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Religious victims of sexual abuse

Chapter in book
Authors Lisa Rudolfsson
Published in Sexual Crime and Faith, Religion and Spirituality. Edited by, B. Winder, N. Blagden, K. Hocken, R. Lievesley, H. Elliott & P. BanyardPublisher: London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
Pages 163-194
ISBN 978-3-030-26039-2
Publisher Palgrave McMillan
Place of publication London
Publication year 2019
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 163-194
Language en
Keywords Faith, Images of God, Meaning making, Religious coping, Sexual abuse, Victims
Subject categories Psychology of religion, Applied Psychology


Every year thousands of people are subjected to sexual abuse and a substantial part of that abuse occurs within the family. Many victims of sexual abuse find it hard to disclose being a victim, especially if someone close, that the victim loves and trusts, is the perpetrator of the abuse. For the victim who has a religious faith, besides the psychological consequences suffered, the victim’s faith may also become traumatized. This chapter will outline the psychological consequences of being sexually abused as well as the potential consequences on the victims’ faith, highlighting the search for meaning and the effect of sexual abuse on an individual’s relation to God. Thereafter, commonalities and diversities in religious coping across religions will be outlined. Specific challenges will be discussed, highlighting reactions from faith communities, the role of family structure, sexual moral, shame, and lack of knowledge. Lastly, conclusions and practical implications will be outlined.

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

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