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I have cried to Him a thousand times, but it makes no difference: sexual abuse, faith, and images of god

Journal article
Authors Lisa Rudolfsson
Inga Tidefors
Published in Mental Health, Religion & Culture
ISSN 1367-4676
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2014.95...
Keywords attachment theory; congregation; faith; interview study; images of God; sexual abuse
Subject categories Applied Psychology, Psychology of religion

Abstract

Experiences of sexual abuse may lead to religious struggles and affect a person’s faith. This study focused on how victims of sexual abuse describe their relationships with God and with other parishioners. Our interest was in sexual abuse that had occurred outside the religious congregation, not abuse perpetrated by a minister or any other representative of the church. Interviews conducted with seven women and one man were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. The informants described a wavering relationship with God and with the congregation. They felt that God had betrayed and abandoned them, and they struggled with different aspects of anger. These emotions made the informants feel different from, and sometimes excluded from, the Christian community. Along with these feelings, however, the informants expressed a strong longing for God and a need to feel protected by the congregation. All informants described the effect the abuse had on their faith as essential to their trauma, and as an issue they needed to work through to learn how to live with their experiences.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012
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