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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relationship between sexual abuse and juvenile prostitution in females Edney, Raymonde Janet


The relationship between sexual abuse and juvenile prostitution is explored through interviews with eight women who had had both of these experiences in their lives. Analysis of the narrative data identified both social-structural and intra-psychic factors that played a role in leading these sexual abuse survivors into juvenile prostitution. Social-structural factors are defined as the cultural and societal conditions within which children are raised and socialised and within which they must learn to function. The social-structural factors identified by this study were cultural factors, gender stereotyping, the family, the schools, social networks, social service agencies, employment opportunities, religious institutions, sexual abuse and entrance into prostitution. Social-structural factors affect the individual at the intra-psychic or psychological level. Intra-psychic factors identified here were alienation, identity and personal control. Sullivan's (1984) theory of critical interpretation was used to examine the limiting effects of the social structures on the lives, behavior and choices of these women. This research found that sexual abuse and the victims' responses to sexual abuse prepared and trained the young girls for prostitution. Further, alienation appeared to be a major determining factor that combined with the presence of sexual abuse influenced the outcome of juvenile prostitution. Finally, these young women found that their personal control was limited and restricted by the social structures that maintained social control.

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