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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Talking back: six first nations women’s recovery stories from childhood sexual abuse and addictions Herbert, Elaine I.


The purpose of this study was to create a discourse or "women's talk" about recovery that embodied and reflected the life experience of six First Nations women who had experienced childhood sexual abuse and addictions. An exploratory, emancipatory, feminist qualitative research design elicited rich, thick data through interactive audio-taped interview processes. The six stories were translated into four emergent themes with 12 sub-themes in the data analysis, as follows: (1) Alcohol Abuse and Addictions; (a) parental/community alcoholism; (b) understanding own alcoholism/getting treatment; (2) Sexual Abuse; (1) incident(s)/experiences of sexual abuse; (b) family/community response to the sexual abuse; (c) effects of the sexual abuse; (3) Recovery Process; (a) recovery as an individual process; (b) spirituality in recovery; (c) racism; (4) Gender Issues; (a) internal perceptions of self as woman; (b) family/community perceptions of the role of women. The women in this study "talked back" with defiance and courage as they recounted their experiences of abuse and addictions, and how they were able to recovery despite the cultural/societal oppression experienced. This First Nations women-centered discourse, which placed culture and gender as major considerations for women in recovery, provides the basis of discussion for creating meaningful intervention and for future research projects.

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