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Finding a Good Book to Live In: A Reflective Autoethnography on Childhood Sexual Abuse, Literature and the Epiphany
The topic of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) remains a prevalent issue globally and despite the best efforts of welfare organisations, it would seem that as a society we are no closer to a resolution. CSA is a topic that is discussed in vague terms, but the real impact of CSA on the child is rarely divulged, except behind closed doors. This autoethnographic study traces the life and experiences of CSA of the author and how she used literature and writing as a coping mechanism. Using this powerful methodological tool, the author has been able to expose the implications of the sexual abuse and the use of writing as a place to hide and feel safe. The value of autoethnography is illuminated by demonstrating that poignant and potent data can be collected and then shared in a way that has more impact than other research methods. Second, the value of the researcher as the researched can be viewed as an authentic way of analysing difficult and taboo societal issues such as CSA, where hopefully the results can lead to more insightful and honest discussions about how to confront this problem.
Autoethnography, Evocative Autoethnography, Reflexivity, Childhood Sexual Abuse, Coping Mechanism, Literature, Poetry, Epiphany
I would like to acknowledge my supervisors, Associate Professor Jane Southcott and Dr Penny Round for their support. Jane and Penny, I can’t thank you enough for your ongoing support of this work. Your encouragement to continue this sometimes difficult writing process was often the inspiration and motivation I needed. I would also like to thank my children, for they are the reason I strive so hard to attain the greatest version of myself. Finally, I am thankful to young Karen for allowing the adult Karen to excavate the pain of our childhood to examine under a microscope for all the world to see. Your bravery and resilience has sustained me, but also motivated me to fight fiercely for the future of other children who face/d the same kind of childhood I did.
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Recommended APA Citation
Barley, K. D. (2020). Finding a Good Book to Live In: A Reflective Autoethnography on Childhood Sexual Abuse, Literature and the Epiphany. The Qualitative Report, 25(2), 487-503. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2020.4283
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