Prostitution in the shadow of life-long sexual abuse: Arab women’s retrospective experiences

Nora Gnaim-Mwassi, Hila Avieli, Tova Band-Winterstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study uses the life-course and intersectionality perspectives to explore the meaning that aging Arab women attribute to their lived experiences of life-long sexual abuse in the shadow of engaging in prostitution. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to analyze the narratives of 10 older Arab women in Israel who were engaged in prostitution. Four themes emerged: experiencing childhood in the shadow of sexual abuse, becoming a prostitute, being entrapped in prostitution, and settling accounts with the native culture. Women aging in prostitution experience a harsh reality of abuse and loss. The present study points to multiple channels of abuse throughout the life course, from childhood until old age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-147
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Issue number2
Early online date2 Apr 2024
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Arab society
  • intersectionality perspective
  • life-course perspective
  • older women
  • prostitution
  • sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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