This article analyzes how women survivors of intrafamilial child sexual abuse perceive the family members who took part in keeping it secret and their tactics for doing so. Analysis of 20 in-depth interviews with Jewish Israeli women revealed unique ways of guarding the secret. These were attributed to the perpetrator, the mother and the family. Secret-keeping tactics included presenting a normative public identity or an unstable psychological identity, presenting multiple personas, reframing the abuse, concealing any trace of the secret after it was disclosed, as if the abuse had never happened, and making a monument of the abuser. These tactics are discussed in the context of silencing, the interpersonal relations orientation model, and the wider concepts of secrecy in society. Implications for professional practice and for society are considered, and new attitudes toward intrafamilial child sexual abuse secrecy are suggested.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis.
- adult survivors
- Child sexual abuse
- family relationships
- qualitative research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health