaps I can again take on the r o l e of p r o t e c t o r . There i s a s s i s t a n c e needed i n t a k i n g on t h i s r o l e again w i t h confidence. These comments a l s o r e f l e c t the theme of r o l e c o n f l i c t s i n that they are i n need of a r e l a t i o n s h i p that i s calm and a c c e p t i n g , someone there f o r them who w i l l l i s t e n and accept. A needed break from the many c o n f l i c t u a l and confusion r e l a t i o n s h i p s that surround them. - 60 -R e l i n q u i s h i n g g u i l t : The women i n t h i s study seemed to be at d i f f e r e n t stages of the second property of the h e a l i n g process that of r e l i n q u i s h i n g g u i l t . One woman s a i d simply that r e a l i z i n g that she d i d not abuse her c h i l d r e n , her husband d i d , was h e l p f u l f o r her. Another woman s a i d : C o u n s e l l i n g i n terms of hearing i t over and over again that i t i s not your f a u l t , i t ' s nothing that you d i d . You almost have to bombard the person i n a g e n t l e way, constant reinforcement from anything around her, as much as you can do. I t ' s not her f a u l t ! And ... the t h i n g I found f o r me i s that i t r e a l l y has to be constant. For t h i s woman, she needed to hear again and again that she d i d not s l i p up i n her r o l e as p r o t e c t o r , i t was not her f a u l t . As p r o t e c t o r s , they could only r e l e a s e a sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and g u i l t when they saw t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s day-to-day a c t i v i t i e s and behaviors begin to nor m a l i z e . Trust vs Caution: The t h i r d property of h e a l i n g was f i n d i n g a balance between t r u s t and c a u t i o n . This can be seen as part of t h e i r attempts to f e e l that they have the s k i l l s to be a p r o t e c t o r . This f i n d i n g a l s o r e f l e c t s the r o l e confusion that these women have experienced. T h e i r expected way of d e a l i n g w i t h people has broken down. Now they have to attempt to reorganize everyday i n t e r a c t i o n s . With t h i s comes much q u e s t i o n i n g : Can I t r u s t t h i s person? Must I be cautious here? Three of the women discussed t h i s i s s u e , a l l i n s l i g h t l y d i f f e r i n g frames. One woman saw i t as a balance of c a u t i o n / t r u s t of people near her daughter: I t h i n k you can be c a r e f u l and maybe I would be a l o t more c a r e f u l i n reading signs i n [my daughter] i f I s t a r t e d n o t i c i n g t h i n g s . And again I f e e l I have to have some t r u s t , you can't go through l i f e not l e t t i n g your c h i l d near a man, you can't do t h a t , i t ' s not h e a l t h y . - 61 -One woman saw i t as a t r u s t i s s u e i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p s as she t r i e d to t h i n k about a f u t u r e where she could t r u s t a man again and become Involved w i t h him, w h i l e another was t r y i n g to r e b u i l d t r u s t w i t h her husband. And s t a r t i n g to a l l over to t r u s t someone again i s r e a l l y d i f f i c u l t . You s t a r t at rock bottom and i t j u s t takes time. The three p r o p e r t i e s of the h e a l i n g process: g a t h e r i n g resources, r e l i n q u i s h i n g g u i l t , and t r u s t vs c a u t i o n were a l l emergent from the data i n terms of what h e a l i n g was a l l about f o r these women. Again, t h i s category i s profoundly l i n k e d to the previous two. A woman's responses i n terms of b e l i e f s , a c t i o n s and f e e l i n g s , along w i t h the systems impacting on her, would a l l have an e f f e c t on her h e a l i n g process. For example, i f a mother's f a m i l y i s blaming, i t would render the relinquishment of g u i l t s e v e r e l y d i f f i c u l t . This category, l i k e the two previous c a t e g o r i e s , r e f l e c t the n o n - s t a t i c nature of the non-offending parent's p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences. From the tea r s that came i n some of the i n t e r v i e w s and the d i f f i c u l t y w i t h which the women discussed c e r t a i n aspects of t h e i r experiences, i t i s obvious that these women are s t i l l i n the process of g r i e v i n g , s t i l l i n the process of g e t t i n g past t h i s event i n t h e i r l i v e s , s t i l l i n the process of g a i n i n g confidence i n themselves as p r o t e c t o r s . As i n some ways, they are s t i l l i n the midst of h e a l i n g , t h e i r process i n doing t h i s was not c l e a r l y a r t i c u l a t e d or developed by them. The f i n a l chapter w i l l i n t e g r a t e f i n d i n g s from the analyses w i t h e x i s t i n g knowledge In the l i t e r a t u r e and d i s c u s s i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r s o c i a l work p r a c t i c e w i t h t h i s p a r t i c u l a r p o p u l a t i o n . - 62 -CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION INTEGRATION OF FINDINGS WITH LITERATURE: To begin the concluding d i s c u s s i o n of t h i s r e s e a r c h study, the f i n d i n g s w i l l be compared to previous s t u d i e s on mothers' p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences as w e l l as the g r i e f framework d e l i n e a t e d i n chapter two. Brown's (1985) study of ten mothers found three stages of coping. These stages ( D i s c l o s u r e , Regrouping, Renewal/Restructuring) i n d i c a t e , as the f i n d i n g s I n t h i s study do, that a mother's experiences are best viewed as a process, r a t h e r than a s t a t i c event. U n l i k e Brown's f i n d i n g s , the women i n t h i s study appear to have a more complex process than can f i t e a s i l y i n t o three stages. I t Is a l s o d i f f i c u l t to c o n c e p t u a l i z e these f i n d i n g s i n t o d i s c r e t e stages as some of the women appeared not to experience t h i n g s c o n s e c u t i v e l y , but at times c o n c u r r e n t l y . Although these women a l l had experiences that could f i t i n t o Brown's stages, they do not appear i n any c l e a r order or sequence, and appear to be more complex than could be e x p l a i n e d by three stages. In l o o k i n g at Johnson's study, there are again s i m i l a r i t i e s and d i f f e r e n c e s . Johnson found that a l l s i x women i n her study were outraged by the i n c e s t , viewing i t as a s e r i o u s wrongful a c t . In t h i s study, a l l the women were a l s o outraged. This was evident i n t h e i r i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n s of shock, s i c k n e s s , and d i s b e l i e f . They a l l took the event very s e r i o u s l y , as seen i n the p r o t e c t i v e a c t i o n s they demonstrated. Johnson's study found that the women showed l i t t l e empathy f o r the c h i l d - v i c t i m . This was not evident i n t h i s study. As noted i n the statements i n the previous chapter, these women d i s p l a y e d much concern f o r - 63 -t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s w e l l - b e i n g . As Johnson notes, the l a c k of empathy may be a mechanism to avoid the h o r r o r of the abuse. The women i n t h i s study perhaps found other mechanisms to l i m i t t h e i r awareness of the h o r r o r . As i n Johnson's study, the women i n t h i s study had d i f f e r i n g s t y l e s of coping w i t h the abuse. Some f e l t a need to t e l l many people about the abuse i n order to o b t a i n t h e i r support, w h i l e others wanted to mainta i n a c e r t a i n amount of p r i v a c y . These d i f f e r i n g s t y l e s could be connected to a person's h e a l i n g process, and i t i s p o s s i b l e that i n e a r l i e r stages there may be more of a need to keep the f a m i l y secret as a means of ma i n t a i n i n g c o n t r o l . In l a t e r stages, they may have some understanding that keeping the s e c r e t from everyone may be a way of a v o i d i n g or l i m i t i n g awareness, and consequently decide that the secrecy must end. Although behavior at the extreme ends of secrecy vs openness may be prob l e m a t i c , many behaviors along t h i s continuum could be ex p l a i n e d by d i f f e r e n c e s i n p e r s o n a l i t y . A q u i e t e r , more i n t r o v e r t e d p e r s o n a l i t y may be i n c l i n e d to t e l l fewer people, because they do not have that need, w h i l e a more e x t r o v e r t e d p e r s o n a l i t y , due to t h e i r s t y l e of r e l a t i n g to people may need to share the event w i t h many people. The most important f a c t o r to a r t i c u l a t e i n comparing t h i s study w i t h those of Brown and Johnson i s that the women a l l s a i d they d i d not know that the abuse was going on. This negates a r t i c l e s that d e s c r i b e mothers as c o l l u s i v e ( J u s t i c e & J u s t i c e , 1979; Cohen, 1983), as w e l l as challenges the b e l i e f of p r o f e s s i o n a l s , as noted by Di e t z and C r a f t (1980), that mothers know. The f a c t that the women s a i d they d i d not know that the abuse was going on could be challenged by s c e p t i c s who may c l a i m that these women would not admit to knowing even i f they d i d know. A l l that can be s a i d i n defense i s that i t i s hard to b e l i e v e that these women could d i s p l a y such anguish, shock and h o r r o r upon d i s c l o s u r e - 64 -i f they had known a l l along. The d i s c l o s u r e sent them a l l i n t o a s t a t e of shock and confusion which i s more l i k e l y a response of someone who d i d not know about the abuse, than someone who d i d . Although i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that a l l three sample populations d i d not know, i t i s necessary to emphasize that knowing does not equate w i t h c o l l u d i n g . Even i f a mother d i d know what was going on i t would be important to look at the circumstances of her s i t u a t i o n : Did she t r y and stop i t but got preempted f o r some reason? Was she too f e a r f u l of her husband to intervene? Did she have the p h y s i c a l or emotional s t r e n g t h to attempt to stop i t ? Did her own repressed memories of sexual abuse prevent her from t a k i n g a c t i o n ? Did economic dependency render her powerless to take a c t i o n ? The point here i s that even i f a woman knows that sexual abuse i s going on, i t does not n e c e s s a r i l y mean that she i s a w i l l i n g p a r t i c i p a n t , that she i s c o l l u s i v e , that she b e l i e v e s that what i s happening i s acc e p t a b l e . C e r t a i n l y , there are mothers i n t h i s s o c i e t y who are w i l l i n g p a r t i c i p a n t s , who are abusers themselves, who know about the abuse, condone i t and b e l i e v e i t i s not s e r i o u s or w i l l not harm the c h i l d . But i t appears from the l i t e r a t u r e that too o f t e n i f a woman knows what i s happening she i s placed i n the c o l l u s i v e camp, which i s not n e c e s s a r i l y t r u e . There may be some women who know and are w i l l i n g p a r t i c i p a n t s , but there are those women who know and perc e i v e themselves as powerless, f o r whatever reason, to take a c t i o n s to end the abuse. Turning to Schneider's model of g r i e f , each women's experiences i n t h i s study can be p a r t i a l l y e xplained by t h i s framework. At the same time, there are some emergent data that are not expla i n e d w e l l by t h i s model. The f i r s t phase of i n i t i a l awareness can be compared to the mothers' shock, d i s b e l i e f , and confusion f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . As i n any g r i e v i n g - 65 -process, these women experienced a d i s r u p t i o n of t h e i r l i v e s f o l l o w i n g the event. The second phase of l i m i t i n g awareness can be seen as a phase that most of these women experienced. T h e i r ambivalence i n b e l i e v i n g was an attempt at l i m i t i n g awareness. As there i s too much at st a k e , too much to comprehend a l l at once, l i m i t i n g awareness f o r a time i s necessary. Two of the women were somewhat p r o t e c t i v e of t h e i r husbands. This can be seen as another method of l i m i t i n g awareness. I f the man i s seen as i n need of p r o t e c t i o n , then t r u e awareness i s not faced as he i s not seen as an a d u l t who i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r h i s own behavior. The t h i r d phase of awareness of l o s s i n Schneider's model i s a time of f a c i n g the i m p l i c a t i o n s of that l o s s . A component of f a c i n g such i m p l i c a t i o n s i s a search f o r meaning and a time of q u e s t i o n i n g . In t h i s study, these women went through i n t e n s e periods of s e l f - q u e s t i o n i n g which i n c l u d e d q u e s t i o n i n g t h e i r own judgement. The i n t e n s i t y of self-blame that was an aspect of t h e i r q u e s t i o n i n g appears to go beyond the confines of t h i s phase i n Schneider's model. This i n t e n s i t y can be explained f u r t h e r by examining the s o c i e t a l component of t h i s blame. This g u i l t and self-blame appear to go beyond the normal phases of g r i e v i n g and perhaps i s exacerbated by s o c i e t a l processes that set women up to be blamed (Coppersmith, 1986). This process i s e x e m p l i f i e d by s c h o l a r s and f r o n t l i n e workers who propagate t h i s (Caplan & Hall-McCorquodale, 1985; D i e t z & C r a f t , 1980). I t seems that there are s o c i e t a l f a c t o r s i n v o l v e d that i n f l u e n c e these mothers g r i e v i n g process, f a c t o r s that are not explained by Schneider's model. Perhaps self-blame i s not a n a t u r a l process of g r i e v i n g , but i s an a r t i f i c i a l c o n s t r u c t of s o c i e t y . I f that i s the case, then environmental f a c t o r s that i n f l u e n c e her p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences must be i n c l u d e d i n any framework that c o n c e p t u a l i z e s these - 66 -experiences. Phase four of g a i n i n g p e r s p e c t i v e i s not c l e a r l y seen In these women's experiences. This i s perhaps due to the awkward c o n s t r u c t i o n of t h i s phase. Schneider claims that i n g a i n i n g p e r s p e c t i v e the g r i e v i n g person e i t h e r r e t u r n s to s t r a t e g i e s to l i m i t awareness, goes through the process of h e a l i n g and acceptance, or takes a c t i v e steps towards r e s t i t u t i o n or r e s o l u t i o n . I f a mother r e t u r n s to s t r a t e g i e s of l i m i t i n g awareness i t seems erroneous to c a l l t h i s " g a i n i n g p e r s p e c t i v e . " He a l s o does not c l e a r l y e x p l a i n what the d i f f e r e n c e s are between someone h e a l i n g and acce p t i n g and someone t a k i n g a c t i v e steps towards r e s o l u t i o n . Would t a k i n g steps towards r e s o l u t i o n simply be one component of h e a l i n g and accepting? This seems to be a t u r n i n g point phase of g r i e v i n g where a person can take steps towards h e a l i n g , or can r e t u r n to d e n i a l . Looking at t h i s phase from that p e r s p e c t i v e , the women i n t h i s study c e r t a i n l y f a l l w i t h i n i t s parameters. As s t a t e d e a r l i e r , these women's experiences were not s t a t i c , and t h e i r process of g e t t i n g through the event was not l i n e a r . For example, one woman may be i n stage two of awareness and then r e t u r n to attempts of l i m i t i n g awareness. To i l l u s t r a t e t h i s , one woman was f u l l y aware of the r a m i f i c a t i o n s of the abuse on h e r s e l f , her c h i l d , her r e l a t i o n s h i p , yet made comments during the i n t e r v i e w that could be c a l l e d l i m i t i n g awareness. She made comments regarding the n e c e s s i t y of keeping the abuse a sec r e t from a l l f a m i l y members which could be deemed l i m i t i n g awareness. I f no one i n the f a m i l y knows, then the f u l l awareness of what happened can be avoided. Schneider's f i f t h phase of r e s o l v i n g l o s s i n v o l v e s beginning to detach from the event and those aspects of a person's l i f e that are now over. - 67 -Some of the women showed evidence of e x p e r i e n c i n g t h i s phase, w h i l e others had not. The woman who had found out about the abuse o n l y three months ago, understandably d i s p l a y e d no s i g n s of r e s o l v i n g the l o s s . I t i s l i k e l y too soon a f t e r the i n i t i a l trauma f o r her to begin to detach from the event. Another woman, who had remarried and was soon to terminate c o u n s e l l i n g f o r her daughter, d i s p l a y e d signs of detachment. She appeared to be moving on i n her l i f e , and an ex p r e s s i o n of empathy f o r the p e r p e t r a t o r i s f u r t h e r evidence that she had r e s o l v e d the l o s s . Another woman who expressed "hate" f o r the offe n d e r could be placed at an e a r l i e r phase of g r i e v i n g . The c o n t i n u i n g i n t e n s i t y of her f e e l i n g s toward the offender show that she has not begun to detach, l e t go or move on. The s i x t h and seventh phases of Schneider's model, r e f o r m u l a t i n g l o s s and t r a n s f o r m i n g l o s s , are not c l e a r l y evident i n these women's experiences. This may be due to the f a c t that f o u r of the women heard of the abuse l e s s that two years ago. Perhaps there has not been enough of a time lapse f o r the women to enter these phases. The f i f t h woman, who heard of the abuse f i v e years ago, w i l l u n l i k e l y e n t er these phases f o r a wh i l e as the court proceedings are s t i l l ahead, therapy c o n t i n u e s , and one of her c h i l d r e n continues to block out the abuse. F u r t h e r to t h i s , i t i s p o s s i b l e that these stages w i l l never be reached by these women. Past experiences, p e r s o n a l i t y s t y l e , and m a t u r i t y l e v e l would a l l i n f l u e n c e whether these phases would encompass t h e i r e xperiences. Schneider's model i s h e l p f u l i n c o n c e p t u a l i z i n g these women's experiences as there i s a process of g r i e v i n g that these women go through, and the phases of t h i s process are repeated and r e c y c l e d as d e l i n e a t e d by Schneider. As seen i n the v a r i e t y of experiences i n the f i n d i n g s , these women go through t h e i r g r i e v i n g phases i n no p a r t i c u l a r order, at times - 68 -appearing to be e x p e r i e n c i n g two phases at once. The no n - d i s c r e t e nature of Schnieder's model i s Important i n e x p l a i n i n g the experiences of these women. Although there are h e l p f u l components of t h i s framework, there appears to be a d e f i c i e n c y i n the model. The l a c k i n c l u d e s both micro and macro f a c t o r s that i n f l u e n c e d these mothers' g r i e v i n g process. The micro i n f l u e n c e s i n c l u d e the woman's own s e l f , (her experiences, her p e r s o n a l i t y , ) and how these personal v a r i a b l e s impact on her g r i e v i n g or p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e process. For example, a past s e x u a l abuse or previous l o s s would l i k e l y have an e f f e c t on how she g r i e v e s . I f she has never d e a l t w i t h her own childhood abuse i t i s l i k e l y that f e e l i n g s w i l l be i n t e n s i f i e d i n d e a l i n g w i t h her own c h i l d ' s abuse, or she would spend much energy l i m i t i n g awareness' as she had done w i t h her own abuse. I f she has never experienced a major l o s s before she may have a more d i f f i c u l t time i n coping w i t h t h i s one. I f she has d e a l t w i t h death and other major l o s s e s b e f o r e , she may have learned coping s t r a t e g i e s that w i l l a s s i s t her i n d e a l i n g w i t h the abuse, and moving through the g r i e v i n g phases. The i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n of s o c i a l i z a t i o n i s a l s o a micro f a c t o r that e f f e c t s the g r i e v i n g process. Women's i d e n t i t i e s , we have i n c r e a s i n g l y r e a l i z e d , have been schooled by l i v i n g i n a c u l t u r e which denigrates and defuses the power and c r e a t i v e c a p a c i t i e s of women to be s e l f - d i r e c t i n g and confident (Hudson, 1985, p. 647). I f I t i s assumed that women are s o c i a l i z e d to be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r r e l a t i o n s h i p s , are s o c i a l i z e d to take on blame when they are c o n f l i c t u a l , and t h i s s o c i a l i z a t i o n process saps confidence and d i f f u s e s power, then the amount to which a woman has in c o r p o r a t e d t h i s s o c i a l i z a t i o n i n t o her selfhoo d w i l l have great impact on her g r i e v i n g process. The i n t e n s i t y of - 69 -the g u i l t that emerged from these f i n d i n g s can be seen as evidence that these women have i n t e r n a l i z e d t h i s s o c i a l i z a t i o n . And, i t i s evident that part of t h e i r h e a l i n g process i s an attempt to assuage t h i s g u i l t and sel f - b l a m e . Macro f a c t o r s that i n f l u e n c e these women's g r i e v i n g process i n c l u d e the systems around her (such as f a m i l y , f r i e n d s , t h e r a p e u t i c agencies, l e g a l , m e d i c a l , c h i l d p r o t e c t i o n ) , economic s t a t u s (dependency/independency), and the expectations of women and mothers i n t h i s s o c i e t y . These women are not g r i e v i n g i n a v o i d . They are l i k e l y i n f l u e n c e d by those people around them. How s u p p o r t i v e / non-supportive, how blaming/non-blaming those around her are w i l l have impact on her and how she g r i e v e s . Her economic s t a t u s may have impact i n that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to de a l w i t h the emotions when one i s preoccupied w i t h economic s u r v i v a l . T r y i n g to j u g g l e s e v e r a l j o b s , seek job t r a i n i n g , and attempt to get p u b l i c a s s i s t a n c e , may a l l be f a c t o r s i n the progress or regress of the h e a l i n g process. The exp e c t a t i o n s of women and mothers i n t h i s s o c i e t y , such as the b e l i e f that women are the guardians of a l l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , impact on t h e i r p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences as e x e m p l i f i e d by these women's d i s t r e s s w i t h people who blamed them, and t h e i r d i s t r e s s w i t h the many c o n f l i c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s around them. I t i s l i k e l y that p r o f e s s i o n a l s who adhere to notion s as de s c r i b e d i n D i e t z & C r a f t ' s (1980) and Caplan & Hall-McCorquodale's (1985) s t u d i e s would i n f l u e n c e mothers i n t h e i r g r i e v i n g process. I t would be d i f f i c u l t to h e a l , to reformulate the l o s s , when p r o f e s s i o n a l s around you are p e r c e i v i n g you as at f a u l t , or e q u a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the abuse. Schneider's model of g r i e v i n g combined w i t h the macro and micro i s s u e s d e l i n e a t e d above provide a complete p i c t u r e of the p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e - 70 -experiences of the f i v e women i n t h i s study. Keeping i n mind the phases of g r i e v i n g complete w i t h the s e l f i s s u e s and environmental i s s u e s that impact on t h i s g r i e v i n g process, the i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r s o c i a l work w i l l be addressed. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Coppersmith (1986) s t a t e s that there i s a trend i n s o c i a l s e r v i c e or " l a r g e r h e l p i n g systems" to operate from wider s o c i a l values that adhere to s t e r e o t y p i c notions about women. She expands on t h i s : The unspoken and unexamined m y t h i c a l assumptions i n t h i s trend are that women are the locus of blame f o r the problems of f a m i l y members, that women, at once, can be counted on to be the emotional r e p o s i t o r y f o r f a m i l i e s w h i l e a l s o being unable to cope, and that i t i s women's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to handle i s s u e s of d i s t r e s s f o r other members. (Coppersmith, 1986, p. 30) She says that the unequal power d i s t r i b u t i o n i n our s o c i e t y i s a c r u c i a l component when c o n s i d e r i n g a c t i o n . As s t a t e d e a r l i e r i n t h i s t h e s i s , there i s an important balance between i n d i v i d u a l / f a m i l y h e a l i n g and i n s t i t u t i o n a l / s o c i e t a l change. As i l l u s t r a t e d by Coppersmith, i t i s necessary that i n t e r v e n t i o n s occur at both l e v e l s . I f only micro systems are attended t o , we are p l a c i n g these i n d i v i d u a l s back i n t o a s o c i e t y that f o s t e r s abuse by the very nature of the power d i f f e r e n t i a l between genders. Therapeutic time can be spent w i t h a mother attempting to assuage her g u i l t and self-blame around the abuse. But, i s t h i s not a band-aiding a c t i v i t y when she i s being placed back i n a s o c i e t y that has u n r e a l expectations of women and mothers. How long w i l l she be fre e of her g u i l t when accusatory f i n g e r s are p o i n t i n g at her from many d i r e c t i o n s ? I f i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse i s perce i v e d as being connected to the misuse of power i n the f a m i l y , then s o c i e t a l - 71 -assumptions about men and women need r e v i s i o n . These r e v i s i o n s would be part of macro s o l u t i o n s to the sexual abuse of c h i l d r e n , and the r e s u l t i n g d i s t r e s s f o r mothers. F a c i l i t a t i n g these macro r e v i s i o n s , or changes to s o c i e t y , could encompass many s t r a t e g i e s . One example would be the encouragement of men i n t o the c a r e t a k i n g arena. This may be e f f e c t i v e i n changing assumptions about the r o l e s of women and men, and changing men's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h c h i l d r e n ( F i n k e l h o r , 1984; Ruddick, 1980). F i n k e l h o r expands on t h i s : As they take more and more equal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the care of c h i l d r e n , men may w e l l come to i d e n t i f y more c l o s e l y w i t h c h i l d r e n ' s w e l l - b e i n g and l e a r n how to enjoy deeply a f f e c t i o n a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s that have no sexu a l component (1984, p. 13). The macro i s s u e s i n v o l v e d i n the s o c i a l work i m p l i c a t i o n s of i n t r a - f a m i l i a l s e x u a l abuse were addressed f i r s t as they are too o f t e n ignored by the p r o f e s s i o n (Hudson, 1985). Micro i s s u e s w i l l now be d e l i n e a t e d . The f i r s t component of micro i s s u e s Is the s o c i a l worker's own s e l f or own f e e l i n g s around i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse, and mother's r o l e i n t h a t . One's own f e e l i n g s around t h i s i s s u e must be explored before working w i t h t h i s p o p u l a t i o n . As seen i n D i e t z & C r a f t ' s (1980) and Caplan & Hall-McCorquodale's (1985) s t u d i e s , many of us are blaming mothers f o r a v a r i e t y of a i l m e n t s . This p e r c e p t i o n needs to be explored and worked through before these blaming a t t i t u d e s encroach upon the mother's own h e a l i n g process. Wattenberg addresses t h i s : C l e a r l y , the a t t i t u d e of the t h e r a p i s t i s p i v o t a l . The t h e r a p i s t ' s unstated p u r s u i t of evidence f o r the t h e r a p i s t ' s assumption of the mother's c o l l u s i o n w i l l t h r e a t e n the e n t i r e process (1985, p. 209). Whatever a t t i t u d e s p r o f e s s i o n a l s have, i t i s important that they are not turned i n t o p r e s s u r i n g t a c t i c s against the mothers. One woman i n t h i s - 72 -study claimed that the t h e r a p i s t she was working w i t h was not a l l o w i n g her to f e e l c a r i n g and love f o r her husband. I t ' s p o s s i b l e that t h i s t h e r a p i s t f e l t anger at the p e r p e t r a t o r , and consequently, could not a l l o w the woman to d i s p l a y any c a r i n g f o r him. This a t t i t u d e was only e x a c e r b a t i n g the anguish of t h i s woman. What was necessary f o r t h i s mother was someone to help her work through the c o n f l i c t u a l f e e l i n g s she had r e g a r d i n g her husband. She d i d not need someone to judge the f e e l i n g s she was e x p e r i e n c i n g . To avoid being judgemental i t i s important f o r the t h e r a p i s t to f i r s t e x plore h i s o r her own f e e l i n g s towards t h i s i s s u e . Another component of micro i s s u e s i s a l l o w i n g these women t h e i r f e e l i n g s , a l l o w i n g them to process them a l l without i n t e r c e p t i o n . For example, a mother needs to f e e l g u i l t and a l l o w a l l her g u i l t to surface before she can begin to r e l e a s e i t . As t h i s g u i l t appears to be i n g r a i n e d i n t h e i r s e l f h o o d , they may need constant reinforcement, as one mother s a i d , that they are not g u i l t y or i n any way to blame f o r the sexual abuse of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . I t may take many attempts at expressing g u i l t , and c h a l l e n g i n g t h i s g u i l t before I t begins to appease. O f f e r i n g an empathic response and a l l o w i n g a mother to express her myriad f e e l i n g s around the abuse, does not equate w i t h viewing mothers as v i c t i m s . I t i s Important that s o c i a l workers do not f a l l i n t o or p o r t r a y d e t e r m i n i s t i c a t t i t u d e s regarding the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of women's i n f e r i o r s t a t u s i n s o c i e t y . Hudson addresses t h i s i s s u e : Empathy i s o b v i o u s l y important but so i s o f f e r i n g women c l i e n t s s t r a t e g i e s f o r a c t i o n both at a personal and at a c o l l e c t i v e l e v e l . A focus on women's resources and st r e n g t h s Is c r u c i a l i n f o r e s t a l l i n g the dangers of hooking c l i e n t s i n t o a f a t a l i s m about t h e i r circumstances (1985, p. 651). This s e c t i o n i s not to argue the p o s i t i v e s or negatives of i n d i v i d u a l vs f a m i l y vs group c o u n s e l l i n g , but to s t a t e that whatever modality i s - 73 -used, i t i s important to r e a l i z e that the mothers of i n c e s t v i c t i m s have t h e i r own i s s u e s that need to be d e a l t w i t h . There needs to be acknowledgment that i t i s d i f f i c u l t f o r them. There needs to be acceptance of t h e i r f e e l i n g s , t h e i r process, and they c e r t a i n l y need an avenue to v e n t i l a t e , and guidance i n d i s c o v e r i n g t h e i r own s t r e n g t h s . These needs a l l emerged during the i n t e r v i e w s w i t h the f i v e women i n t h i s study. As one of the themes that emerged from the f i n d i n g s was the n o t i o n of mother as p r o t e c t o r , t h i s i s s u e needs to be addressed w i t h them at l e n g t h . I t seemed important f o r these women to r e e s t a b l i s h themselves as p r o t e c t o r s , to f e e l c o n f i d e n t i n themselves i n f u l f i l l i n g t h i s r o l e again. S e v e r a l of the mothers s a i d that they needed p r o f e s s i o n a l support i n doing t h i s . From a f e m i n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e , i n t e r v e n t i o n on t h i s i s s u e needs to go f u r t h e r . Once the i s s u e of p r o t e c t o r has been explored i n a non-judgemental way, I t must be examined f u r t h e r . Are t h e i r e x p e c t a t i o n s of themselves u n r e a l i s t i c ? Are they expecting too much of themselves? Where do these expectations come from? Do they want to change or r e p l a c e these b e l i e f s and expectations? I f so, how would they l i k e to change or rep l a c e them? The other theme that emerged from the data, that of r o l e d i s r u p t i o n , needs to be addressed as these c o n f l i c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s appear to be d i s t r e s s f u l f o r these women. For those mothers who were l i v i n g w i t h t h e i r husbands at the time of d i s c l o s u r e they need a s s i s t a n c e i n s o r t i n g out t h e i r f e e l i n g s towards him. Do they want to remain w i t h him? Do they want to separate? Do they need time before any d e c i s i o n i s made? For those women, d e a l i n g w i t h t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p was a confusing piece f o r them. Can they continue to lov e these men who have abused t h e i r c h i l d r e n , - 74 -can they hate or r e j e c t these men who they have l i v e d w i t h and loved f o r so many years? This I s a s i g n i f i c a n t area f o r them and needs to be examined i n a non-judgemental f a s h i o n a l l o w i n g t h e i r l o v e , hate o r ambivalence towards t h e i r husbands to s u r f a c e . For those women who had separated from t h e i r husbands p r i o r to d i s c l o s u r e , t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p can a l s o be problematic. With those men who deny the abuse, i t may be p a r t i c u l a r l y hard f o r the mother to r e s o l v e her f e e l i n g s or r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h him. The mothers' r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h the abused c h i l d a l s o need a t t e n t i o n . I t appeared important to these women to again have a strong r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n . The mothers whose c h i l d r e n were o l d e r and expressing h o s t i l i t y at them found t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p p a r t i c u l a r l y important to work on and r e b u i l d . The mothers may need support i n d e a l i n g w i t h an abused c h i l d ' s anger and h o s t i l i t y , and need guidance i n r e b u i l d i n g o r r e e s t a b l i s h i n g a strong connection w i t h them. As a l l the mothers i n t h i s study experienced g u i l t and self-blame around the abuse, m a i n t a i n i n g o r r e b u i l d i n g strong t i e s w i t h the c h i l d may be a key to r e l i n q u i s h i n g some of the g u i l t . I f they f e e l c o n f i d e n t that the c o n f l i c t i n t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p i s assuaging t h i s may l e s s e n the g u i l t they experience. R e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h f r i e n d s and f a m i l y were a l s o c o n f l i c t u a l f o r some of the mothers i n t h i s study. Again, i t seemed important that these r e l a t i o n s h i p s be examined. These mothers may need to make d e c i s i o n s around these r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I f there i s a f r i e n d or f a m i l y member who i s accusatory how can t h i s be d e a l t with? Are there some r e l a t i o n s h i p s that need to be severed? Are there some r e l a t i o n s h i p s that are changing and becoming c l o s e r through t h i s experience? Can these be developed more and u t i l i z e d as support? - 75 -The mothers have a l s o taken on some new r o l e s as t h e i r environment changes and they have to dea l w i t h systems they have perhaps never d e a l t w i t h b e f o r e . There appeared to be much confusion i n d e a l i n g w i t h systems, which i s evident of t h e i r d i f f i c u l t i e s i n t a k i n g on t h i s new r o l e . In working i n many ways as the c h i l d ' s advocate, how do they d e a l w i t h p o l i c e , c o u r t s , s o c i a l s e r v i c e s ? I t seems that b a s i c i n f o r m a t i o n would be h e l p f u l to them i n t a k i n g on t h i s new r o l e . For some women the r o l e of economic p r o v i d e r was a new one, and problematic. Remaining cognizant of the economic i s s u e s of the present s o c i e t y ( i e . l a c k of j o b s , women r e c e i v i n g lower pay) there are steps that can be taken i n a s s i s t i n g these women i n t a k i n g on t h i s new r o l e . Support and encouragement may be h e l p f u l to her i n g a i n i n g confidence i n t h i s area, along w i t h b a s i c i n f o r m a t i o n on job t r a i n i n g , or d i s c u s s i o n s of long-term career p l a n n i n g . This theme of r o l e or r e l a t i o n s h i p d i s r u p t i o n a l s o p o i n t s to the importance of the t h e r a p e u t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p at t h i s time. This r e l a t i o n s h i p may be one of the few that Is not i n f l u x or c o n f l i c t u a l . I t can be a s t a b i l i z i n g f o r c e f o r mothers when they f e e l surrounded by conf u s i o n . Another component of s o c i a l work i n t e r v e n t i o n s w i t h t h i s p o p u l a t i o n i s being aware of the f a c t that d i f f e r e n t types of i n t e r v e n t i o n s may be c a l l e d f o r depending on the g r i e v i n g phase the c l i e n t i s i n . Consequently, i t i s important to be cognizant of the phase of the i n d i v i d u a l when planning i n t e r v e n t i o n s . For example, a woman who i s i n phase one of i n i t i a l awareness needs a s s i s t a n c e In b a s i c i s s u e s of her l i f e . There i s so much shock and confusion at t h i s time that she needs someone who i s calm and can ex p l o r e w i t h her the p o s s i b l e steps to take i n moving through the i n i t i a l trauma. She may need a s s i s t a n c e i n d e a l i n g - 76 -with a u t h o r i t i e s , or i n coping w i t h traumatized c h i l d r e n , or i n f i n d i n g f i n a n c i a l means f o r h e r s e l f and her f a m i l y . For a mother who i s i n the t h i r d phase of awareness of l o s s , she needs someone to l i s t e n to her and explore w i t h her her deep f e e l i n g s of anguish and g r i e f as she becomes f u l l y aware of the r a m i f i c a t i o n s of the abuse. For a woman who appears to be e x p e r i e n c i n g Schneider's phase f i v e , r e s o l v i n g l o s s , she may need a s s i s t a n c e i n planning f o r the f u t u r e , or e x p l o r i n g her d e s i r e s to put the event behind her and i n t o p e r s p e c t i v e . Attempting to a s c e r t a i n the phase at which the mother i s at can be h e l p f u l i n planning the i n t e r v e n t i o n . U t i l i z i n g a s p e c i f i c i n t e r v e n t i o n too soon can be useless or perhaps harmful to a mother. C h a l l e n g i n g a mothers g u i l t when she i s i n the i n i t i a l phase of g r i e f can be d e t r i m e n t a l to her progress. What expedites the process at that p o i n t i s b a s i c i n f o r m a t i o n , guidance, and support, not an e x p l o r a t i o n of where her b e l i e f s come from. A mother who i s beginning to r e s o l v e the l o s s no longer needs t h i s b a s i c a s s i s t a n c e as her l e v e l of f u n c t i o n i n g would probably be c l o s e to her p r e - d i s c l o s u r e l e v e l . S o c i a l workers, i n working w i t h mothers whose c h i l d r e n were abused, need to be aware of t h e i r own is s u e s around i n c e s t as w e l l as the i s s u e s of these women such as p r o t e c t i v e n e s s , g u i l t / s e l f - b l a m e , problems i n re g a i n i n g t r u s t of other people and t r u s t of t h e i r own judgement, and the r o l e d i s o r g a n i z a t i o n and r e s u l t i n g confusion that f o l l o w s d i s c l o s u r e . S o c i a l workers a l s o need to be aware of how environmental f a c t o r s i n f l u e n c e the g r i e v i n g process, along w i t h a mother's s e l f i s s u e s such as a previous sexual abuse. Whether a t h e r a p i s t s works w i t h i n d i v i d u a l s , f a m i l i e s or groups, i t i s imperative that they have some awareness of the experiences of these women, of the is s u e s mothers of s e x u a l l y abused - 77 -c h i l d r e n have to contend w i t h f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY: One of the l i m i t a t i o n s of t h i s research study i s the l i m i t a t i o n of the sample. The sample i s sm a l l and purposive i n nature which, from a q u a n t i t a t i v e p e r s p e c t i v e , l i m i t s g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y . Some q u a l i t a t i v e methodologists p r o f f e r a d e f i n i t i o n of g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y that does not connect a study's sample s i z e to the a b i l i t y to g e n e r a l i z e . For example, G l a s e r and S t r a u s s , i n d i s c u s s i n g grounded theory, c l a i m that the l e v e l of g e n e r a l i t y of the concepts d e r i v e d from the raw data i s f l e x i b l e enough to be a p p l i c a b l e to a v a r i e t y of s i t u a t i o n s . To achieve a theory general enough to be a p p l i c a b l e to the t o t a l p i c t u r e , i t i s more important to accumulate a vast number of d i v e r s e q u a l i t a t i v e f a c t s on many d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n s i n the are a . T h i s d i v e r s i t y f a c i l i t a t e s the development of a theory w i t h both a s u f f i c i e n t number of general concepts r e l e v a n t to most s i t u a t i o n s and p l a u s i b l e r e l a t i o n s among these c a t e g o r i e s to account f o r much everyday behavior i n the s i t u a t i o n s (1967, p. 243). As noted e a r l i e r , these women are from v a s t l y d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n s : a v a r i e t y of ages, a range of abusive behavior, d i f f e r e n c e s i n the s t a t u s of the r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the o f f e n d e r , a v a r i e t y of ages of the c h i l d r e n , a v a r i e t y of personal backgrounds from p r o f e s s i o n a l to homemakers, d i f f e r e n c e s i n the l e n g t h of time s i n c e d i s c l o s u r e , d i f f e r e n c e s i n the amount of support r e c e i v e d from f a m i l y and the p r o f e s s i o n a l community, and d i f f e r e n c e s i n the offenders admittance or d e n i a l of the event. With these d i f f e r e n c e s , the emergent data o f f e r s a l e v e l of g e n e r a l i t y that accounts f o r much d i v e r s i t y and consequently, a c e r t a i n l e v e l of a p p l i c a b i l i t y to the general p o p u l a t i o n . Although there i s d i v e r s i t y amongst the women, there are s i m i l a r i t i e s which l i m i t g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y . These women are a l l from s e r v i c e - r i c h - 78 -environments. They have a l l been i n v o l v e d i n some k i n d of treatment: i n d i v i d u a l , c o u p l e / f a m i l y , or group which l i k e l y makes t h e i r experiences d i f f e r e n t from mothers who are i s o l a t e d and do not have s e r v i c e s a v a i l a b l e to them, or women who are surrounded by s e r v i c e o r g a n i z a t i o n s but do not choose to u t i l i z e them. For the most p a r t , research s t u d i e s of sexu a l abuse are cases that have come to the a t t e n t i o n of the "system." Would a per u s a l of those cases that never come to the a t t e n t i o n of the c o u r t s , p r o t e c t i o n s e r v i c e s , t h e r a p e u t i c agencies or p o l i c e , weave a very d i f f e r e n t p i c t u r e ? At t h i s p o i n t , i t i s imp o s s i b l e to know. In a t t r a c t i n g cases that have never been Involved w i t h the system, i t would be i m p o s s i b l e to honour t h e i r c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y as, by law i n B r i t i s h Columbia, cases of sexual abuse must be reported to a u t h o r i t i e s . I n a d d i t i o n , from an e t h i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e , one could not simply i n t e r v i e w or study mothers of s e x u a l l y abused c h i l d r e n without suggesting, encouraging or o f f e r i n g t h e r a p e u t i c i n t e r v e n t i o n . These women were a l l Caucasian, b i a s i n g the data i n terms of e t h n i c i t y . Would d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s d i s p l a y d i f f e r e n t experiences? Would women who are from c u l t u r e s that place great emphasis on extended f a m i l i e s have g r e a t e r d i f f i c u l t i e s i n coping w i t h i n t r a - f a m i l i a l sexual abuse? Would women who come from c u l t u r e s that are l e s s s e c u l a r than ours have d i f f e r i n g experiences? Although the ages of the mothers ranged from 24 to 42, the three i n the middle were a l l i n t h e i r l a t e t h i r t i e s . Would a g r e a t e r range of ages y i e l d d i f f e r e n t data? The r e t r o s p e c t i v e nature of the study can be seen as l i m i t i n g i n that perceptions of the event and i n i t i a l c r i s i s may have changed w i t h the passage of time. This could a l s o be deemed a s t r e n g t h i n that the passing - 79 -of time has allowed some d i s t a n c e from the i n i t i a l p a i n and consequently some i n t r o s p e c t i o n has l i k e l y occurred. I t i s p o s s i b l e that these women were more a r t i c u l a t e and c l e a r i n r e l a t i n g t h e i r s t o r i e s as there has been some time f o r g r i e v i n g . Another l i m i t a t i o n i s the biases of the i n v e s t i g a t o r . Most rese a r c h s t u d i e s are done through the eyes or perceptions of one person. The framework through which that person views l i f e i n f l u e n c e s the a n a l y s i s of the data. I t i s l i k e l y that an i n v e s t i g a t o r who was not coming from a f e m i n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e would see d i f f e r e n t c a t e g o r i e s , d i f f e r e n t themes emerging from the data. This study can be deemed "one-sided", yet as s t a t e d by Becker, "each one-sided s t o r y w i l l provide f u r t h e r s t u d i e s that g r a d u a l l y enlarge our grasp of a l l r e l e v a n t f a c e t s " (1970, p. 134). In l o o k i n g at how t h i s study could have been done d i f f e r e n t l y , the f i r s t s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r i s that the sample could have been l a r g e r and more v a r i e d . I t Is d i f f i c u l t to f i n d w i l l i n g mothers to d i s c u s s , w i t h yet another s t r a n g e r , such a p a i n f u l event i n t h e i r l i v e s . With more time, perhaps more mothers could have been found. I t would a l s o have been h e l p f u l to f i n d mothers of d i f f e r e n t e t h n i c backgrounds and a g r e a t e r range of ages to add to the d i v e r s i t y of the p o p u l a t i o n . This i n v e s t i g a t o r would a l s o make changes i n the i n t e r v i e w guide i n terms of s i m p l i f y i n g i t . I t seemed at times that the questions got i n the way of the mothers' own t e l l i n g of t h e i r s t o r i e s . These women were open and w i l l i n g to share many aspects of t h e i r experiences. I t appears that a few very broad questions would work best a l l o w i n g f o r the i n t e r v i e w to f l o w i n a manner that made sense to the mother, w i t h the i n t e r v i e w e r probing c e r t a i n pieces as the s t o r y unfolded. When the coding was begun i t became evident that there could have been - 80 -more probing of c e r t a i n statements during the i n t e r v i e w s to c l a r i f y t h e i r meaning. I t was d i f f i c u l t to code c e r t a i n pieces of the data as there was a lack, of c l a r i t y i n the p o i n t or statement made. Although, i t may be u n r e a l i s t i c to expect more i n t e r v i e w probes as i t i s d i f f i c u l t to remain aware of any u n c l a r i t y and act on i t w i t h a probe when a mother i s s t r u g g l i n g to t e l l a d i s t r e s s i n g p i e c e , or i s anxious and i s speaking very q u i c k l y . In f o c u s i n g on the a n a l y s i s of the data, i f the i n v e s t i g a t o r was beginning again she would c r e a t e a " s t a r t l i s t of codes p r i o r to f i e l d w o r k " ( M i l e s & Huberman, 1984, p. 57). They d e f i n e t h i s f u r t h e r : That l i s t comes from the conceptual framework, l i s t of rese a r c h q u e s t i o n s , hypotheses, problem areas, and key v a r i a b l e s that the researcher b r i n g s i n t o the study (p. 57). With the l a r g e amount of data that needed to be analyzed, the process would have been s i m p l i f i e d had a p r e l i m i n a r y coding l i s t been c o n s t r u c t e d p r i o r to the c o l l e c t i o n of da t a . I f t h i s method was u t i l i z e d , i t would have been important to remain open to changes and r e v i s i o n s of the o r i g i n a l l i s t as the data was c o l l e c t e d and analyzed. A s t a r t l i s t would have f a c i l i t a t e d the a n a l y s i s as long as f l e x i b i l i t y i n the coding was maintained. In r e f l e c t i n g f u r t h e r on the process of a n a l y s i s , i f beginning again the i n v e s t i g a t o r would be more s t r i n g e n t i n the phrases or words used as codes. I t appeared that some of the codes were not d e s c r i p t i v e enough which was evident when the t e x t would have to be reread to e s t a b l i s h a c l e a r e r meaning of the code. Although the l e s s - d e s c r i p t i v e codes d i d not bias or a l t e r the f i n d i n g s of t h i s study, they d i d make the process of a n a l y s i s more time consuming than i t needed to be. - 81 -QUESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH: In l o o k i n g at these women's experiences i n terms of a g r i e f model, i t i s evident that t h e i r process would be i n f l u e n c e d by previous l o s s e s . This leads to f u r t h e r research f o c u s i n g on how a woman coped w i t h previous l o s s e s and how t h i s e f f e c t e d her process f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e . Research i n t h i s area, may help c l i n i c i a n s i n knowing how to help women make the connections between past l o s s e s and past coping mechanisms, and how they can be u t i l i z e d i n the present. Would mothers have s i m i l a r responses i f the p e r p e t r a t o r was a s t r a n g e r or more p e r i p h e r a l f a m i l y member? Having a b e t t e r understanding of the d i f f e r e n c e s or s i m i l a r i t i e s between these two would a s s i s t c l i n i c i a n s i n working w i t h these groups. I f a t h e r a p i s t worked w i t h a woman whose c h i l d was abused by a f a t h e r he/she would know what the mothers s p e c i f i c i s s u e s were, as compared to abuse by an uncle f o r example, and consequently, know where to f o c u s . As noted e a r l i e r , as these women's h e a l i n g processes were not c l e a r l y a r t i c u l a t e d i t would be i n t e r e s t i n g to do a f o l l o w - u p study of these women i n a number of years to develop a c l e a r e r understanding of t h e i r experiences once the i n i t i a l trauma had subsided. Do they ever r e l i n q u i s h the g u i l t they f e e l f o r what has happened? Do they ever regain a sense of confidence i n t h e i r r o l e as p r o t e c t o r ? How do they, i n the long term, reorganize or s e t t l e t h e i r changing r o l e s and r e l a t i o n s h i p s ? In the long-term, does the event a f f e c t t h e i r i n t i m a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n any way? With "mother as p r o t e c t o r " being one of the themes i n t h i s study, i t would be of b e n e f i t to do an in-depth study comparing mothers who see themselves as p r o t e c t o r s w i t h those mothers whose a c t i o n s are not p r o t e c t i v e . What b a r r i e r s d i d the n o n - p r o t e c t i v e mothers face that - 82 -p r o t e c t i v e mothers bypass? What are the d i f f e r e n c e s i n the experiences of these two groups? With a p e r u s a l of some of the judgemental l i t e r a t u r e on mothers of i n c e s t v i c t i m s , and the l a c k of i n f o r m a t i o n a v a i l a b l e on t h e i r p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences, i t i s evident that mothers have i n the past been misunderstood or ignored by p r o f e s s i o n a l s . This e x p l o r a t o r y study has examined the mothers' p o s t - d i s c l o s u r e experiences, yet Is only a p r e l i m i n a r y look at mothers who must cope w i t h t h i s type of event i n t h e i r l i v e s . 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London: Routledge and Kegan. Swanson, L i s a & B i a g g l o , Mary Kay (1985). Therapeutic p e r s p e c t i v e s on father-daughter i n c e s t . The American J o u r n a l of P s y c h i a t r y , V o l . 142, No. 6 p. 667-674. V a l e n t i c h , Mary & G r i p t o n , James (1984). I d e o l o g i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e s on the s e x u a l a s s a u l t of women. S o c i a l S e r v i c e Review, September p. 448-461. Ward, E l i z a b e t h (1984). Father-Daughter Rape. London: The Women's Pr e s s . - 88 -Wattenberg, Esther (1985). In a d i f f e r e n t l i g h t : a f e m i n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e on the r o l e of mothers i n father-daughter i n c e s t . C h i l d Welfare, V o l . 64, No. 3 p. 203-211. Wetzel, J a n i c e Wood (1986). A f e m i n i s t world view conceptual framework. S o c i a l Casework, V o l . 67, No. 3 p. 166-173. - 89 -APPENDICES (A to F) - 90 -APPENDIX A INTERVIEW GUIDE Part 1: 1. How d i d you i n i t i a l l y hear about the abuse of your daughter (son)? 2. What was your i n i t i a l response to the d i s c l o s u r e ? (Probe f o r thoughts, f e e l i n g s , a c t i o n s . ) 3. In t h i s i n i t i a l response, d i d you f e e l that you had to make a choice between su p p o r t i n g your husband or your c h i l d ? I f so, how d i d you come to t h i s d e c i s i o n ? Any ambivalence i n t h i s d e c i s i o n ? 4. Did t h i s d e c i s i o n change over time? I f so, what f a c t o r s l e d to the change i n who you would support? (Probes f o r the f o l l o w i n g f a c t o r s : f a m i l y , f r i e n d s , p r o f e s s i o n a l s , f i n a n c i a l . ) 5. Whenever we make a d e c i s i o n , there are u s u a l l y pro's and con's of each c h o i c e . I n the d e c i s i o n s you made f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , what were the gains and l o s s e s of each? 6. What kin d s of things/people were h e l p f u l to you i n making your d e c i s i o n s ? (Probes: f a m i l y , f r i e n d s , p r o f e s s i o n a l s , s p e c i f i c advice or an event.) 7. Some women f e e l that marriage i s f o r l i f e , others f e e l that i f th i n g s get bad or too d i f f i c u l t i t i s best to end the r e l a t i o n s h i p . How do you f e e l about marriage and being a wife? (Probe f o r l o y a l t y , commitment, sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . ) 8. Some mothers f e e l q u i t e p r o t e c t i v e towards t h e i r c h i l d r e n , others f e e l t hat a c h i l d ' s independence i s more important. What does being a mother mean to you? Has t h i s changed s i n c e d i s c l o s u r e ? (Sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , p r o t e c t i v e n e s s . ) 9. F o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , d i d you f e e l at any time that your r o l e s of w i f e and mother were somehow c l a s h i n g ? I f so, how? 10. What would have needed to happen that would have allowed you to stay w i t h your husband? (Leave your husband?) 11. I f you had to go through t h i s experience a g a i n , i s there anything that you would do d i f f e r e n t l y ? 12. What advice would you give other women who are faced w i t h the same i s s u e s ? 13. We have t a l k e d a l o t about your experiences today, are there any areas that have not been discussed that you would l i k e to mention? - 91 -Part 2: A f t e r i n t e r v i e w completion, the f o l l o w i n g demographic/background data w i l l be gathered i f not r a i s e d i n the d i s c u s s i o n s of Part 1. 1. Date and d u r a t i o n of abuse, amount of time s i n c e d i s c l o s u r e 2. V i c t i m : age and sex 3. Mother: age 4. (Step)Father: age 5. Other c h i l d r e n : age and sex 6. R e l a t i o n s h i p of offender to v i c t i m : f a t h e r , s t e p - f a t h e r , common-law 7. Family r e u n i f i c a t i o n : yes, no, p o s s i b l e 8. Family's economic s t a t u s 9. Status of of f e n d e r : Assumed r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ? Denied? In treatment? Charges pending? - 92 -APPENDIX B INTERVIEW CONSENT FORM Mothers of daughters who have been s e x u a l l y abused are o f t e n faced w i t h a d i f f i c u l t s i t u a t i o n . To be abl e to help such mothers, i t i s important that p r o f e s s i o n a l s understand t h i s . e x p e r i e n c e . The purpose of t h i s i n t e r v i e w i s to b e t t e r understand the p e r s p e c t i v e of mothers f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e of father-daughter i n c e s t . By s h a r i n g aspects of your own perso n a l experiences i n t h i s r egard, you w i l l be c o n t r i b u t i n g to a broadening of p r o f e s s i o n a l understanding i n t h i s area. The i n t e r v i e w m a t e r i a l i s f o r a resea r c h study e n t i t l e d "Experiences of the Mother as the Non-Offending Parent i n I n t r a - F a m i l i a l Sexual Abuse," which focuses on the process mothers go through f o l l o w i n g a d i s c l o s u r e of sexual abuse i n the f a m i l y . The i n t e r v i e w s are being undertaken by Martine C h a r l e s , a UBC graduate student who i s working as a t h e r a p i s t i n the Sexual Abuse P r o j e c t which i s a s p e c i a l p r o j e c t coordinated by the Family P r a c t i c e U n i t . C o n f i d e n t i a l i t y w i l l be respected, w i t h the exception of new d i s c l o s u r e s of c h i l d abuse, which by law must be reported to the M i n i s t r y of S o c i a l S e r v i c e s . No i d e n t i f y i n g i n f o r m a t i o n such as names or addresses w i l l be used i n the resea r c h study. I f you consent to the i n t e r v i e w , you are f r e e to withdraw at any time, or to r e f u s e to answer any of the qu e s t i o n s . Any such choice w i l l i n no way j e o p a r d i z e f u r t h e r treatment or s e r v i c e s at the Family P r a c t i c e U n i t . This i n t e r v i e w w i l l take one and a h a l f to two hours, and to f a c i l i t a t e accuracy, w i l l be video-taped. You may choose to have the tapin g stopped at any time. As you are aware from your therapy here, working through the trauma f o l l o w i n g a sexual abuse can be both d i f f i c u l t and p a i n f u l . As the i n t e r v i e w questions are focused on the period d i r e c t l y f o l l o w i n g d i s c l o s u r e , s t r o n g emotions may be aroused i n you. These can e i t h e r be addressed as they a r i s e , or i n a subsequent i n t e r v i e w w i t h your t h e r a p i s t at the Family P r a c t i c e U n i t . Please i n d i c a t e your formal consent to being i n t e r v i e w e d and to the u t i l i z a t i o n of the i n t e r v i e w m a t e r i a l f o r the above noted research p r o j e c t . Your s i g n a t u r e a l s o acknowledges your r e c e i p t of a copy of the consent form. Signature (mother) Signature ( I n t e r v i e w e r ) Date APPENDIX C TRANSCRIPT OF SAMPLE INTERVIEW I: Interviewer M: Mother I: I r e a l l y appreciate you being w i l l i n g to do t h i s . M: Oh, i t ' s no problem. I: You must have been surprised to get t h i s c a l l from Dr. Herbert? M: Ya, and i t was strange because we had just gone to court on the 20th of March. I: And i t was just a few days l a t e r . M: Ya, i t was just the next week that I got the c a l l . F i r s t I thought, i t was such a le g a l nightmare so I thought oh no here we go. D i f f i c u l t i e s with court I: I have worked i n the area of sexual abuse for about s i x years now, mainly working with c h i l d r e n that were abused or adult women who had been abused as ch i l d r e n and had never d i s c l o s e d before. Nov/ I am doing a study of mothers, and one of the reasons I am doing that i s i f you look through the l i t e r a t u r e there i s very l i t t l e information on mums, very l i t t l e . There i s a l o t about what the chil d r e n go through and there i s a l o t of speculations on the offender, but mums there i s just not much. M: I believe that just from my own experience i n terms of t r y i n g to get some help, someone to ta l k to about i t . D i f f i c u l t i e s i n getting support I: Ya, i t ' s a r e a l l y rough, r e a l l y rough thing - 94 -for mothers to go through. And I don't think i t ' s acknowledged enough. I have a consent form that I would l i k e you to sign. M: Do you want me to date i t ? I: Yes. Here's a copy f o r you. There's my name i f f o r any reason you want to get a hold of me a f t e r t h i s , you can c a l l me at family p r a c t i c e . I have a l i s t of questions that I have been asking everyone. To s t a r t with I'd l i k e to get an idea of how you f i r s t heard about i t , about what had gone on. M: I went to pick up my daughter Sue at daycare, because she attends family daycare. I t was sometime between 4 and 4:30 i n the Background re afternoon. When I got there the daycare mum di s c l o s u r e t o l d me she wanted to t a l k to me and t o l d me she thought Sue was being sexually abused. I don't remember exactly what terms she used, but b a s i c a l l y I believe those were the terms, by her father. So that's how I found out. I: How old was she at the time? M: Sue was about four and a h a l f , t h i s was the end of J u l y . I: What was your i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n when the teacher said that? M: Um. I suppose shock, I don't know. You sort of go in t o a shock-like s t a t e . Shock and well why do you think that, because I hadn't had any i n d i c a t i o n . I hadn't seen anything that I could put together p r i o r to that. And I suppose because I work i n a - delete - f i e l d and there i s so much of i t going around and the f a c t that I had sort of missed i t . So I guess that my f i r s t reaction was one of shock and d i s b e l i e f that i t had happened. I: What kinds of things clued her i n to that? Demographics: daughter four and a half I n i t i a l r eaction No p r i o r knowledge I n i t i a l reaction, d i s b e l i e f M: Well b a s i c a l l y what had happened. Sue had been scratching at her g e n i t a l area and she had asked her why, and Sue made the comment that her bum was sore, and Lianne, that's the daycare worker, had said I wonder why that i s , and Sue said my dad poked me, and Lianne said oh you mean i n your tummy. And she said no, i n my private zone. Which was not a term that I used with her, but a term used i n the daycare. Background re di s c l o s u r e : t o l d daycare worker - 95 -B a s i c a l l y , I guess that was about i t . There was probably a b i t more discu s s i o n about i t before I came l i k e I think we better t e l l your mum and she said no because she had been t o l d not to t e l l . Sue also r e i n t e r a t e d the story to the husband of the daycare worker who happened to be home from work. I: What happened a f t e r that? Did you come home with her and confront your husband? M: Well at that time I wasn't l i v i n g with my husband. We had been separated and he was seeing Sue once a week on access v i s i t s . So I f e l t p r e t t y , l i k e I didn't know quite what to do so I c a l l e d the man who i s now my husband, we were l i v i n g together at the time. And t o l d him on the phone roughly what happened. The daycare worker and I talked b r i e f l y to Sue there. We sent Sue away to get her coat while she t o l d me t h i s . And then she came back and she kind of sa i d Sue I think we better t e l l your mum what happened. So Sue stuck her fing e r i n her mouth and t w i r l e d her ha i r and didn't say much of anything. I c a l l e d my fiancee at the time and also c a l l e d a f r i e n d . I wasn't sure what the next step was. Was I supposed to c a l l Human Resources, was Lianne supposed to c a l l Human Resources? I j u s t wasn't sure what to do and I f e l t that I wanted a few minutes to think so I arranged to take Sue to my friends house so I could come home and t a l k to Don about whether we should wait t i l l tommorrow, whether we should do i t tonight. I wasn't sure what the proper procedure was. I knew i t had to be reported, but I didn't know i n what area. I was aware through my job that the law had changed and that any incidence of abuse had to be reported to the p o l i c e as w e l l . I wasn't thinking p o l i c e , I was just thinking Human Resources. I got to my friends house dropped Sue o f f , came here. By the time I got here Don t o l d me that he had c a l l e d the Emergency Services l i n e at the M i n i s t r y of Human Resources and without t e l l i n g them our names he out l i n e d the s i t u a t i o n and wanted to know what we should do. The person he talked to said that I should c a l l as soon as I got home, which I d i d . I t o l d them what I had been t o l d , he t o l d me that I should take Sue to the h o s p i t a l to have her checked. And that when we got back I should c a l l him and we would set up an interview time, a time when one of them would see Sue. Demographics: separated from husband Confusion re actions Gathering support Confusion re actions Protective of c h i l d Confusion re actions C a l l e d a u t h o r i t i e s - 96 -I: So there was not the concern that you would be coming home to him because you had already been separated. M: That's r i g h t . I: How long had you been separated? M: We separated i n 1985, so over a year and a h a l f . Demographics I: How long ago was the di s c l o s u r e now? M: That was July, J u l y of '86. Demographics I: How long had i t been going on do you f i g u r e , was i t when you were s t i l l together? M: No, I don't believe so. We r e a l l y haven't been able to dis c e r n how long i t was going on, except that i t occurred during the access v i s i t s . That's about a l l we were able to pin down. I t ' s d i f f i c u l t when you are dealing with a very young c h i l d because t h e i r concepts of time are so d i f f e r e n t . So i t was r e a l l y d i f f i c u l t . But I had no i n d i c a t i o n . t h a t i t had been going on. I had l e f t my husband a f t e r he had beat me severely and threatened to k i l l me with a shotgun. We had an abusive sort of r e l a t i o n s h i p . And I had stayed about f i v e weeks i n a t r a n s i t i o n house a f t e r leaving. And I know at that point the counsellors there had talked to me about whether there was any i n d i c a t i o n of that because as we were t r y i n g to decide what I should do about custody and access because the counsellors t r y and help you work through some fo your thoughts on i t . And they questioned me whether I had any i n d i c a t i o n of any problems and I had none. There could have been, but I sure had no i n d i c a t i o n that there was anything going on. No p r i o r knowledge Description of p r i o r r e l a t i o n s h i p I: What was that l i k e f o r you f i n d i n g out and sort of thinking oh my God I never saw that? M: Well i t makes you f e e l g u i l t y because there had been some things that had happened during May - June, preceding t h i s July d i s c l o s u r e , Sue being less w i l l i n g to get out of the car. We had a meeting place arranged, I didn't r e a l l y want him coming to the house. I f e e l , the p o l i c e f e e l that he i s a very v i o l e n t and dangerous person, and I just wanted him as far away from the things that were r e a l l y close to G u i l t - searching f o r missed clues - 97 -me as I could. And his r e l a t i o n s h i p with Sue had seemed okay to me. I t seemed to be going w e l l . During the i n i t i a l time of separation he did not see her f o r eight months. And during that eight months she had asked on numerous occassions to see her father, or where was her father, that kind of thing. And then when the access v i s i t s f i n a l l y began she was always quite happy to go. In f a c t she looked forward to i t . She'd jumped up and down and say yay. Around May or June that changed. She no longer asked about her father. She no longer v e r b a l i z e d without any kind of prompting, no longer looked forward to going. She never said she didn't want to go. But a l l of a sudden what had been a r e a l excitement j u s t changed for her and she seemed not as t h r i l l e d with going. And there were a couple of instances i n May - June when she was very r e l u c t a n t to get out of the car and I ju s t kind of coaxed her out. And again she never refused to go. She never came back from seeing him crying or anything. But I s t i l l f e l t maybe I should have been paying more att e n t i o n to what was going on. Maybe, I don't know what I would have done d i f f e r e n t l y ... I t ju s t never ever ever occurred to me that he would do something l i k e that. I mean I can imagine a l o t of r e a l l y bad things about him because of his r e l a t i o n s h i p with me but that goes beyond what you think people that you know are capable of. Questions own judgement G u i l t f o r missing clues Not i n her r e p e r t o i r e of what people do I: E s p e c i a l l y someone that you- were married to . . . M: Yes, that's r i g h t . I suppose I f e l t a l i t t l e b i t g u i l t y that maybe I hadn't pursued G u i l t f o r missing t h i s not wanting to get out of the car a l i t t l e clues b i t more. And an overwhelming f e e l i n g of d i s b e l i e f . Just not b e l i e v i n g i t . D i s b e l i e f I: What do you think that was about? M: The f e e l i n g of d i s b e l i e f ? I: Yes, because you thought he wasn't capable of doing something l i k e that? M: Well i t seems l i k e such an awful thing to me. A four and a half year old c h i l d not that Reactions: anguish you can ever understand something l i k e i n cest, but you can maybe see something i f the c h i l d i s kind of cl o s e r to being a woman, a teenager. But a l i t t l e g i r l , i t just goes beyond anything - 98 -that I could imagine. You can imagine i t i n a Not i n her r e p e r t o i r e t h e o r e t i c a l sense I guess but i t ' s very hard of what people do when i t ' s ... I: When you see t h i s l i t t l e c h i l d . . . M: This l i t t l e c h i l d , she's a very l i t t l e c h i l d , she's just l i k e a baby. So i t wasn't per se that I didn't think he was capable I couldn't believe that anyone you know could be capable of that kind of behavior with a c h i l d . And again a young c h i l d ' s d i s c l o s u r e i s very d i f f e r e n t than an older c h i l d who can be r e a l l y p recise about what happened, and when i t happened. With a c h i l d the i n d i c a t o r s are d i f f e r e n t , the s t o r i e s are d i f f e r e n t . And you tend to wonder could she be f a n t a s i z i n g or something l i k e that. Kind of a f e e l i n g of shock as you are going through a l l the motions of a l l the things you have to do. If the s o c i a l worker says go to the h o s p i t a l you go to the h o s p i t a l . I t ' s l i k e your brain i s n ' t functioning at i t s usual l e v e l . You are kind of saying okay you guys know what to do and I don't know what to do i n t h i s case. Not i n her r e p e r t o i r e of what people do Questions c h i l d ' s story Questions c h i l d ' s story I n i t i a l r e a c tion, shock Loss of c o n t r o l , confusion I: Right. When do you think i t changed from the d i s b e l i e f to ya t h i s i s r e a l l y happening? M: I suppose i t went on and o f f for several months. When the s o c i a l worker interviewed Sue the next day, and I l i s t e n e d to the story Sue t o l d , because i t was the f i r s t time that I heard Sue t e l l the story. Again there i s t h i s f e e l i n g that you are standing back there kind of going, t h i s hasn't r e a l l y happened. And I talked to the s o c i a l worker afterwards and she b a s i c a l l y s a i d that young c h i l d r e n don't l i e about these things because they shouldn't have any knowledge of them. Because I questioned her a c t u a l l y on the fantasy issue, could she have fantasized because Sue has a d o l l f o r instance that she c a l l s her l i t t l e s i s t e r and she tr e a t s that d o l l very much l i k e a baby. And the s o c i a l worker said that l i t t l e kids don't fantasize about t h i s because they don't have that kind of knowledge. They can fantasize about a d o l l being a baby because that's something that i s i n t h e i r l i f e experience. But they don't fantasize about people poking t h e i r fingers i n s i d e them because that shouldn't be happening to a l i t t l e c h i l d . So I guess that was, I guess when I began to accept i t a l i t t l e more. But again i t went on I n i t i a l r e a c tion, shock D i s b e l i e f Questions c h i l d ' s story Ambivalence re be l i e v i n g - 99 -and o f f f o r a period of time. Sue saw a psychologist l a s t f a l l f o r ten v i s i t s . Part of i t was to get what's considered expert evidence for the court, and the other part was to look at whether Sue had any l a s t i n g trauma from t h i s . Her conclusions were very d e f i n i t e l y that i t had occurred and yes i t was her father that had done i t . And that was again r e i n f o r c i n g to my b e l i e f as opposed to my d i s b e l i e f . I: Did your ex-husband deny i t when they f i r s t . . . ? Sought therapy for c h i l d Ambivalence re b e l i e v i n g : p r o f e s s i o n a l assistance M: Yes, he continues to deny i t . Demographics I: When was your f i r s t contact with him a f t e r i t a l l came out? M: Well I saw him for the f i r s t time at the preliminary court hearing i n September. I: Oh, so a f t e r you heard from the daycare you had no contact with him? M: I had no contact with him. He c a l l e d here, the d i s c l o s u r e happened on Tuesday-, the p o l i c e became involved and contacted me l a t e r that day. They wanted to, they didn't have any p h y s i c a l medical evidence, there had been an abrasion that the doctor i n emergency had noticed, and he couldn't say yes or no. And I l a t e r found that that's quite normal i n cases l i k e t h i s . So they wanted to have her assessed, seen by people e i t h e r at Shaunnessy, or Dr. Herbert. And Dr. Herbert happened to be on holidays at that point. Our family was j u s t about to go on holidays. We had a camping t r i p to Oregon planned. And so they convinced us that we should go ahead with Carol Herbert see her. And they f e l t i t was okay for us to go ahead on holidays. We would be back i n two weeks, and i t would a l l be arranged, the time would be set up for a f t e r we got back. There was a problem with the upcoming Saturday access because they did not want ... A c t u a l l y we went round and round with t h i s because the s o c i a l worker had t o l d me that I absolutely could not l e t Sue see her father. And i f I did that i t would become a protection issue. Because i t was not a p r o t e c t i o n issue at t h i s point because I have custody. So as long as I didn't l e t her go with her father, i t wasn't a protection issue, there was nothing they could Background re d i s c l o s u r e F r u s t r a t i o n s with system - 100 -do. Which was one of the r e a l l y f r u s t r a t i n g things to me. Because I had always assumed that MHR could do more than they a c t u a l l y do i n those cases. They could do nothing unless I l e t her go with her father. In which case they could take action against me for allowing i t . Not that I'd l e t her go anyway, but they could take no action or anything against the father. And they themselves don't launch i n v e s t i g a t i o n s of those sorts of things i n t h i s kind of a s i t u a t i o n . Again which was d i f f e r e n t about what my expectation was, and very f r u s t r a t i n g . Because they are saying we believe her and t h i s i s what you have to do, but we can't do anything f o r you i s what they are saying, which i s very f r u s t r a t i n g . I was advised to go to my lawyer and have the access removed. Which I did.. I contacted my lawyer the day before we were to go on holidays. The p o l i c e didn't even want me to make that step because i t would a l e r t him, they didn't want him a l e r t e d . They didn't want him a l e r t e d u n t i l they were prepared to do something. But I f e l t , I d i d not want to go on holidays without having the access thing i n the process. I j u s t f e l t uncomfortable with that. So the l e g a l process was s t a r t e d while we were away on holidays, to have the access changed. And we got no access for one month b a s i c a l l y at that time u n t i l there was fur t h e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n . So I had no contact with him. He c a l l e d here. The p o l i c e t o l d me to, that I should t e l l him he couldn't see Sue on Saturday f o r one reason or another, but not to t e l l , not to give away why. So a c t u a l l y my husband, my fiancee at the time c a l l e d , because I a c t u a l l y f e l t that i f I got my ex on the phone that he would argue with me. And I thought i t would be simpler i f my fiancee phoned because I thought there was le s s of a chance of a prolonged argument. And going back to the f a c t that I am s t i l l very very scared of my ex-husband. We l i t e r a l l y were packing our van to leave, to get out of here as soon as the message had been l e f t with my ex-husband that he couldn't see Sue, because I thought he might ... He didn't have the address, but I didn't know f o r sure whether he d i d or didn't. Like I'd never given i t to him but I didn't know. Protec t i v e of c h i l d Confusion re systems Took p r o t e c t i v e actions Pr o t e c t i v e actions Abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p I: What was i t l i k e preliminary hearing? for you seeing him at the - 101 -M: I t was yucky! Like I couldn't hardly even look at him. I t was a chambers hearing and i n Court process a chambers hearing a l l the lawyers show up at quarter to ten and i t just goes each case by each case. I t ' s not l i k e you have your own thi n g . The longer the a p p l i c a t i o n i t was expected to be, the l a t e r i n the day your case would be heard. Our case was not heard u n t i l three o'clock. So we didn't even go i n the courtroom u n t i l then. My fiancee was with me. Support of partner And we j u s t stayed outside, we walked around, we had coffee, we sat. My ex-husband sat i n the courtroom a l l day. I just found that I couldn't even look at him. I j u s t couldn't Feelings towards even look at him. offender I: Did you ever have a sense that you s t i l l had some l o y a l t y to your ex-husband and you had to make a choice or not believe your daughter, or not bel i e v e what was happening because he had been your husband and you couldn't think that of someone who was once your husband? M: Well, I never f e l t that I had to make a choice. I never had that sensation. I guess because we were l i v i n g apart and because the f e l i n g s between he and I were not p a r t i c u l a r l y wonderful, I never f e l t I had to make a choice. There were times when I f e l t I don't know i f sorry f o r him i s quite the r i g h t phrase. I guess there were times when I had some doubts about i t , that I thought i t must be awful for him i f he didn't do i t . Sort of the anger towards him ebbed up and down too. But I never f e l t that there was ever any choice to be made. I f e l t that there was a path that had to be followed. So I never had any second thoughts about i t or f e l t that I should be doing otherwise, or wanted to protect him, i f that sort of answers your question. No choice issues Feelings towards offender Determination re pr o t e c t i v e actions I: Yes. M: I can understand for women who were s t i l l i n a r e l a t i o n s h i p with t h e i r husband that i t would be, there would be f a r more of that tendency. But I didn't r e a l l y have that f e e l i n g . I: What was i t l i k e with the people around you l i k e family, friends or professionals? I'm wondering i f they were pushing you i n any way, or encouraging you i n any way to do t h i s or to do that, or t e l l i n g you you should have done t h i s , or should have known that? - 102 -M: No, I didn't sense that with Don. He's j u s t l i k e a rock. He's just one of those people who i s steady as a rock, and he i s just the most supportive person, he's so supportive. He never pushed, he was most h e l p f u l i n dealing ... he kind of gave me confidence, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n dealing with the p o l i c e , because at f i r s t we had some d i f f i c u l t y with them because they had wanted us to wait t h i s period of time before we proceeded with anything and I was bound and determined that I was not going to wait. So j u s t having hi s support r e a l l y helped there. Our c l o s e s t f r i e n d s , a married couple a c t u a l l y , that both my ex-husband and 1 had known, but they had b a s i c a l l y been more my friends and had stayed f r i e n d s with me. Both of them had quite a sense of d i s b e l i e f that he could have done i t . Not, just l i k e they couldn't believe that a father would do that. And again I think i t stems from that you can't believe someone you know would do something l i k e that, p a r t i c u l a r l y i f i t i s something that you yourself would not do. I t ' s hard to imagine that somebody else would do i t . So I would f i n d that even the l e a s t l i t t l e b i t of d i s b e l i e f expressed by other people would shatter me. Like I wanted people to say yes we b e l i e v e . Because I guess of my own sense of shakiness about what was happening. So they know because that was where I had taken Sue that o r i g i n a l day. I didn't t e l l anybody else f o r a long period of time. I didn't t e l l my mother. I don't think I t o l d my mother u n t i l about the end of August, and then I t o l d her. And again a tremendous amount of shock on her part, r e a l shock.- Probably less d i s b e l i e f , just more kind of horror that t h i s could be happening. She had no idea that my marriage was as abusive or v i o l e n t as i t was u n t i l the marriage broke up. As I began to t e l l her the kinds of things that had been going on, that was just beyond her capacity to accept. So t h i s was another one of sort of sheer shock. Partner - supportive, h e l p f u l Self-determination re p r o t e c t i v e actions Not i n r e p e r t o i r e of what people do Need f o r support re b e l i e f Secrecy Family's reactions I: You say your friends had a l o t of d i s b e l i e f and that that r e a l l y shook you up, did you s t a r t to question then well maybe I shouldn't be b e l i e v i n g , they are r i g h t ? M: I suppose I d i d . You know, I suppose I had some question about, I guess I never r e a l l y Ambivalence re questioned that I had done the r i g h t thing by b e l i e v i n g c a l l i n g the s o c i a l worker. That was one of the - 103 -other things I believed. I had a strong sense, I guess some of t h i s even came through my job, t h i s i s the law and t h i s i s what the law requires that anybody do. And so I have to do t h i s . I was going very much on t h e i r estimation of the s i t u a t i o n , because I f e l t unable to make a judgement. Sue i s not a c h i l d that l i e s a l o t . You know I had no reason to think that she would l i e . But I f e l t that I was t o t a l l y over my head. Like how do I make a judgement? I guess to some extent you don't want to beli e v e something l i k e that could happen. So when my friends would express, and they didn't do i t very much, but r i g h t around the time of di s c l o s u r e there was a c e r t a i n sense on t h e i r part that I can't believe i t , I just can't believe he could have done something l i k e that. And then that would r e i n f o r c e that I can't b e l i e v e he has done i t . I believed somebody else had done i t . I t was hard to accept that i t had happened. B e l i e f i n l e g a l system Loss of judgement Loss of con t r o l Ambivalence re b e l i e f Need f o r support re be l i e v i n g Ambivalence re b e l i e f I: With these people around you was there anyone who was sort of questioning you or angry at you f o r not seeing i t and not knowing? M: No, no. None of that. So i n that way everyone was r e a l l y supportive. Everyone was just running around i n t h i s state of shock. The people that knew, and again not that many people knew because i t was something I r e a l l y didn't want to t e l l very many people. Need f or support vs need f o r privacy I: Why do you think that i s ? M: I don't know. I f e l t the same way when the marriage ended, i t was hard to t a l k about being separated. And i t was r e a l l y hard f o r a while to t a l k about what had happened, because i t ' s not n i c e . I t ' s not, l i k e okay i f your marriage breaks down because you are f i g h t i n g or incompatible, or even perhaps i f someone i s having an a f f a i r . But the f a c t that you have been severly beaten, almost k i l l e d , i t ' s not nice. I r e a l i z e there i s a tendency of people thinking that i t only happens to sort of low income. You know, I know better, I have been to the workshops I have read the studies. But you get the idea that i t just doesn't happen i n nice f a m i l i e s . I guess I'm assuming, I never Fear of r e a l l y thought i t through a l o t . But I know I stigmatization had that r e a c t i o n at the time of separation, i t was very d i f f i c u l t to t a l k to people about what had happened. And t h i s again became a thing. - 104 -i t was almost l i k e i t was d i r t y . Like you Fear of didn't want to have people have you associated stigmatization with i t . I: So somehow what had happened to your daughter was r e f l e c t i n g on you? M: Well, I wouldn't say i t was r e f l e c t i n g on me. But that, I suppose you could look at i t that way, but i t was more l i k e , I don't know. I didn't sort of see i t as a r e f l e c t i o n exactly, but I guess I was uncertain how people Concern re responses wouldrespond to i t or what they would think. of f r i e n d s / f a m i l y The people that d i d know, my close f r i e n d s , i t was that f e e l i n g of shock. So anyone that i s f a r t h e r away from you i n terms of your f r i e n d s h i p c i r c l e , how are they going to react with i t ? I: What were your fears i n how someone might react? M: I don't know. I guess I kind of wanted Need for normalcy things to be normal with people. I didn't want that to become a major t o p i c of conversation with everybody. And I fi g u r e d , c e r t a i n l y i n my c i r c l e of f r i e n d s , to the best of my knowledge nobody's c h i l d had been abused by anybody. So Concern re responses i t would be a shock to people. I t ' s a shock of friends when someone you know goes through an experience l i k e that. So that i t becomes a t o p i c of conversation. I didn't want i t to become a topic of conversation, l i k e I didn't Need for privacy want people to know about i t . I wanted everything to be normal. I didn't want i t to be the thing that everybody talked about when I saw them. I t was a pretty tumultuous time and I kind of wanted as much as po s s i b l e to be as Need for normalcy normal as p o s s i b l e . Although i t was on my mind a l o t and Don and I talked about i t a l o t , I Need to t a l k i t out didn't want every place I went i t to be the t o p i c of conversation. I wanted to be able to Need to escape get away from i t . I: Yes. I think i t ' s a time when you f e e l so out of co n t r o l because you don't know what i s going on, or how the system works, and as you sa i d you f e l t over your head with i t , so t r y i n g to get that normalcy i n your l i f e i s a way of f e e l i n g some con t r o l over ... M: Yes. I guess that's i t . I wanted everything outside what was going on to be normal and I f e l t that the more people that knew, the more apt i t was to be talked about. And I just didn't want that, c e r t a i n l y not at that point. Now that changed a b i t l a t e r on. But c e r t a i n l y through most of l a s t f a l l I r e a l l y didn't want to share that with too many people. Need f o r normalcy Maintaining control Need for privacy I: Trying to keep that sense of normal around you was probably a r e a l l y healthy thing f o r you to do for the family at that time. M: Yes, and I guess I didn't want anybody to respond d i f f e r e n t l y to Sue e i t h e r , that she be treated any d i f f e r e n t l y by anybody. I just wanted to be normal. Like normal. And there were times when I just wanted to~ wish the whole thing away, wish i t had never happened. P a r t i c u l a r l y during some of the more f r u s t r a t i n g moments of dealing with systems. Concern for daughter Need for normalcy Need to escape F r u s t r a t i o n s of systems I: I think some mothers f e e l a c e r t a i n amount of protectiveness towards t h e i r c h i l d r e n , as well as f e e l i n g l i k e you want them to be independent and learn some independence, and I'm wondering what being a mother means to you with that balance of protectiveness and independence, and a sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y as a mum? M: Aside from t h i s s i t u a t i o n , just i n general? I: Yes. M: I guess I wouldn't say that I was overly p r o t e c t i v e of her. Sometimes i t ' s hard to see that your kids are growing up and that t h e i r c a p a b i l i t i e s are changing. I f i n d for me I have a tendency to sometimes to continue to Awareness of t r e a t her as though she were younger than she mothering issues r e a l l y were because i t ' s hard f o r me on a day to day basis to r e a l i z e that she i s growing up. And my expectations of her need to change. I think I have a delayed reaction to that. I'm behind where I should be. I have never been a mum to push much. I enjoy l i t t l e c h i l d r e n . I'm not sure that I enjoy older c h i l d r e n as much. I'm sure I ' l l love my own daughter. But what I am saying i s that I l i k e babies and preschool c h i l d r e n and I'm not as sure in general that I l i k e 7, 8, 9 year olds as well as a group. And so I haven't been i n - 106 -any hurry f o r her to grow up. Like a l o t of my fr i e n d s are pushing t h e i r c h i l d r e n i n t o a c t i v i t i e s . Like they are i n t h i s and they are i n that, and they are doing t h i s and they are doing that, and they are in 50 m i l l i o n things. And they are teaching them how to read when they are four. And I just never ever been in t o that kind of thing. I have a b e l i e f that c h i l d r e n kind of grow at t h e i r own r a t e . I suppose that I have f e l t a l i t t l e p r o t e c t i v e of her because over the l a s t two years, since the marriage ended i t ' s been very d i f f i c u l t f o r me. And I'm sure i t ' s been d i f f i c u l t f o r her because we have l i v e d i n so many places we moved so many times during those two years. And then I keep thinking of the f a c t thast she was l i v i n g i n a home with a father, mother, and grandmother, and she goes to bed one night and she gets up the next morning and mums gone, dads gone, and baba's s t i l l there. But I remember her t a l k i n g to me about baba cleaning up the blood on the f l o o r . So she obviously saw something. And then i n the afternoon her mother comes and picks her up and her mother i s unrecognizable, just beaten and bruised. And picks her up out of a nap, packs a few bags of c l o t h i n g and o f f we go to a strange house where there are a l l kinds of mothers and ki d s . Just a whole mass of change, and mum i s upset, and s i c k . And there i s a homemaker coming i n to take care of her, because you are responsible f o r taking care of your own k i d at the t r a n s i t i o n house. And because I was so i l l , I had some sort of a brain problem so I was dizzy, so I had to be i n bed f o r about three or four days. I couldn't get up or I would be dizzy and vomiting. So they had a homemaker coming i n and she didn't want the homemaker, she wanted mum. And mum t r i e d to keep her with her and read, but how do you keep a three year old who wants to run a l l over the place. And then we moved up to Richmond and l i v e d f o r a while, and then we were h o u s e s i t t i n g for a while. I was r e a l l y upset during t h i s time. A l o t of r e a l emotional d i f f i c u l t i e s myself dealing with the ending of the marriage, getting out on my own. I was r e a l l y upset. I think perhaps harsher with her than I normally would have been. What I'm saying i s I have a tendency even now to kind of want to make i t up to her. Protective of c h i l d D e s c r i t i o n of p h y s i c a l l y abusive marriage and r e s u l t i n g stay i n t r a n s i t i o n house Attempt to make i t up to c h i l d I: • For? - 107 -M: For a l l the trauma of that time. Of a l l the changes. I look at other kids who l i v e nice normal stable l i v e s , and that's b a s i c a l l y most of my friends because that's the sort of c i r c l e that I l i v e with. My f r i e n d s aren't the people who are going through that sort of s t u f f . I r e a l i z e people do, c e r t a i n l y I see i t i n my job a l l the time. But I also see the e f f e c t s of i t [ i n my job.] I see what happens to kids when there are l o t s of moves, l o t s of upheavel, l o t s of d i s r u p t i o n . I t ' s r e a l l y hard f o r them to get t h e i r f e e t planted, and to do well i n school. B a s i c a l l y for a period of time I saw Sue's development j u s t stop. She continued to grow a b i t , although she went one whole year without gaining anything. She went from three to four without gaining even h a l f a pound. She got a b i t t a l l e r , but she didn't gain anything. Her development i n terms of her f i n e motor s k i l l s , everything j u s t seemed to come to a stop. And s o c i a l l y I f e l t she regressed a b i t . And I f e l t responsible for that. And i t ' s l i k e kind of wanting to make i t up to her, to make everything okay for her. And maybe i n some ways m a t e r i a l l y because I'm able. Maybe tended to buy a l o t more for her than I might normally have. Just somehow t r y i n g to make i t okay f o r her. And then of course t h i s whole trauma now with her father. Stigma Responsible f o r c h i l d ' s lack of growth Attempts to make i t up to c h i l d I: How d i d that influence things i n your way of thinking of yourself as a mother and sense of protectiveness when you heard about the sexual assault? M: Well, a c t u a l l y , I think i n i t i a l l y there was t h i s f e e l i n g of wanting to protect her. I know that the psychologist we saw put i n her report and she t o l d me also that she didn't sense i n me that overprotectiveness that shows up i n a l o t of mothers. She thought I was dealing with things very very well, which was reassuring to me. But what I have found i s tended to make me much more suspicious of strange s i t u a t i o n s i f she i s not reacting exactly r i g h t . For instance Sue i n i n daycare now. And the woman has a 20 year old son that l i v e s at home. Normally that kind of thing would not have entered my mind. I am not a person who goes around seeing sexual abusers under every bush. I know a l o t of people focus i n on i t , but I choose to believe that the majority of people are not going to do that kind of thing. But now I f i n d I am very, I look at things more Protective of c h i l d Suspicious Trust vs suspiscion - 108 -c a r e f u l l y , which may be p a r t i a l l y good. But I f i n d that I am moresuspicious i n general of strange s i t u a t i o n s , or things that I cannot absolutely account f o r . And yet the assault or the abuse of Sue was not with a stranger. But I guess because I missed the o r i g i n a l s i g n a l s , the reluctance suddenly to go with her father. A l o t of di s c u s s i o n of tummy aches, she used to haave tummy aches i n the mornings when she used to go see her dad. And I knew that sometimes those tummy aches came up when she didn't want to do something. Sometimes when you asked her to pick up her toys she'd develop a tummy ache. But I didn't put i t together. I didn't put i t together f a s t enough. So that has made me a l i t t l e more self-doubting of me, which has made me a l i t t l e more suspicious of anything, I tend to look a l o t more c a r e f u l l y now. Self-doubting, questions judgement I: That must have been r e a l l y hard at that point as you sa i d when you became more self-doubting of yourself, that must have been a rough piece f o r you ... M: Ya, because I was already f e e l i n g ... You know I didn't leave the marriage by choice although I l e f t . But I somehow f e l t , I just f e l t badly f o r having to put her through a l l the things that happened, and that just r e i n f o r c e d i t again, that here she was going through something. And then again a c e r t a i n amount of g u i l t i n sort of a broad sense, how could I have picked a man that would have done something l i k e t h i s ? So I r e a l l y screwed up, even before she was even born. That wasn't a major focus, but i t , you know ... G u i l t f o r marrying, self-blame Questions judgement I: That's i n t e r e s t i n g that you say that because the l a s t woman I interviewed said the exact same thing about, I should have known when I married t h i s one, I mean i t ' s impossible to know something l i k e that. M: I f e l t g u i l t y too because Sue and I had l e f t when Sue was only about a year old a f t e r another i n c i d e n t when I had been h i t several times, not damaged, not badly bruised, but h i t several times. And I had been h i t before Sue was born but I kept thinking that i t would get over, that somehow ... I was very- t y p i c a l l y at the time the abused wife, I kept thinking that I could do something to change i t . I could be more perfect, I could ... Description of p h y s i c a l l y abusive marriage - 109 -If I was better things would change M: That's r i g h t . I f I could j u s t stop doing things that i r r i t a t e d him so much. Even though they were stupid things. I f I could just learn what they were, even though they are stupid, and stop them then i t wouldn't happen. So there had been the abuse p r i o r to Sue's b i r t h . And the marriage had been a b i t rocky. Sue was born when I was 32 or 33. My husband and I had been married since I was 20, i t was a long term marriage. And there i s a c e r t a i n amount of g u i l t that I had gone ahead and had a c h i l d i n a s i t u a t i o n that I knew wasn't the best. And then we l e f t when she was. about a year o l d . And then I came again, and I brought her back i n t o the s i t u a t i o n with me. Like her father had never been p h y s i c a l l y abusive with her but I guess I f e l t I was exposing her to a l l the trauma. I f e l t g u i l t y f o r having her when I knew the s i t u a t i o n wasn't good. I mean- I never expected the s i t u a t i o n would turn out. to do what he d i d . But c e r t a i n l y there were i n d i c a t i o n that things weren't great and yet I went ahead and had her and l e f t and came back. A l l along f e e l i n g g u i l t y f o r , that philosophy here's t h i s innocent c h i l d brought i n t o the world and everything should be wonderful f o r them, and things are r e a l l y h e l l i s h . And i t ' s not f a i r that she should have to go through t h i s , she's going through them because of me, not because of anything that she has done, but because of me. And I suppose with the abuse, I f e l t a c e r t a i n amount of g u i l t that I should have picked up the si g n a l s , but more g u i l t again that because she was born and t h i s was her father. Self-blame re physi c a l abuse G u i l t f o r giving b i r t h to daughter Sexual abuse not i n her r e p e r t o i r e of what people do Takes r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for sexual abuse G u i l t re missing signals I: I'm curious as to why you say that she's gone through a l l t h i s because of you and not that she's gone through a l l t h i s because of him? M: That's something that I s t i l l , I suppose remnants of me f e e l i n g that i t ' s my r e s p o n s i b i l i t y somehow. C e r t a i n l y I had a l o t of c o unselling a f t e r the marriage ended t r y i n g to deal with the f a c t that i t ' s not your f a u l t . You didn't do i t , and you didn't cause i t . But those attitudes are r e a l l y hard to t o t a l l y get r i d of on an emotional l e v e l . You can v e r b a l i z e i t , yes I know. Takes r e s p o n s i b l i t y for sexual abuse D i f f i c u l t to release g u i l t - 110 -I: What was h e l p f u l f o r you i n t r y i n g to get r i d of some of that s e l f - g u i l t ? I think every woman that's been i n a bat t e r i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p and every woman that has had a c h i l d who was sexually abused by a father or step-father takes i t on as t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . And I'm wondering what you could t e l l me about what i s h e l p f u l , or what was h e l p f u l f o r you i n changing that? M: Counselling i n terms of hearing i t over and over again that i t i s not your f a u l t , i t ' s nothing that you d i d . Reading d i f f e r e n t a r t i c l e s , g e t t i n g i t from d i f f e r e n t sources, not just one person t e l l i n g you. You almost have to bombard the person i n a gentle way, but constant reinforcement from anything around her, as much as you can do. I t ' s not her f a u l t . And i t needs to be. The thing I found f o r me i s that i t r e a l l y has to be constant. I t ' s amazing, I used to go i n and see my p s y c h i a t r i s t and t a l k and t a l k and t a l k , and then we'd have t h i s r e f l e c t i v e time at the end and she'd go over again the same old s t u f f . And then I'd come next week with why I f e l t i t was my f a u l t again. And she'd go over i t again. So t a l k i n g , v e r b a l i z i n g I fould r e a l l y h e l p f u l j u s t i n d i s s i p a t i n g the tension. But just the constant reinforcement from every pos s i b l e source that you can get that i t ' s not your f a u l t and you are r e a l l y an okay person. Because you begin to f e e l l i k e a not okay person. I think i f you are i n an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p you r e a l l y begin to f e e l l i k e you are a not okay person. And with the abuse, the same thing that you didn't set i t up, even subconsciously. I could see how, i n my case i t wasn't, but I could see from some of the emotions I went through that i f i t was somebody you were r e a l l y with that you cold have f e e l i n g s that subconsciously maybe you condoned i t or set i t up. You can get that kind of reinforcement from some of the strangest places. Like going through the court system I have seen some a r t i c l e s that have been written that say mums have these p s y c h i a t r i c problems and they import t h i s on to t h e i r k i d . And when you get that kind of reac t i o n from the authority so to speak, i t r e a l l y r a t t l e s you. I remember, one of my a f f i d a v i t , I had gone through what happened and I had mentioned that my ex-husband had been arrested, that he was charged. Just b a s i c a l l y what I had been t o l d by the p o l i c e and the judge had a f i t , and Support necessary to abdicate g u i l t Need to ve r b a l i z e Strong f e e l i n g s of g u i l t Need f or support, acceptance Self-doubt Court - I l l -a c t u a l l y awarded the cost of defending that to my ex-husband because somehow I shouldn't have done that, I don't know. I don't remember what word he used but you get the f e e l i n g that everyone thinks you are an overreactive mum. And the way the court systemworks, the court system, I could understand i n a cri m i n a l case why there could be some problems because you t a l k i n g about taking away someone's freedom. But ours was s t r i c t l y a c i v i l a ction, an attempt to a l t e r the access p r o v i s i o n of the divorce. I: So he was never charged with sexual ... M: Yes he was charged, but the charges were stayed because Sue was .... They videotaped the interview with her. The p o l i c e d i d . They showed i t to the crown c o u n c i l . She f e l t that Sue's evidence, l i k e she was coming across as what she was, a very young c h i l d . And you get in t o t h i s issue of too young to be sworn, not believable b a s i c a l l y . So she f e l t that they had no case. Although the p o l i c e t o l d me that they were convinced that he had done i t , they t o l d me a f t e r the thing that when they showed hira the video they f e l t he was on the verge of confessing but j u s t couldn't get i t out. So the charges were stayed against him, they weren't dropped, but they were stayed. Now t h i s l a s t judge that we had on the 20th, believed that he had done i t . His dec i s i o n was very d e f i n i t i v e . I: So t h i s was the court you went to i n March, was just f o r access. M: That's r i g h t . I: So he has no access. M: He has no access, and he can't even reapply. Because you know access l i k e anything under the divorce act, access and maintenance can change, you can reapply at any point to have i t a l t e r e d . And the judge removed i t and sai d he couldn't even reapply f o r 18 months. And that when he reapplied, i f he reapplied, there was a heavy burden of proof on him to show that he had ... I: I t must have been a big r e l i e f for you. Concern re reactions of others Court process - 112 -M: Phenomenal. Because t h i s whole thing s t a r t e d l a s t J u l y and then we had a preliminary hearing i n September and then the court i n September ordered that i t be heard not i n chambers but by a judge, and by witnesses, not a f f i d a v i t , because most of t h i s kind of s t u f f i s done by a f f i d v a i t , not sexual abuse but maintenance and a l l that kind of s t u f f . So we got a court date for the 12th or 13th of February. So we went to court on the 12th or 13th of February. We needed more time and the next a v a i l a b l e date we were able to get was the 20th of March. So i t was a three day thing. And that was r e a l l y v i n d i c a t i n g . Protective actions bring r e l i e f Court process I: I t ' s l i k e someone i s acknowledging what happened? M: Yes, because a l l along the court i n September was so much the r i g h t s of the father, the r i g h t s of the father, the r i g h t s of the father. And I kept on saying what about her? He was awarded supervised access i n September when we asked f o r no access. Well he never saw her because we could never agree on a supervisor. He suggested his mother, I s a i d no. We had a suggestion and he said no, and that was the end of that. But I thought Sue doesn't want to see her father. She t o l d me she didn't want to see him. Nobody i s considering how she f e e l s i n t h i s at a l l . That was another of my r e a l l y strong f e e l i n g s i n dealing with the court system was that NOBODY seemed to be p a r t i c u l a r l y concerned with her and how she f e l t . . I t was made into a b a t t l e somehow between her father and me and that wasn't the issue at a l l . How I f e l t or didn't f e e l about him was not the issue but of course that was what they were t r y i n g to make the issue, that I was some kind of v i n d i c t i v e mother out to get him. Nobody seemed the l e a s t b i t concerned with her. And that r e a l l y I found f r u s t r a t i n g . Really angered me. Concern for c h i l d , advocate F r u s t r a t i o n with court system I: I wonder i f that has to do with her age too, that she i s just too young to bother asking her? M: Ya, i t was l i k e a t o t a l disregard for her, l i k e she had no f e e l i n g s or no r i g h t to any f e e l i n g s . We went through ten sessions with a psychologist during which we were assessing and doing some treatment, or rather the psychologist was. And my ex-husband was Concern for c h i l d Sought treatment for c h i l d - 113 -i n v i t e d to take part i n that because the psychologist r e a l l y wanted to see the i n t e r a c t i o n , she thought i t would be h e l p f u l i n her determination of what was going on. And he chose not to. And then at the end of January l i k e two weeks before we are going to court he goes to court i n a chambers hearing and wants her to see another psychologist,- t h e i r psychologist. And the court s a i d okay. So a f t e r Sue has been through a l l t h i s now she has to go, I was so angry. Because i t ' s hard on l i t t l e k ids, i t ' s hard on anybody to have to t e l l those kind of s t o r i e s . And the court order was such that I was not allowed to even wait i n the waiting room while she was being interviewed by the psychologist because that was thought to be i n f l u e n c i n g what she was going to t e l l . . Which i n f u r i a t e d me because to take your c h i l d and d e l i v e r her to a strange doctor, and not even be i n the waiting room. I mean how i s that going to make her f e e l . Oh I was f u r i o u s . Because nobody cared. X mean we've got to give t h i s man every possible chance. What about Sue? Oooh, I got r e a l l y hot when I think about i t even now. Frustration/anger at court system Concern f o r c h i l d Concern f o r c h i l d Anger at court process I: If you had to go through t h i s a l l again i s there anything that you would do d i f f e r e n t l y ? M: Well, I suppose the one thing that I can think of i s that and again t h i s was done on advice. I asked a s o c i a l worker what h o s p i t a l to go to and he t o l d me to go to the one c l o s e s t to here. And that i s the one thing that I would change, I would go the Children's because they have the f a c i l i t i e s there. We would have avoided a l l the running around, we would have seen proper doctors who had some s k i l l i n t h i s kind of area to begin with. Because there was a l o t of scrambling with that, which caused some f i d d l e faddle i n the t r i a l . That i s something I would d e f i n i t e l y do d i f f e r e n t l y now. I would go to Children's to get the appropriate people to deal with. Without spending a long time thinking about i t I think that i s the only thing that I would have done d i f f e r e n t l y . Importance of knowledgable professionals I: Is there any p a r t i c u l a r advice that you would give to other women going through a s i m i l i a r experience? - 114 -M: Well, the sort of standard advice. But i f there i s anybody they f e e l i s a r e a l l y strong support f o r them that they should keep that l i n k r e a l l y r e a l l y strong during that time because there are l o t s of times when you f e e l j u s t overwhelmed with what's going on and i f you have got somebody who i s supportive and strong and i s w i l l i n g to l i s t e n to you. Don i s a r e a l l i s t e n e r . Don i s a - delete - so he has some counselling a b i l i t i e s . So sometimes he would just l i s t e n to me go on and on and on. And again having somebody there, and t r y i n g to surround yourself as much as possible with people that make you f e e l okay about what you are doing. If people make you f e e l not okay about i t , t r y and not put yours e l f i n that s i t u a t i o n because you have enough doubts and fears and worries as you are going through i t . without having other people doing i t to you. Like a couple of times even my mother would say gee I know t h i s i s r e a l l y awful but gee I just remember how nice Brian, that's my ex-husband, used to be to me. And those kinds of things r e a l l y s t i r r e d up f e e l i n g s i n me. And the other thing i s to get some kind of counselling f o r y o u r s e l f . I t goes without saying about getting help f o r the c h i l d but we get in t o t h i s what the mother i s l e f t with, what the f e e l i n g s you have l e f t . And I s t i l l haven't found a great deal that has been p a r t i c u l a r l y h e l p f u l i n that area f o r me. I guess there are things around, but of course I've been lucky because the psychologist that Sue saw, we d i d some t a l k i n g . But I think that would be the other thing because you just have so many f e e l i n g s you need to have some help s o r t i n g them out because otherwise they just s i t i n there. And the other thing I would warn any mother at the onset i s not to t a l k to your c h i l d very much about what has happened because l e g a l l y you can get into phenomenal d i f f i c u l t i e s with that because so much of the tack seems to be that the mother i s convincing the c h i l d , b r i b i n g the c h i l d , coaching the c h i l d . And so the f a c t i s that I never talked to Sue about i t because, except on ju s t a couple of occassions and ju s t b r i e f l y , because I just I didn't know what to say. I didn't have the s k i l l . But i n terms of the l e g a l s i t u a t i o n , the more you t a l k to your c h i l d , the more i n trouble you can get. Importance of support Need to be l i s t e n e d to Importance of support L o y a l t i e s Importance of pr o f e s s i o n a l support Concern f o r c h i l d D i f f i c u l t i e s i n getti n g support f o r s e l f Need to v e r b a l i z e Court process Self-doubt re t a l k i n g to c h i l d - 115 -I: I wonder i f that would have happened more so i n your s i t u a t i o n because the two of you were separated. I don't know i f they would do that as much with someone that was s t i l l together. M: They might not. But there r e a l l y i s a major thing r i g h t now. I don't know how many d i f f e r e n t things my ex-husband's lawyer kept coming up with about claims of sexual abuse i n the non-custodial parent. I can barely say the words, non-custodial parent. About how 35 to 55 per cent of the claims were f a l s e . I think i f you were l i v i n g with the person then i t would be doubly important to get some counselling for Awareness of others yourself because i t would be even harder to s i t u a t i o n s accept. And your f e e l i n g s of g u i l t would be stronger because probably you would think i t had been going on i n your home, and you never saw i t , and what's wrong with you. I: And you are s t i l l with t h i s man you had no reason to leave them and a l l of a sudden you are forced with t h i s d e c i s i o n , should I leave him f o r t h i s reason or stay and t r y and work i t out. M: Ya. Of course in the case where two people v/ould be l i v i n g together. Human Resources would be a l i t t l e b i t more involved i n the whole s i t u a t i o n because they might d i c t a t e . . . I: Say someone has to leave f o r a l i t t l e while... M: Ya, someone has got to leave. I: Is there anything else that you think i s important that I would know or that you wanted to add? M: Not r e a l l y . I guess I s t i l l wish that there D i f f i c u l t to go for was probably, i t ' s hard, even f o r me. I help understand that there are some places to go as the parent to get some help and some coun s e l l i n g . But I f i n d i t even with me, with my s o r t of p r o f e s s i o n a l l e v e l and the f a c t that I r e a l i z e on one l e v e l that i t i s not a stigma and i t ' s okay to get help and I have always been a person that never hesitated to get Fear of stigma help. I f i n d i t r e a l l y hard to go to some of these places. But I guess I kept f e e l i n g that because of everything that has- happened, maybe there i s n ' t very much that anybody can give me at t h i s point. We have been through the l e g a l - 116 -thing, sort have gone through a l l the steps. And I don't f e e l too bad now, I've had a chance to work a l o t of i t through. But maybe that's because of my s i t u a t i o n . Becase I have t h i s supportive husband now. We d i d see a psychologist that worked with Sue. My close f r i e n d s are extremely supportive, and have l i s t e n e d and have been supportive. I guess one of the things that I ' l l j u s t throw out now, that I f e l t g u i l t y about, i t just flashed through my mind, was that I had never ever talked to Sue about t h i s subject before. We talked about not going with strangers, don't go with strangers, you know that whole issue. At the daycare theyhad done a l i t t l e u n i t , there i s a l i t t l e video c a l l e d "Too Smart For Strangers" out i n the stores, and i t ' s f o r use for young kid s . Lianne, the daycare worker had done a short program with the kids about inappropriate touching which i s where the term p r i v a t e zone came from. But I f e l t a c e r t a i n amount of g u i l t . Like everytime somebody asked me "Have you ever talked to your c h i l d about t h i s - what have you t o l d her?" And I'd say "NO", and I'd always f e e l embarrassed and g u i l t y . Not again that I could have prevented i t that way, but that I should have done i t and didn't, so I f e l l down as a mother because I hadn't talked to her about i t . Processing of issues Husband/close friends h e l p f u l i n processing issues G u i l t f o r not t a l k i n g to c h i l d about sexual abuse G u i l t f o r not t a l k i n g to c h i l d about sexual abuse Inadequate as a mother I: We were r a i s e d on that so much, "Don't t a l k to stangers, don't take candy from a stranger", that i t i s so ingrained i n us ... M: Yes. Well i t ' s so easy to t a l k about strangers, i t ' s much harder to get into the issue of inappropriate touch by people you know - that's a hard one. I've gotten a l o t better from watching that program on tv and t a l k i n g to the psychologist about there being parts of your body that nobody has a r i g h t to ... the assertiveness t r a i n i n g f o r kids, the r i g h t to say no. The psychologist. Dr. Camponi, she i s going to do some more work with Sue on saying no, saying no l i k e a l i o n . Because she said that a tremendous amount of abuse can be Importance of stopped i f the c h i l d can say no very a s s e r t i o n f o r c h i l d d e f i n i t e l y . Sue said she said no, but no l i k e a young c h i l d might say to a parent. A c h i l d to say no, and to t e l l "I w i l l t e l l " . A l l but the r e a l l y strong-hearted abuser w i l l back o f f i n that case. So she i s going to do some work with Sue on those two issues. - 117 -I: The information you have given me, you have shared with me, i s r e a l l y h e l p f u l . M: Well, my s i t u a t i o n i s a l o t d i f f e r e n t because again i t wasn't somebody I was l i v i n g with. The age of the c h i l d i s hard because as the younger a c h i l d gets, i t gets harder and harder to deal with and understand. I: How o l d i s she now? M: She i s f i v e . I: How o l d are you? M: I'm 38, shor t l y 39. Demographics I: How o l d i s your ex-husband? M: He i s also 38. I: And there are no other children? M: No other c h i l d r e n . I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, and I don't know how pertinent i t i s , but you know my husband didn't l i k e women. And one of Misogynist ex-husband the concerns I had when I was with him a f t e r Sue was born, a f t e r I came back the f i r s t time, I had some concerns about that, because he didn't l i k e women. He ve r b a l i z e d i t . He had no use f o r most women. I was one of the only women he had any use f o r . And I often used to wonder, not i n terms of him hurting her, but i n terms of her s e l f esteem. I f he has such a negative opinion of women, having a daughter, I used to worry about that. I never thought anything else would happen but I used to worry about what kinds of messages he could be gi v i n g her Concern f o r c h i l d ' s a c t u a l l y . s e l f esteem I: Do you have any guesses on what that was about for him - not having any use for women? M: No, I don't r e a l l y know. He didn't get on r e a l well with his mother. He was an only c h i l d and h i s mother treated him l i k e a king as far as I could see. But he just never seemed to have any use for women. I think he would say that i n moods when he was angry at women for t h i s or that or the other thing. He had t r i e d to form a business with a woman and that hadn't worked out, and he was r e a l l y pissed o f f about that. But I don't remember the basis of i t . - 118 -But I remember that because that had been a concern i n terms of Sue's s e l f esteem, because Concern re c h i l d ' s e l f esteem s he was very derogatory towards women, not ne c e s s a r i l y me but women i n general. I: I wonder i f i t was a disappointment then when she was born that i t wasn't a son. M: He didn't seem to be disappointed. He was very happy with her. He was never very involved with her. When she was young, he wasn't involved with her. But he never sa i d he wanted a son anymore than a daughter. She was b a s i c a l l y a healthy baby and he seemed quite happy with her. I never sensed any disappointment. I: How i s she doing now? M: She seems to be doing quite well now a c t u a l l y . We have r e a l l y noticed a phenomenal Importance of seeing change i n her b a s i c a l l y , since she stopped c h i l d improve seeing her dad. I: So a l o t of improvement .... M: Ya. Developmentally she i s growing by leaps and bounds. I had made the de c i s i o n to hold her out of kindergarten l a s t year because she seemed so immature f or her age. I mean the d i f f e r e n c e between her then and now ... and s o c i a l l y she i s very outgoing now. She i s comfortable i n new s i t u a t i o n s . Before, she'd go i n and hide and not look at people, suck her thumb. So a phenomenal d i f f e r e n c e i n her at t i t u d e and behaviour ... I: That must f e e l r e a l l y good f o r you to see that. M: Ya. Even her health has been better t h i s year. I t has been most g r a t i f y i n g . And i t was evident to us by September. And that was another reinforcement thing to me because you could see such a change i n her and there had to be some reason f o r that change. I: Kids can bounce back so quickly, and I also think how they bounce back depends on how t h e i r parent responds to them when something l i k e t h i s happens. And i t sounds l i k e you did a r e a l l y good job of i t . You handled i t r e a l l y w e l l , and i t makes i t so much easier f o r her to bounce out of i t . - 119 -M: And I think too the daycare worker, Lianne, was r e a l l y good, and she never f o r a second doubted her. One of the things she t o l d Sue from the beginning was that " I t ' s good that you t o l d and we are going to make sure that Concern f o r c h i l d , importance of be l i e v i n g her nobody hurts you. anymore."- And Sue was believed by everybody that she t o l d , and I think that's probably s i g n i f i c a n t too f o r a k i d to f e e l they are being believed. I: But also p a r t i c u l a r l y by the mother M: Yes, and because we d i d those things, we took steps to ... And of course once she t o l d P rotective actions us she has never seen her father since. Not even i n a supervised capacity. So i t ' s been r e a l l y r e i n f o r c i n g to her that something was done. I: And she never t a l k s about him? M: On the odd occassion we w i l l go to some place where she was with him and s h e ' l l mention oh I was here with my father. She never asks tosee him. She now c a l l s him Brian. She doesn't c a l l him dad, she used to c a l l him dad. I: Does she c a l l Don dad? M: Not most of the time, sometimes. We t r i e d to discourage that i n i t i a l l y because Don and I when we were f i r s t l i v i n g together, weren't married. And I have seen too many kids who have gone through dads and uncles. And we sta r t e d l i v i n g together a year ago and we decided the f i r s t of June that we were- going to get married. I just never encouraged i t . We never discussed i t . And she never c a l l e d him dad. I t was always Don. Matter of fac t that was one of the big contentions at the t r i a l was that she could have been r e f e r r i n g to Don. But Court process she never c a l l e d Don dad, we had everybody t e s t i f y i n g to that. And when questioned by the psychologist when that issue was brought out she sa i d no very s p e c i f i c a l l y , my dad Brian. But now sometimes she c a l l s Don dad, but most of the time she s t i l l c a l l s him Don. Because I have gotten i n the habit of c a l l i n g him Don to her. I: With the experience with your f i r s t husband do you ever have any concerns now about Don, sort of i n the back of your mind, a twinge or a concern that something might happen? - 120 -M: A c t u a l l y no. He had three grown c h i l d r e n . You'd almost have to meet my ex-husband and meet Don to see the d i f f e r e n c e i n terms of t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t i e s . Don i s very gentle. They are just so d i f f e r e n t . And the f a c t that his c h i l d r e n know about what happened. He had a long marriage that broke down because they grew apart. There i s j u s t no absolute i n d i c a t i o n there at a l l i n him that there could be any problem. I suppose you could- say that I have looked at i t because I'mable to t e l l you these things. But i n looking at i t I've^not come up with any i n d i c a t i o n at a l l that there i s anything amiss or that I even have the fear that there could be anything amiss. But I t o l d you i n terms of the external, l i k e the 20-year-old son that's i n the daycare I wonder about. But you have to have some f a i t h and b e l i e f i n people i n t h i s world. I think you can be careful, and maybe I would be a l o t more c a r e f u l i n reading signs i n Sue i f I started n o t i c i n g things. I would probably be- a l o t quicker to respond. And again, I f e e l you have to have some t r u s t . You can't go through your l i f e not l e t t i n g your c h i l d near a man. You can't do that, i t ' s not healthy. Like one of the reasons I wanted her to work through i t with a psychologist i s because I want her to grow up and be able to have a healthy r e l a t i o n s h i p someday with a man. Again I t r i e d not to expose her through t h i s too much to any of my own doubts.. Like we t r i e d not to t a l k about i t i n front of her. Like I won't say i t ' s never happened, but we tried- r e a l l y hard. During the t r i a l i n February, I had her staying with my mother f o r about a two-week period because I thought i t would be best, because I knew I would be ... And I wanted to f e e l free to t a l k about i t and I didn't want her to see. I: Also, now she's got a l o t more s k i l l s that she didn't have before, having gone through t h i s experience. She's learned a l o t of things and would probably be much more i n c l i n e d to say something immediately or say no ... M: Ya, I thinks so, because she has had a good re a c t i o n t h i s time to t e l l i n g , where a c h i l d that didn't have that might c e r t a i n l y have a d i f f e r e n t outcome. I: Well, you have been a tremendous help. F a i t h i n people vs caution Importance of t r u s t / f a i t h Hopes f o r daughter Concern f o r daughter Protective of daughter Protective actions - 121 -M: Well I hope that something's been there. I have never had a chance to t a l k to any other mothers who went through a s i m i l a r experience. I have talked to women who have t o l d me they have been abused. But I have never had a chance to t a l k to other mothers. A c t u a l l y , I Need f o r support wonder sometimes i f that might be h e l p f u l i s some sor t of group, because groups are h e l p f u l to so many people.I: There are some groups i n town, mom's groups. M: Who runs i t ? I: There i s a place c a l l e d Act I I . M: Do they? I have heard of Act I I . I: They do. One of the women I interviewed was i n that group and that was what she said was a big part of her healing or getting over i t , was the support of the other women. M: Ya, I can r e a l l y see that a c t u a l l y , because Need f or support, not you don't f e e l so alone. alone END OF TAPE - 122 -APPENDIX D PRELIMINARY CLUSTERING OF TRANSCRIPT CODES Reactions to D i s c l o s u r e ( b e l i e f s , f e e l i n g s , a c t i o n s taken): Ambivalence re b e l i e v i n g Not i n her r e p e r t o i r e of what people do Questions c h i l d ' s s t o r y I n i t i a l r e a c t i o n , shock, d i s b e l i e f , anguish F e e l i n g s of g u i l t , r e s p o n s i b i l i t y / D i f f i c u l t i e s i n r e l e a s i n g No choice i s s u e s Loss of c o n t r o l / M a i n t a i n i n g c o n t r o l Questions ( l o s s of.) judgement, s e l f - d o u b t s P r o c e s s i n g of i s s u e s Inadequacy as mother Confusion re a c t i o n s P r o t e c t i v e of c h i l d / P r o t e c t i v e a c t i o n s , c a l l e d a u t h o r i t i e s S e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n re p r o t e c t i v e a c t i o n s Changing R o l e s / R e l a t i o n s h i p s (New r o l e w i t h systems, changes w i t h f a m i l y / f r i e n d s , p a r t n e r , c h i l d ) : Court - process, b e l i e f i n system, d i f f i c u l t i e s / f r u s t r a t i o n s F r u s t r a t i o n s or c o n f u s i o n w i t h systems F e e l i n g s towards o f f e n d e r , misogynist Family's r e a c t i o n s / l o y a l t i e s Stigma Concern re responses of f a m i l y and f r i e n d s Concern f o r daughter, hopes f o r daughter Awareness of mothering i s s u e s H e a l i n g Process: Gathering s u p p o r t / D i f f i c u l t i e s i n g a t h e r i n g support, help P a r t n e r s u p p o r t i v e Need f o r support re b e l i e v i n g Need f o r normalcy Need to v e r b a l i z e Need to escape Attempts to make i t up to c h i l d Trust ( f a i t h ) vs s u s p i c i o n Included i n d e s c r i p t i o n of sample: Background of d i s c l o s u r e Demographics No p r i o r knowledge D e s c r i p t i o n of p r i o r r e l a t i o n s h i p , abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p 

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