This autoethnographic study contains vignettes from my life of unrelated but interconnected experiences of sexual abuse which profoundly impacted my life through moments of epiphanous transformation. I am using my voice as the researcher and researched to write authentically and evocatively as a way of truth telling about a difficult subject. This autoethnography invites you to walk in the shoes of myself as the storyteller and for that reason the vignettes are deliberately provocative and expose aspects of my life that have previously been hidden. The vignettes weave together stories that have had a profound impact on me which eventually led me to a career in education. I contend that these experiences laid the foundations for what kind of educator I would become.


Autoethnography, Evocative Autoethnography, Phenomenology, Reflexivity, Sexual Abuse, Childhood Sexual Abuse

Author Bio(s)

The author is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Education and a Sessional Teacher in Inclusive Education at Monash University. Karen completed an undergraduate Diploma in Primary Teaching in 1989 and spent a number of years teaching in mainstream classrooms across Victoria. She later completed a Graduate Diploma of Education (Professional Studies) and then a Master’s of Education (Special and Inclusive Education). Due to a number of experiences teaching in Special Schools Karen realised that she wanted to work with students who had diverse needs. Karen began writing Professional Development (PD) about Autism for teachers and has provided PD Face-to-Face (F2F) and online in Australia and the USA. She has developed her own Consultancy, where she works one-on-one with families and students. She is currently employed as a Sessional Teacher at Monash University, which has added another layer to her work as an inclusive educator. When Karen uses ‘I’ she is writing about herself. Please direct correspondence to karen.barley@monash.edu.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank my supervisors, Associate Professor Jane Southcott and Dr Penny Round for their compassion and care for me as I worked through this article. Their continued encouragement and guidance allowed me to be as authentic as possible during this process. I would also like to thank my children, whose courage and honesty make me the proudest Mum on the planet.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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