“God, why?”: The Experience of Mothers from the Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Sector after their Child’s Disclosure of Sexual Abuse

Aiala Szyfer Lipinsky, Limor Goldner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Studies dealing with the experiences of non-offending mothers from the general population and minority groups after their child’s disclosure of sexual abuse are scarce, and studies on mothers from the Jewish ultra-Orthodox community are non-existent. This study takes an initial step in filling this gap by exploring how the normalization of sexual abuse shapes these mothers’ experiences. A qualitative phenomenological study was conducted on a sample of 21 mothers from the ultra-Orthodox sector whose children had been sexually abused. It consisted of in-depth, semi-structured interviews of the mothers followed by a drawing task on their experience. The analysis of the interviews yielded four central themes: the role of social stigmatization and religion on the mother’s ability to share her child’s abuse; the effect of the disclosure on the mothers’ mental state and maternal competency; the mothers’ ongoing experience in the shadow of this unprocessed/unresolved trauma; and the mothers’ coping strategies, including acceptance, faith, and meaning making. The findings highlight the influence of the tension between the need to adhere to religious norms and preserve the social fabric and the need to enhance mothers’ and children’s well-being.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 SAGE Publications.

Keywords

  • Sexual abuse
  • children
  • disclosure
  • mothers
  • ultra-Orthodox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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